I saw those awful overblown smiles in that preposterously contrived pose, and I was reminded of my mother.
Not because she made those freaky fake facial expressions. (She did not.) No, it was because of a onetime experience we had together.
I was a teenager, and my mother and I were in a mall together in Oklahoma City, walking around, looking at this and that. We stopped in front of a jewelry store where an enormous photograph featured a woman radiating the ecstatic delight that only a diamond can deliver.
Like in the photo above, this model had her mouth wide open, showing the world her irrepressible glee and her years of orthodontia. My mother and I could see that the situation demanded derision.
So we approached the picture and marveled at the outsized absurdity together. And that’s when we saw it. A line of saliva stretching between the model’s upper and lower teeth. Because the photo was so huge, so was this string of spit. Probably not quite the size of a baseball bat, but it may as well have been.
The laughter that ensued was truly maniacal. Physically taxing. Possibly dangerous. You know what I’m talking about—wheezing, crying, clutching our stomachs.
No mortgage, no diamond, no product or service can deliver the raw, wild, fabulous joy that my mother and I experienced on that day—or the memory that remains with me all these years later.
Thanks for letting me share. Time for me to get back to work.