Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Flickr Shock

JB said, "Don't get me anything for Christmas." It smells like a trap.

He's feeling guilty after wiping out his flexible spending account and then some on a new pair of no-line bifocals with designer frames. Absently I say, "Got it. Nothing for Christmas" and return my attention to my Amazon shopping list.

A few weeks ago JB flew off the handle when I said I planned to buy myself an iPad 3. You know, sometime next year when there is an iPad 3. "No more gadgets! What's wrong with the iPad you have?"

"It's an iPad 1?" I reply sheepishly, caught off guard by the vigor of his disapproval and the obscurity of the question's point. How could he understand? He and his fancy iPad 2.

The hypocrisy wasn't lost on me last week when JB, during a TV commercial break, dropped a hint about wanting another new camera. Maybe a Nikon this time. (Nikon? Until now JB has strictly been a Cannon man. I will never understand his attraction to Ashton Kutcher.)

And honestly, who can truly be satisfied with only six digital cameras?

I blame myself. When I met JB nearly 15 years ago, he was practically Amish. He didn't have a computer let alone an e-mail address. He thought my mobile phone was a frivolous luxury used mainly to flaunt my disposable income in a feeble attempt to deny my natural place in the social strata. And he didn't own a camera.

On our first Christmas together I bought him a camera. It was a simple, compact, point-and-shoot affair that used something called "film". If you wanted to see the pictures you took, you had to wait. Sometimes days.

He seemed to like that camera. On our first trip with it, the little plastic part that covered the flash fell off. But the camera still worked. What I failed to appreciate was that the 4,000 volt capacitor circuitry for the flash was now exposed. I remember framing the shot and saying "Say cheeEEESUS CHRIST!!" as every muscle in my body contracted simultaneously. I remember seeing sparks. And I remember seeing the camera fly about 20 feet through the air before bouncing and rolling another 20 feet on the ground. I'm not sure if the camera still worked after that. We were afraid of it.

I felt bad about breaking JB's camera, but he wasn't concerned. He took it back to the camera shop where I had bought it originally and came out with a better camera. No charge. He has a knack for exchanging things. I don't know how he does it, I really don't. Because I opt to wait in the car when these exchanges go down.

(He once bought a vacuum cleaner and used it for a couple months before it stopped sucking. After asking me to troubleshoot the obviously defective appliance, he was incensed to learn he had to buy replacement vacuum cleaner bags if he wanted to continue supporting his domestic habit. He returned the vacuum to Lowe's Depot – stuffed full of dirt – and exchanged it for a new, sleek bagless model. No charge.)

"I'll have these back to ya
in three days, toots."
For some reason I can't remember, he then took his newer, better camera back and exchanged it. This cycle continued until JB was the proud owner of his first 35mm SLR. Then he had two. Then one year for his birthday I got him his first digital SLR with a whopping 64MB memory card. Because only cavemen wait to see their pictures.

It might have been around this time when JB decided he wanted to become a professional photographer. (Evidently all flight attendants need a secondary career. He didn't have the patience for a realtor's license, and I refused to let him sell VitaJuicePlus to our friends.) It's not that he didn't make any money as a photographer, he did make money. It's just that all the profits went back into more photographic equipment.

So I find it ironic that while I'm still stinging from my pre-emptive iPad 3 denial, I'm clicking the "Buy it Now" button for another new camera for JB. What can I say? Cameras make him happy.


  1. you almost had me stop my reading at 'Ashton Kutcher". {shudder}

  2. You *shoulda* bought him a vacuum cleaner... or a new iron. something domestic.

    That would learn him.

  3. P.S. Ashton Kutcher makes me regret being from Iowa.