Tag Archives: Smiling

Please Don’t “Say Cheese”

People love taking their pictures. Since digital cameras and more recently, high quality phone cameras, it’s been happening a lot more. What’s interesting to me is that the pictures themselves have been de-valued since it’s no longer such a hassle to get them. Take a shitty photo? No problem. Take 17 more until you get it right. Even the most stubborn purist would have to admit that digital photography has made things way more convenient. A lot of times you can close your eyes and tell how old the ‘photographer’ is by the level of investment they have in setting up the shot, and the people in it. With younger people it’s snap snap snap snap snap. The older people remember having a roll of film with 24 photos on it, and the cost and time of having that film developed, and the harrowing disappointment of that family photo NOT turning out, and that memory lost FOREVER!!!! You could almost expect 4 or 5 of those pictures to not ‘turn out’, but if it was more than that, you would definitely feel like you wasted your money developing that film. That’s why whenever you took a picture of more than one person, you would always ask them to say ‘cheese’ right before you took the photo, to ensure everyone had their best smile, and just maybe that would be one for the photo album. (The what?? say younger people).

I didn’t know what ‘cheese’ meant, I have to admit. I never thought much about it, I just did what I was told. Probably from the time I could talk. My two-year old son says cheese when I ask him to. I’m sure he doesn’t know why either, but he doesn’t question it, he just does it. Same with me, I just did it. Only recently did I actually get in front of a mirror and say cheese to see what would happen. Yup, sure enough, it made my face contort into a ‘smile like’ position. Whoever first thought of that was a genius. Especially in those times where it really mattered that all look good during a photo.

Here was the problem for me. I have 2 smiles. A genuine smile, and a ‘cheese’ smile. I don’t smile just for the sake of it. I wish I did. I know there are people like that, and they’re my favourite people in the world. They smile because they’re happy, or it’s just their go-to face for various situations. My go-to face is not a happy face. It’s not because I’m not happy, or because I feel like I have something different to prove. Trust me, I’d love to be a smiley guy. I have dimples. When asked to say ‘cheese’ ahead of a photograph, I typically give a fake smile. The world might not know the difference, but my mom knows, and so do I. I tried not smiling, or ‘smiling with my eyes’ for pictures, and that sometimes works, but most people look their best with a smile on their face, and I would say I’m no different.

How do you make me smile?

You have to make me laugh. Easy, right?

I’m a funny guy. I know you’re not supposed to say stuff like that about yourself, but I’m 40. I’ve been told by other people very regularly for many years. I’m funny, get over it. Not just funny, but when I’m on, I’m really funny. It’s a schtick I’ve worked on since childhood. It’s how I tried to fit in. Sometimes the dimples weren’t enough. I worked on it for so many years, that I don’t have to try anymore. I instinctively almost always know what the funny thing is to say in just about every situation. Ironically at my age, the best thing I can do is not say it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Wait a minute, if I’m such a funny guy, I should be smiling all the time, right? That’s where it gets tricky. I’ve heard (or said) it all before with very few exceptions. I need something fresh and unique, or to be taken by surprise. A lot of times, the things that make me laugh hysterically are said by people who didn’t necessarily mean to be funny. It just happens that way. It would be a lot to ask of someone snapping a picture to have some witty banter just for me, because I’m the guy in the picture who won’t say cheese. It would also be a lot to ask for 75% of the population to have a sweet clue on how to operate a camera before getting a bunch of people together for a photo opportunity, and having us hold the pose for 30 seconds (aka 5 eternities) while they figured out if the flash was on or not, so………….

I’ve come up with a solution. It works for me every time, and if you don’t find it completely disgusting, you’re welcome to use it.

I’ve spent years brainstorming with friends, a list of words that could be quickly said in exchange for a genuine smile. The rule is that it’s got to be 2 words, said quickly as one. The first word is the name of an animal. Stick to something cute enough that it could be a stuffed animal. The second word is typically slang for genitalia. This is partially for shock value. Picture people posing for a picture, and then shout


That was the first one we ever thought of. We realized that if the first word was 2 syllables, and the second word was one that it had greater impact. Plus we’re Canadian, so the most enduring one, and less offensive than the first (just in case grandma is in the picture), is


It never fails. Even when they’re expecting it, they still laugh. Or maybe it’s just my particular group of friends that have a weakness for that. I can’t say for sure if it’s in fact ‘universally appealing’ or not. I encourage you to make up your own. Try to stick to the syllable rules though. Even though ELEPHANT-BALLS is hilarious to me, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely. The animal can’t be too fierce either. TIGER-NUTS doesn’t tickle the same way say PANDA-NUTS would. Also, respect your elders. Someone in their 80’s probably prefers Dick over Cock, unless it’s BUNNY-COCK which is so deliciously absurd that I’m sure it gets a pass from the silver-haired crowd. Wait until you’ve used all the obvious ones before you get into BUTTERFLY-SCROTUM, and remember that it’s too many syllables to use for an actual photo.

If it didn’t gross you out, I hope this helps with your group photos going forward. Feel free to leave me your own creations in my comment section.

The New Solution For Everything

It’s time I shared some wisdom with all of you. I’m certain that you will all be astounded by the way I think outside of the box, and bring unique suggestions to the table. I aim to make the world a better place, and when this new thought dawned on me, I could have been selfish and kept this remarkable innovation to myself, but I’m not a selfish person. I want you to share with me. Let’s all get to the promised land together!

Before I blow your mind with intrigue and fascination, I wanted to give you a little bit of history on how I had this revelation. This past week my son celebrated his first birthday. This is my only child. So what that means for me is that I have celebrated one year of being a father. You can’t possibly go a whole year of fatherhood and learn nothing. I have learned plenty.

There are two major speaking points here. My son has taught me both of these things. The first will seem rather logical, and you’ll have no problem seeing the applications. The second is a little more of a scientific discovery, and I’ll have to help you with the applications so you can truly go on to live a better life.

1. If you smile at someone, they will usually smile back. If you are a really cute baby and you do it, you will see a higher percentage of returned smiles, but nevertheless, it’s a good tactic for anyone. I totally recommend it. I’ve caught myself doing it accidentally from time to time. I might be thinking of something funny, and I’m in a public place, and maybe I inadvertently smile at someone. I’ve been surprised at how often I got a returned smile. My son is just relentless. When we get into an elevator, and there’s a few people in there, he’ll make eye contact with each and every person until they all melt into a puddle on the floor (he’s that charming), and I can see the disappointment in his eyes when someone doesn’t look up at him. I know what you’re thinking….. Yes, he’s a devastatingly handsome baby, and we’re not all devastatingly handsome babies, BUT I don’t think that should stop you from smiling at people in the elevator. I’d even go as far as wagering that anybody who could start doing this for an entire year would report back to me with a much more fulfilling life. Just sayin’

2. The other thing I learned which is CRAZY, is the following. Baby snot is the most effective adhesive in the entire world. There is nothing baby snot won’t stick to, and there is almost nothing that can separate a good baby snot adhesion. So why aren’t we using baby snot more in industry? Are there not a bunch of babies with runny noses that we can use to build things with? Is there no way to harness the power of baby snot?

What if you ran out of sticky notes?? No problem…. I’ll just use a regular paper and baby snot. What if you can’t find a stud in the wall to hang that wedding picture up over the couch?? Baby snot to the rescue! What if you need to make a citizen’s arrest, and you don’t have any handcuffs, but you need to subdue a perp?? Not an issue, just baby snot his hands together, and it’s just as secure as cuffs.

Listen, we all want to do what’s right for the environment. Aren’t you tired of all these glue and tape factories ruining our children’s future by making all that….. glue… and ……tape?? Don’t you think it’s time we found an ALL-NATURAL product like baby snot? Just think of the percentage of babies that don’t have jobs in the current market. I don’t see baby unemployment coming down anytime soon unless we do something about it. I think we need a politician that’s going to fight for baby jobs. There is so much snot being manufactured every day by little day-care attendees who spread germs and lick every surface in sight. Why can’t we take this natural resource and use it for good? Instead of squandering it like we do with everything else.

Looking for more applications? Got a leaky boat? Baby snot the leak. Don’t want to watch something on TV? Baby snot your eyelids shut. See what I mean?? This is going to change the way you stick to things. I’m just glad I was able to share this with you. This is the beginning of the Baby Snot Revolution. Remember this moment always!