Found Photos

Ay yi yi, I’m such a loser. After glibly saying yes when Sue axed me to produce some t-shirts… last April, I look up at the calendar and realize I have two days before heading up to merch them out in between sets. That’s called major time mismanagement and I’m catapulted into denial:

  1. Alan’s remark that it’s quite odd to merch at a private party suddenly seems not only plausible, but clear as a bell, rung by Laurence Fishburne at the end of a Spike Lee joint. The followup remark by Sue that our host encouraged us to merch, in an attempt to recover our costs of getting up there, sounds, by contrast, like the burble of my childhood friend Cindy Walthall trying to get me to recognize “Green Eyed Lady” as she sang it underwater. Cindy was so exasperated at my inability to recognize her rendition, that I think she called me fat. I would have fallen down, but I was in the water, and it’s hard to fall down when you’re… buoyant.
  2. Why sell band t-shirts when you can sell band postcards made from the found photos left under the stairs by that crazy lady who cleans all her pill bottles and donates them to us along with the expired dryer thingies, a bunch of yogurt containers that once held aspartame, hinged meal containers from Boston Market (great for holding dyed pasta!), and trade magazines from some industry focused on digestion? Why? Why Not? Why Why Not?

Sue will tell me, tomorrow, at rehearsal. Maybe she’ll tell me with her hands in the prayer position and her eyes closed. I try to make faces while people are doing that, stopping just as they open their eyes. Then I look very attentive. It’s not mocking… it’s milking the moment for some greek chorus of comedians sitting very very far away. They need no binoculars. If it’s funny it’s funny.

Perhaps I will be fired! I know I sound excited, or am attempting to sound excited, by the prospect. MZ calls it my Short Intention Span: quick acceleration, a huge wash of possibility, effortless recognition… and then It, or I, is/am Done. It’s contemptible, but hard to put one’s finger on because it’s not accompanied by material ostententatiousness. Rushing, rushing, rushing to new experience without the product endorsement or windfall based on hideous speculation. Drat.

The photos have now been sorted into their four basic odd sizes: 4-3/8″ x 3-1/2″, 5-1/8″ x 4″, 4-7/8″ x 3-1/2″, and 3-5/16″ x 3-7/16″. There are three with the faces cut out, two unaltered 4″x6″s, and two exposed polaroids, no image. I estimate the collection to contain about 500 photos in all. In lieu of rush ordering tshirts, I sit with my mouth slightly open wondering why these sizes… seemed exactly the right sizes for the job. And what, until now, was the job they performed? It makes my brain spin directly down to silence.

All of them, of course, are heartbreakingly beautiful: a tv dinner on a kitchen table, a dog wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, the glowing inside of a paper moon lampshade from cost plus, an unmade bed, and dozens and dozens and dozens of pictures of children.

Mysterious. Innocuous. Obviously now in the wrong hands.

I’m nursing some ethical hesitation (the adults remain in the photo, but the child’s face has been cut out) about recontextualizing them with our brand. As if the castaway snapshots of someone well-intentioned have been sucked into the nasty land of Snarky, where the floors are slanted in case you weren’t sure things had turned to Evil, or, more politely, Secular Humanism. I’m saying the photographer is a She, and She did This because She’s Born to It. And I. I take it the Next Level because What Else Can I Do, Being Born To That.

I think they’ll look good on the merch table. Easier to get through airport security than a fifty pound box of ring tees.

Sliding the abacus over, to figure her percentage.

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