Sunday, December 7, 2008

Are You Just Happy Or Should I Fix My Hair and Put On Some Lipstick?


Betty had a lot of time on her hands when she was a child and this was good.  My busy brain was at work even then, imagining what could be and one idea has stuck with me through all these years.  Though HOB is somewhat skeptical, I think it is time to unleash it upon my adoring public.  

First some background: 

I have always loved taking pictures, and even as a kid I longed to have a handy way to carry a camera with me at all times.  Alas, this was before tiny digital cameras and cell phones, so I imagined the Tooth Camera, a tiny camera that is embedded in your front incisor, invisible to the eye and put there by nature.  

As a child, I had a rough hewn sort of set of rules.  Now that I am an intelligent, mature, sophisticated woman I have updated these rules.  Here are the boundaries and limitations of the Tooth Camera.  This could get complicated, so try to focus and we'll see what develops. 

Ground Rules:
The Tooth Camera arrives with your set of permanent incisors.
The Tooth Camera is not operational until your 21st birthday.
The mechanism for turning on the Tooth Camera is located behind your last molar.  Turning it on is an intentional act.  It cannot be turned on accidentally, not even by egomaniacal dentists.
The shutter button is located on the back of the right front tooth and is operated with the tip of the tongue.
You are allowed five pictures during your lifetime.

Pictures taken with regular cameras fade, get put in albums, stored away, or get lost. Memories slip away, or the Photoshop of the mind goes to work, fading out some details, sharpening some features, perhaps even adding backgrounds and people to the pictures.  However, pictures taken with the tooth camera remain in your memory in sharp focus, exactly the same images that you saw that the time you took the pictures and you can call them up at any time.  No one else can see them, and only you decide what five pictures you take and at what points in your life you take them.  

When would you use your tooth camera?  Would you take your pictures when you are young?(By the way, would you lower the age at which the Tooth Camera could be used?)  Would you take the pictures when you are old?  Space them out? What would you consider a Tooth-Camera Worthy Picture?  Would you take a picture of your parents, smiling, holding each other?  Would you take a picture of the first day of your child's life?  Would you take a picture of a terrific sunset?  The house where you grew up?  Would your picture be of an event or of everyday life?

Bonus Question (for all you Deep Thinkers out there):  Would the Tooth Camera actually upset the natural order of things?  Does the memory with its metaphorical sandpaper and decoupage glue actually make our images even better than they were in real life?  Is this a built in survival mechanism?   Example:  You click your Tooth Camera and capture a picture of your beloved on your wedding day.  15 years later you remember that moment and in your mind's eye you see it all, his/her face, smiling up at you, full of love and devotion.  Then, in bed that night, you pull up your Tooth Camera photo and you look at it for a pleasant image to go to sleep by.  Wait a minute!  Was that a sneer on his/her face?  Do you now detect a look of hesitation, even regret?  Is that a pimple on his/her chin?  Hummm.  Sorry, there's no Delete button here except the Ultimate Delete ALL Button, and you've got miles to go before you sleep, miles to go before you sleep.

Speak to me my people, and take care of those Tooth Cameras!

6 comments:

Elissa Caruth said...
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Elissa Caruth said...

BTW -- the teeth in that picture freak me out a little. Would the tooth camera make our teeth bigger and freakier?

Happy Homemaker said...

Very unique idea, Ms. Betty! After looking at some old photos, it appears that my memories of those moments have been Photoshopped!

Gaylene said...

EC-There would be no change in the appearance of your teeth with the Tooth Camera. I like the No Obsession Setting!

HH-Ah yes, I think the Photoshop of the mind is hard at work all the time!

Thanks for being loyal readers and for going on the amusement park ride that IS my mind!

Brian said...

My first instinct would be to want photos of both slime-covered newborns, but then I think how much I prefer those actual shots around the first birthday when they know what a camera is, or seem to, and ham it up. What I don't like about the Tooth Camera is its candid,spy-like nature -- photos of people would be like those Walker Evans pictures of folks walking obliviously through the subway stations. Yet the idea of using it only for landscapes or inanimate objects strikes me as unnecessarily furtive. No, I say either whip out the old Rolleiflex (about the size and weight of a pineapple)and snap away, or be content with the splendid graininess of memory.

But if I have to choose I'll take the two newborns, one of my friend Bill's fine swing of the baseball bat, one of the cat who's sitting on my lap at this very instant, and one of that gal from the bikini contest in Florida back in '95.

Bossy Betty said...

Love those choices! Listen, if you don't WANT to use your Tooth Camera, you don't have to, but come on! Do you know how many people would love to have your five shots?

There have been times when I have been tempted to use my Tooth Camera for those moments with strangers. I can't remember who is was, but one photographer had a camera that shot out the side of the box (you know what I mean). I would love to have one of those. I wonder if I could get the Tooth Camera moved to the first molar instead?