The Best Medicine
12 Nov 2008
You should write a book! That's what my kids tell me, as though it were as easy as picking up a pen or tapping a few keys on the keyboard. So I'll appease them with this essay, and express a little photographic creativity at the same time.
An injury caused my early retirement, and left me at odds with what to do with my life. Then I discovered photography, and I was back on track. One day our youngest son suggested I get my husband's little people from his N-scale railroad inventory, and take pictures of them in various settings. I proceeded to follow his advice and the first photos were taken.
My first little people photo essay was about not sweating the small stuff. Certainly not chock full of humor, but hey, sometimes neither is life! That's where this essay comes in. My little people photos started out using visual gags---a lady in a piranha's mouth, a guy sitting in a Cheerio raft, three guys climbing on dog food. They have evolved into language gags, where I use 'lack toes' in place of 'lactose', and present a 'hamburger joint' as an illegal drug rather than a place to grab a bite to eat. Suddenly, people on the jpg site were responding to the photos with laughter and giving me encouragement in return. Never the best at achieving a good night's sleep, I found myself awake at 3 or 4 a.m. with a new photo idea. I started keeping a pad and pen by the bed so I could jot down the ideas. My husband gets up at 5:20 to get ready for work; some mornings I would fake a cough or sneeze so he would wake up early and I could share my latest idea. (That part doesn't qualify as the 'laughter as medicine' thing).
I felt as though I was doing something special. Not on the same plane as volunteering for the Red Cross or helping to feed the starving in Africa, but on an infinitesimally smaller scale, I was bringing smiles to people's faces. And I thought, if one person was having a bad day, or even a good day, and I could make that day marginally better, I'll take that. If I could bring a laugh or encourage a smile, then I was making a difference. I'll take that. If I cause someone who was otherwise having a less than stellar moment to have a more positive thought, I'll take that. Who knows, laughter may not be the best medicine, but it sure feels good!!