But still, school dances are a young man\’s game and I\’m tired.
The only beverage available in the dance-zone proper is punch. It\’s just pink lemonade; all punch, no kick. I\’m in need of h2o, but the usual drinking fountain between the two gyms, whose bacterial count probably involves a number cubed, is out of service and has a plant on top of it. A very mardis gras plant. So, I move beyond the gym towards the foyer and immediately hear half a dozen post-pubescent voices yell \”Mr. Kamal!\” in unison. I\’ve stepped right into a photo op. I play it off by acting like I don\’t understand. \”Oh, stand right here?\” No! they all yell back, including the teacher taking the picture.
After a full minute of this I step away, waving it off with a dopey grin like Kathy Griffin or something, and it hits me like a truck full of iPhones: photobomb. Every funny picture; every stupid, maniacal grin; every devil horn I\’ve ever seen, without irony but not at a metal show, flashes in my mind. And suddenly my back no longer hurts, the sweat isn\’t so annoying. I am now a man with a purpose.
And so, for the next hour-and-a-half, I am possessed. I circle the dance floor like a shark, sniffing out flashes and poses, using my expert timing (honed from years and years of \”pointless\” video games — who\’s laughing now?) to jump in and leave these poor children with a lasting memory of their favorite teacher. The most enjoyable ones are when they have no idea I\’m there, not even the one taking the picture, and I have a few precious seconds to setup a gruesome pose or disturbing facial expression. I get carried away, hanging around a table full of lambs ripe for the slaughter; the fools are using a digital camera, instead of their phones, so it\’s even easier to time. They don\’t even seem to notice me lurking, pouncing at just the right moment, popping up like a meerkat when I see the pre-flash.
Perhaps the most satisfying is that teacher who took the initial photo that started all this. Her big digital camera, in the clear light of the foyer, is child\’s play: her finger rides the shutter button at just the right time, so I can attack from cover without fear. The dirty looks she gives me are priceless.
By the end of the evening I have to check myself. It\’s too much and I need to focus on my job: keeping kids from dancing dirtily. I still sneak in a few more when the opportunity presents itself. My crowning moment, what makes it all worth it, is when one of my students catches me and says, \”Mr. Kamal! I see you everywhere! You\’re in everybody\’s picture!\”
Yes, yes I am.
It\’s for the children, really. I\’m giving them one last keepsake, one more fun memory before they go on to high school. No, not really. I\’m just entertaining myself.