Another Kodak blackmail moment

Thanksgiving week kicks off another belt-busting, family-spatting, bank-account-draining holiday season, and I'd urge you to stock up on film.

Nothing captures those special holiday moments like a camera. From the traditional Thanksgiving snapshot of sated men lying around like elephant seals, snoozing in front of the TV with their belts unbuckled, to that final lampshade-wearing table dance to ring in the New Year, the holidays are the right time for photos.

You want to preserve those memories forever, particularly if the idiot in the photo -- pretending to maniacally attack the turkey with two large knives while other diners feign alarm -- is someone other than yourself.

Over a lifetime, you can collect albums full of remembrances that show your family and friends in their true light. The photo, say, of little Junior, naked and happy, licking ice cream off the floor like a dog. Or, the photo of the bridal shower where tipsy Aunt Maude decided her skirt would look better up over her head. The chin-quivering disappointment of the wrong size at Christmas. The two neighbors caught smooching at the New Year's party.

Such holiday moments can live forever in your photo albums, and you can use them as instruments of blackmail and revenge. A supply of such photos can be ammunition in any little skirmish that breaks out in the household, and can even result in a valuable inheritance one day. Best of all, those captured holiday images can be used, again and again, to embarrass the hell out of loved ones.

My wife and I weather the weirdnesses of parenting by giggling over the photographic evidence we've collected against our two sons. We have big plans for these photos. Come Prom Night, we're trotting them out for our sons' special dates. We consider this our little vengeance for the insanity the kids have put us through over the years.

We've got the standard naked-baby pictures to make our sons blush, as well as various photos involving frogs and dogs and grandparents. Some wonderfully humiliating moments.

Our sons helped us out a few years ago, producing a whole roll of "staged" photos showing them up to mischief. They got hold of a disposable camera and went around the house, shooting pictures of each other committing misdemeanors like jumping on the bed and dangling dangerously from furniture and filching Dad's ice cream.

They were delighted with the results, and not the least perturbed by my complaints that they had to physically jump on the bed to get a picture of them jumping on the bed. It didn't count, they argued, because it was staged. The illusion of the cinema.

I stopped arguing when my wife muttered, "Prom Night."

Take a hint from us, and remember to take lots of photographs this holiday season. They could be useful later.

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