A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2007, vol 3 no 3

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Jeffrey Winke


My life is more serious than a clown-on-a-pogo-stick

I will not smile for the camera anymore. No "cheese"-induced toothy smiles. No grins, smirks, or ear-to-ears. I plan to be totally Soviet when faced with the shot end of a camera lens. In the mid-1990's when I was sent to Russia's Siberia, I asked my host, Sergey why his face looks so stern, almost glum on his intra-country passport he showed me during one of our evening vodka sessions. "We were told to be still and look serious, since the photo was for an important government-issued document." Since my life is more serious than a clown-on-a-pogo-stick, I see no reason to smile for the camera. There is not one iota of evidence to dissuade me from this chosen path. It's really a case of being true to myself. No hypocrite am I. Henceforth, when a camera is foisted at me I will assume the stern, almost glum appearance that my ex-Soviet, Russian friend Sergey captures so well. No wild-eyed, glass raised to the photographer, sweaty-face, yar-har, I'm having fun and you're not, yippee-doodle, I know how to cut loose and have a great time look on my photographed face. Nope. I can win the Pulitzer Prize, be Papal-selected for sainthood and win the tri-state biggest lottery pot and I ain't cracking a smile for no one's goddamn camera.

in my own