Dad – Yom Kippur 2009

Anyway, so without getting into who’s who – here are a few clicks from the fast breaking affair which I post because they’re mostly of my father who could care less.  Main thing is not to let him know these pics are up, or else I’ll have to make prints for him.

As you can see, if you point a camera at him, he will go into performance mode.  What form this performance takes, you never know.  When we were young kids, he would crack us up at the dinner table by rolling mashed potatoes around in his mouth (remember, he’s 35 at the time and we’re under eight ) and then make disgusting noises and show us what the mashed potatoes in his mouth looked like.  Ha.  You can imagine that my mother either was, or pretended to be mortified.  I don’t know which.

Other things he liked to do: if he had his shirt off, he’d make squishy noises by cupping his hand under his arm pit.  I really don’t believe that he stopped doing this sort of thing until he was in his seventies. (Oh, that’s his younger sister… )

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Caught without time to prepare a face…

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Dad and K.  As you can see, at 85 he is still very physical.  And still has a grip like a vise.

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Most of my conversations were about photography – not of my own doing – but it seems to be an exciting topic for relatives that I haven’t seen for a year, sometimes longer.  With people who were my own age, I played it down, talked about the problems with the business, the fact that so little of it had to do with taking pictures, etc.

But when I was seated next to the 90 and over group (my sisters call them my girlfriends) I play it up.  If nothing great has happened, then I make up things.  They’re just so eager to hear fabulous stories.  I think I told H. and L. that I had been on the Today Show once already.  This had them enthralled What was so-and-so really like, and I just continued to make up stories and their ancient eyes just got wider and wider.  Oh, if I would have only told them before.

And what memories they had.  One 90 year old woman asked if I knew that photographer who was working at the Daily News.  She thought his name began with the letter W.  I couldn’t figure out who she had in mind, until I realized that she was still back in the 40’s and I said – do you mean Weegee?

Yes, she squeeled with joy.  Yes.  Does he still work for the news, she wanted to know.

I had to tell her that he had passed away a while back – but that I did meet him once (total fabrication) and went on with that riff for a while until someone my own age sat down and then I had to stick more to the truth or at least complain about the problems I had with packaging and such.

None of this was planned on my part.  It’s only in writing about it now that I saw what I was doing.  I think I just wanted to give people conversation which would make them feel better.  If I told the people who were my own age and who were very unhappy with their own positions in life – that this was a fantastic thing, and how I was doing what I always wanted to do – it would have been like rubbing salt in a wound.

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Dave

My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a photographer and programmer working in New York City.

2 thoughts on “Dad – Yom Kippur 2009”

  1. It’s really fascinating to me how much of an effect we have on other peoples perceptions, both by what we say and do in their presence, particularly those whom we have an existing relationship with such as a relative, friend, etc. I also feel the urge or need to try and help pacify or otherwise support these folks and help make their ‘situations’ seem a little more pleasant if possible.

  2. At heart, I try to make people feel better by giving them what I think they need, or want to hear. I don’t do this with people that I have an actual relationship with, but there is that category of people that you meet every so often – and I find myself morphing into someone that makes them feel better with their own lives.

    I am perfectly willing to disparage my own endeavors if this is necessary since what I actually feel would hurt them if it came out.

    And I am good at playing the joker / clown. Again, this is a sort of defense mechanism because I can’t tell the truth in most of these social situations.

    On the other hand, as I say – there are only a few people in the world who really know me, and you know who you are, and I thank you for it – because it is a great relief to be able to be yourself.

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