Smile for the Camera
by Rosally Saltsman
My eight-year-old son loves to look at photo albums of when
he was `young.' Between all the aah-ing of "Oh, how cute," a
few things have occurred to me. All that laughing and smiling
for the camera is evidence that we've been happy. Sometimes
we get stuck in the difficulties of our lives and we forget
that we've been happy. When we look at the final video-of-our-
lives in the great screening room of Olom Haba, Hashem may
ask us: If you had a good life, what were you so upset about?
Why the occasional sour faces and grumblings?
Because when the red light goes off, we often stop smiling.
But weren't we smiling just a minute ago? Yes, but that was
for posterity. We don't want to remember the angst and sorrow
(for there is angst and sorrow), so we smile for the camera.
We can smile for the camera; and everyone can do that.
It's a Pavlovian response to seeing a lens of any kind in
front of our faces, a learned response from birth on. A month
before we knew how to smile, we were already being told to
smile for the camera.
"Oh, look how cute!"
We can do it. We can always smile for the camera. So why not
smile for each other, for ourselves, Hashem, our kids,
spouse, the boss? Even the bus driver. We're on our best
behavior, showing our sunniest disposition to anything with
one large eye. If we saw a Cyclops, we would automatically
grin. But we do have a candid camera aimed at us 24 hours a
day, 12 months a year. It's also recording for posterity.
When we get to Heaven, don't we want the Court to say, "Oh,
look how sweet she was?"
[Editor's note: For you Jerusalemites who ride the No. 3 bus:
know the driver who wishes his passengers a good morning?
Each one of them? Ever watch how everyone in the bus smiles
when new passengers get on and watches for their pleasantly-
surprised expression as they, too, are greeted with a `Good