Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Mamarazzi

You have heard of the paparazzi; the annoying in-your-face camera jockeys who follow celebrities around hoping to get a picture of them they can sell to People magazine. I recently watched the documentary, $ellebrity, with the Jennifers (both Aniston and Lopez), and every A-list star interviewed in the movie had some pretty crazy stories about the lengths these Hollywood parasites will go to snap a photo. I have mixed feelings about the complaints from the stars, though. On the one hand, if you wanted to be famous, you have to deal with the whole package, good and bad. On the other hand, the stories about invasion of privacy were pretty wild.

One group that hasn’t been given a voice in all this camera controversy is the children. I’m not talking about the children of celebrities, mind you, I’m talking about my own kids. They are mercilessly stalked by a different, but equally insidious group, the mamarazzi. The mamarazzi is well-armed with expensive cameras, detailed insider knowledge on when and where their targets will be, and a cold, ruthless willingness to stop any activity dead in its tracks at the first sign of fun to take a picture. Our children have never played for a period of longer than five minutes without having their picture taken.

We are, however, enjoying a brief respite from the constant stopping and posing, because my wife’s incredibly expensive Nikon digital camera stopped working the other day. I am of the opinion that if you spend a mortgage payment on a camera, it should be simple to use, but the people at Nikon disagree. One day it just started taking black-screen pictures, as if the lens cap was on, and none of the 32,000 menu settings seem to fix it. (Yes, we did check to see that the lens cap was not on, and yes, we are currently accepting any technical advice you have to offer.)

When the incredibly expensive Nikon camera was working as advertised, my wife was almost out of control. It may have just worn out from overuse, actually. We haven’t left the house since it stopped working, because in her words, “What’s the point?” This confirmed my earlier suspicion that she was taking the kids on outings merely for the photo ops. I got suspicious when she kept saying, “We’re going on location,” instead of, “We’re going to the lake.”

“Mom, can we go to the park?”
“Why? The camera’s still broken.”
“Never mind. See if your dad will take you.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like that fact that our kids’ childhoods are being documented. We already have more pictures of Son Number Three than my parents and all their friends combined ever took of us kids growing up. Between the limitations of film cameras and the fact that I was the third child, my parents have exactly eight pictures of me. The problem now is, with the large memory cards and the fast shutter speeds, we have too many pictures. My wife will get home from a family get-together and upload the memory card to Shutterfly, then send the family an e-mail saying that the 457 pictures of our picnic are available for viewing. Even on fast-mode slideshow, looking at the pictures actually takes longer than the picnic did. I think that defies the laws of space and time, but I’m here to tell you it’s true.

If we could somehow print out all the pictures my wife ever took, and turn them into a giant flip book, you could actually watch our kids grow up in real time.

The good news in all this is the mamarazzi might actually be breeding a more thick-skinned future celebrity when it comes to tolerance for cameras. I know, as far as my boys go, God forbid, if one of them ever becomes a celebrity, he will wonder why the paparazzi aren’t taking very many pictures.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

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