Monday, May 5, 2014

Selfie Expression

These "ice"bags were ZipLocs filled with frozen corn syrup. Who knew?
Today's illustrative picture will not win any prizes in the county fair's Ansel Adams Open Class. It is a bit fuzzy, and the light seems to have been sucked out of the atmosphere (it was taken in my office)  and the guy in back does not have an icepack on his head so he's not appropriately dressed for the occasion.

But there is a good reason for this selfie's lack of professionalism: The subjects are old.

Yesterday was Commencement at Small College, and my office group decided the theme of this year's documentation of the event should be selfies. You're familiar with selfies, right? Those self-portraits of beautiful young things taken at arms length with cell phones? This year, we decided, we were going to encourage every one of the several thousand people in attendance to snap a shot with their friends, professors, babies, grandmothers, etc., and post it to our institutional Twitter account.

Our only concern was whether enough people would be willing to share their selfies with us. 

Hahahaha. The things I worry about needlessly.

Our new grads not only were willing to take the selfies, they knew exactly how to tilt the phone juuuuuuust so in order to cram six or eight or ten people into the shot. They could immediately strike the exact pose that angled their heads so their mirrored sunglasses ping-ponged back the reflection of their phones. People, I don't know if these new graduates know the difference between "compose" and "comprise" (that's my litmus test for whether a person is truly educated) but they are experts when it comes to the art of the selfie.

Not one single person turned us down for a shot.

So it only seemed fair when we got back in the office and all of us had ice bags on our heads that we should document the moment. It was 102 degrees, which means the football field where all of these photographers had been roaming was quite a bitter warmer, but we all survived and were laughing at how pretty we looked with our sweat-saturated bangs and sunblock-defying burned noses.

The youngest in the group lined us up, and snapped the shot--and if the picture here is any indication, we broke the camera. I'm convinced it's because I pulled the average age of our group up to the mid-40s.

Selfies, like parenthood, are for the young. But on the other hand, if we didn't have some old knees in the crowd we wouldn't have had the ice bags already stocked in the office refrigerator and waiting to cool us off. I can live without the ability to take good self-portraits as long as my knees don't hurt.

Getting old isn't so bad, especially if you are aging with grace. And ice bags.

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