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Humor June 2017

Agelessly Yours

On the Corner of Despondency and Despair

By Karen White-Walker

No wonder people’s mental health is deteriorating. We're being recognized by our passport photos, which are about as flattering as a police line-up mug shot.

Who doesn't, as they grow older, sob when they lose so many loved ones, feel anxious when confronted with health problems, grow inwardly weary when waving goodbye to long-time neighbors migrating to warmer climate? But guess what? People bounce right back because we humans have such resiliency. Isn't that grand? We weren't meant to walk around like a bird just crapped all over us, or we just stepped into a pile of manure.

I was just regaining that “lighter than air” feeling when wham, bam, it was completely snuffed out of me, smothered, when I innocently strolled into Walgreens. Don't believe them when they say they're on the corner of happy and healthy. You might be BEFORE moseying inside for a passport picture and they throw you up against a white wall and demand that you don't dare smile.

I now know how those poor souls feel in third world countries — God bless them. And to think that Walgreens doesn't even offer you a bullet-proof vest to wear so you can't stab yourself in the heart after seeing the finished product. But a product is a thing, not a person, although you'd never know it from the snapshot that was staring back at me.

"One woman burst out crying when she saw hers," offered this clerk, amateur photographer, counselor, whoever the heck she was supposed to be. Maybe she wanted me to believe that that woman's picture was worse than mine. Impossible! I guess that explained the opened box of tissue on the counter. I tell you, there should have had a tranquilizer gun there.

"Please, can you take one or maybe 100 more?" I asked.

She irritatingly inhaled and mumbled something under her breath, but to be fair, she was being about as civil as I was. Twenty takes later and it was so obvious that my first pose was actually the least ugliest of them all. But if something is ugly, how can it be more ugly?

Professional photographers claim it's all in the lighting. The more subtle the light, the more chances of looking like you belong to this earthly planet. Walgreens lighting is so bold and bright, you could take a snapshot of a herd of cattle, 200 feet away, and be able to count the freckles on their faces — if they had any. And as for cattle not smiling — duh! But for those of us who try to live their lives by those wisdom-packed lyrics like: Smile when your heart is breaking, Can't Smile Without You, With a Smile and a Song, Smile a Little Smile For Me, and A Wink and a Smile, this business of scowling, is wiping both our character and charm smack off our faces. No wonder people’s mental health is deteriorating. We're being recognized by our passport photos, which are about as flattering as a police line-up mug shot.

On the corner of happy and healthy? Don't make me laugh!

Hey, what do you know? Mission accomplished!

 

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