Yeah, this is about fake smiles.
Fake smiles weren’t always a problem. Before cameras, the only time we had to fake smile was when the King or Lord or abusive parent came around and told us how great our bowl of mush was. We were lucky to be eating anything back then.
In the early stages of the camera’s invention, no one felt obligated to display their Pearly Yellows. It took forever for those old cameras to take a picture anyway. What was there to smile about? Fighting off tuberculosis for another week?
So now, thanks to the digital camera, we are beset with the vexing problem of having to be happy all the fu*king time. Go to any nightclub, party function, work picnic or family dinner, and people who ordinarily hate each other’s guts, once the camera is pointed their way, will smile like they’ll get a bullet in the brain if they don’t.
I swear, if you put Satan and God together on a mountain and brought a digital camera, the two would be grinning like they wanted to move in together.
The thing about taking pictures is that, once you and Uncle Izzie (who you cannot stand with his big belly and all that white stuff around the edges of his dry cracked lips) and the rest of the crew press together to get into the shot, you’ve got to SMILE! because– just for that split second–you don’t hate Uncle Izzie, even though he tried to stick his hand down your pants ten minutes ago.
I’m pretty good about smiling if something is funny or I’m buzzed (or if something is funny and I’m buzzed). But asking me to smile on cue is like asking a monkey not to throw poop.
Not gonna happen.
When you can get your children to fake smile at an early age, it helps the neighbors make much better interviewees when something finally snaps and this is the picture they put up on the TV screen. Everyone will wonder why this family burned their house down/drove off a cliff/went bungee jumping without bungee cords, etc. because they were always smiling!
Here’s a real family picture. Everyone is not smiling. They will probably remember to attach the bungee cords and laugh about this later (real smiles!) because they are not perfect nor is this picture.
Sometimes the fake smile is so fake that it is Certified Fake by an Independent Panel of Fake Smile Analyzers. It’s just so obvious that, really, why are you doing that? Just don’t smile at all and we’ll insert a graphic over your head that says, “I hate my life”.
Sometimes a fake smile is so upsetting you swallow and pray that mankind will eventually heal itself and stop displaying its tendency to take beautiful things and make them ugly by trying so hard to make them beautiful. But then, those earrings are gorgeous, aren’t they?
Sometimes one person, who has practiced fake smiling his entire life, is pitted against someone who has always been a failure at fake smiling. This produces a picture which only illustrates and contrasts more acutely that the fake smiler is a faker and he/she is indeed an awkward individual. This would not happen if the fake smiler would just tone it down a bit, or if they were actually having a good time.
Last are the professional Fake Smilers. These people have perfect teeth and pretty much every picture they take looks like a commercial for Crest Whitening Strips. When they laugh at a joke that isn’t funny, people are blinded and drive off the road. Somehow they manage to push their obscenely fluorescent teeth through their lips in such a way that you actually think– just for a split second–maybe they are really smiling.
Fake smiling is here to stay. The digital camera and Facebook have guaranteed Americans will see at least a million fake smiles in their lifetime. Let’s all remember that if you just keep fake smiling, eventually, you will really smile.
It’s like the exact opposite of orgasms.