I thank you, Steven J. Sasson, for creating our greatest innovation of all; a memory altering machine. How intelligent you must be to have created a machine that allows you to delete or edit and picture that isn’t perfect. But is that what anyone ever really wanted? A warped perception of their own memory? I often wonder why people buy $300.00 digital cameras, rather than $7.00 disposable cameras.
With a disposable, the pictures come out the way that they were captured in my mind. With the makeup smudged a bit, the hair out of place, the teeth less than pearly whites. Because I can’t remember a time when every picture taken was perfect. To me an imperfect picture creates a perfect memory.
Throughout all of my middle school years, I never saw a day go by where there were no disposable cameras around ready for anything to happen. I guess our parents didn’t believe we were mature enough to handle real memory altering machines. So picture after picture we would smile, until finally, we came to that twenty-first show, and our fingers kept gliding on the crank. We all know what that wonderful continuous click meant. Developing time. Nothing could contain our excitement from knowing that in only a few days, we would be seeing these memories, printed on paper, to have forever.
Today, only two years later, looking at the middle school, I see that all of them have digital cameras. And even in the real world, disposables are barely seen. Everyone just takes out their digitals cameras. There is so much emphasis on the lighting or placement of the picture that what’s really in it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
Although a disposable camera may not be the biggest technological advance in the world, it still holds the true memories. The memories that I saw, that I experienced, and that I wanted to remember.
Most people don’t even print their digital pictures. Once the picture is taken, it sits in the camera for a few weeks or months, and then eventually it’s uploaded onto the computer, but it may never be looked at again. It could sit in the computer for the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t even notice.
So a disposable camera’s picture may sit for a while. Whether they are in the package that they came in, a shoebox, or even lost somewhere, they’re always there. And one day, when you find them, you’ll realize how much those imperfect memories really meant to you, and that thumb in the bottom of the picture, or that cowlick in your sister’s hair will make you chuckle and smile every time.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.