Before dining, we snap not-quite-candid shots of our entree, making sure to highlight the jalapeno-pineapple compote. We caps lock and conclude: Yum.
At the beach, we prop up lathered knees and snap photos in front of the salt water backdrop before we dare dive in. We call this one: Mental Health Day.
Last night, I photographed a dead guy. As of an hour ago, seventy-two people had “liked” it on Instagram.
I don’t like to make excuses, but I will. It’s important to understand there were certain factors at play: youth, narcissism, Attention Deficit Disorder. There was something going on with the moon. It was especially bright. There was some science behind it, but I didn’t want to get involved. With the science that is; the moon on the other hand…
Predictably and unremarkably, I got involved with the moon. But eventually, I had to walk home.
On my walk I saw the words, “This Is Not A Test” scrawled on a concrete wall. Beneath the words, a man lay parallel to the sidewalk. I spun around expecting to see an administrator or an audience. I found neither.
The man was wrapped in carpet from the waist up. I couldn’t see his face. Like so many of my peers, there is an unbridgeable chasm between my sense of self and reality. Because of this I decided to take a picture. It would be a memento. It would be construed as deep and conceptual. Teenagers and tastemakers would champion it. Art industry philanthropists—particularly Berliners—would fete me.
After much fame and fortune I would move to academia. I would pontificate about the importance of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and I would eventually renounce the picture that led to the career that bought my home in the Palisades—now that it was paid for in full.
My canvas: A dead man under a freeway overpass. Someone else’s thought “This is not a test.” My announced confirmation.
I walked into the exhibit that I had hoped to simulate. It was not a test, but I still managed to fail. I snapped a picture of a dead man then walked home. I whistled as I walked.
This morning at the coffee shop, I learned a body had been discovered under a nearby freeway overpass. After half a cup of coffee, I thought I better head back to the underpass. Fame and fortune and Instagram followers beckoned. If there was a crime scene—specifically a chalk outline of the corpse—that would make a hell of a picture.
-The Neapolitan Mastiff