The thought of doing a family portrait fills my husband with anti-joy. It’s not exactly my bag either. The posing, the bad jokes, the sales pitch – all of it operates against our much more candid style. Something must be done to keep us entertained, unless we want to appear forever in the church directory as people who just ate sour persimmons.
These were our top 5 survival strategies:
5) Using our child’s propensity to imitate for our own amusement. My dear husband taught our little girl that the most appropriate pose for pictures is the Cat’s Eye dance from Pulp Fiction. Now don’t call CPS – we didn’t let her watch Pulp Fiction. Paul just did it once or twice for her before we left, and then let her go.
4) Adopting bizarre terms as new monikers (part 1). Based on the term repeatedly used to direct our oldest son, we have assigned him a new nickname: ‘Back Row’.
3) New monikers (part 2). We applied the same principal to our younger son. Sadly for him, he is now labeled ‘Sister’. We are hoping therapy will be cheaper than an Italian acrylic finish on our portrait. Perhaps he’ll write a tell-all book, with the Great Photo Shoot of 2009 as the inciting incident, and make enough money to pay for it himself.
2) Shooting the ‘what did he just say’ look at each other. The photographer continually strived for our attention by shaking a teddy bear and repeating the phrase ‘look at my pickle’. I shot Paul the look. He returned serve and mentally noted the squeaky toy in our photographer’s pants pocket. I took a deep breath, suppressing both my outer creeped-out parent and inner eighth-grader. With some effort, I decided ‘Pickle’ must be the name of the stuffed animal. Then I realized he was pointing at his nose. Whew.
1) Pondering the guarantee. The sales pitch included a 100-year guarantee against fading, and we wondered: when our great-grandchildren come a-complainin’ in year eighty-seven, what will happen? Will they perform a voodoo ritual involving the bear, the squeaky toy and a pickle, reanimate us for retakes and then make us sit through the sales pitch again? Maybe it’s all part of a bold marketing strategy.
“Remember to upsell: retouching is a felt need for most zombies.”