We're in the middle of the summer Olympics. Many of us are glued to our television sets. We are interested in certain sports, or we want to support our national teams in unusual sports. I learn a lot about sports by watching and listening to the commentators. But I also get interested in watching the people who are shown on television who are not the athletes or the media people.
Have you looked at the somber faced judges that are sitting in the chairs behind the swimmers who are getting ready to dive into the pool for their competition? Each of them seems to sit there with a blank stare. They never have eye contact with the swimmers, each other, or even the cameras. That possibly is in their training. They probably are not supposed to look interested. However, they don't seem to be even watching the proceedings. Once the races begin, we never see them on television again since the cameras are on the swimmers. I know they must be very alert and watchful at that time. But the times we see them on camera they sure don't look like anyone I would want to invite to a party.
Then we are shown the parents of the athletes. They probably know that sometimes the camera will be on them, however they don't know exactly when that will be. But some of the body language of the parents is priceless. When the young girls in gymnastics are competing, the parents are either hiding their eyes or twisting their bodies as if they, themselves, are swinging from those bars or balancing on the beam.
This made me think of other times when we see someone on our living room screens who is not the subject of the screening. When the president gives his State of the Union address, or any address to both bodies of Congress, I feel sorry for the vice-president and the speaker of the house who must sit behind the speaker and not do anything that the public could criticize. I remember recently when Vice President Biden seemed to be trying to quietly get a cough drop out of his pocket, unwrap it and put it in his mouth without being noticed. It didn't work. I noticed and so did the news people who are always eager to latch onto anything they can talk about. Since I often get a tickle in my throat in public I felt sorry for the VP If he had not put the drop in his mouth, he might have been even more disruptive by having a coughing spell.
At each of our family gatherings we have several shutterbugs constantly taking pictures. I couldn't count the number of unflattering poses that have been preserved of me. When my great grandchildren grow up and look at those old photos I hope they will remember a little of the whole me and not think that their great-grandmother was really that weird looking.
I have looked in old albums at pictures of relatives I never knew, and from a look at the pictures I was rather glad I hadn't known them. They all looked so sour. I know that the process of picture taking was tedious in those days and probably by the time the actual work was done, everyone felt pretty cranky already. However I think that it was the style then to look dignified in a picture. The idea of an ancestor enjoying a laugh was not proper.
Today I am glad if any family pictures don't show one of my loved ones picking his/her nose, scratching where it itches, or talking with a full mouth. But I certainly don't want such a picture to be one someone took of me.