So….the other day on Twitter my friend Jeff asked about the backstory of this picture:

It’s really not a great story, or at least, not to me. It was one of those things where everything aligned and fell into place perfectly to take what–to me–is one of the funniest pictures of me ever taken; one that I have been able to use on social media repeatedly, for any number of responses to any number of tweets and situations, because it works for so many different things: surprise, shock, horror (it’s actually saved as ‘the horror’ on all my computers and devices, so I can access it from anywhere), and on and on. It works for everything, seriously.

It’s also kind of amusing how much people on social media love this picture. One friend replied to it once with yes….whenever this picture shows up I know it’s a good tweet. I even think some people try to prompt me to use it, and when I don’t, will go as far as to tweet insert Greg’s shocked face picture here, and of course, I always oblige.

This picture comes from the years after Hurricane Katrina, if not the year immediately after. I think, this was from 2007 or 2008. The city was still recovering, but we were also getting some time and distance from the trauma. There were so few people in the city in that year–people returning all the time, new people moving in for the first time–that we all clung very tightly to the friends who were actually here. Going out on the weekends no longer seemed like an indulgence I might be getting to the point of aging out of; instead, it became a necessary ritual to go down to the Quarter gay bars and hang out with friends because we were all sharing the traumas and rollercoaster rides that New Orleans was after the disaster. It felt important to keep renewing those bonds every weekend. The day job was still operating at a shell of what it was before; but a lot of us were working out of the Frenchmen Street office and those of us who did, meeting up for Drag Bingo and tea dance on Sundays (we called it “going to gay church”) had become pretty much de rigeur. I didn’t care so much about Drag Bingo, so often drifted between friends at Lafitte’s and co-workers at Drag Bingo up the street at Oz (I never missed the napkin toss for “Love Is In The Air,” though).

And that is where this picture was taken; on some long -forgotten Sunday at Drag Bingo. I had literally just walked into Oz, having left Paul and some other friends at Lafitte’s to go check in with my work friends. As I recall, Josh, the Evil Mark, and some of the others had gathered at that corner of the square first floor bar, and Josh pulled out his camera and said, “let me take your picture, Greggy.” So I looked at him and smiled…

…and just as he was pressing the button on the camera, the Evil Mark showed yet again why I nicknamed him that by saying, “Why? He’ll just look old.”

I turned my head and that was the face I made–which is why I wasn’t looking directly at the camera. It can never be duplicated because it wasn’t posed; it was a candid, honest reaction to someone giving me a good burn from out of nowhere. I didn’t even see the picture until much later, because it was pre-iPhones and people still were using digital cameras. He posted it later that night on Facebook, tagged me with a vile slander (his caption was Greg just saw something, and it wasn’t true) which I corrected; but I also downloaded the picture because it made me laugh. I don’t remember when precisely I started using it as a reaction shot on Facebook or Twitter, but it always makes people laugh.

And I do like making people laugh, so here we are.

Every so often I stop posting it because I figure people are getting tired of it. It had been a hot minute since I’d used it–to the point where I didn’t even think to use it until someone (Jeff) mentioned it again the other day. What’s really funny is when people use it on ME, which has happened. The first time I probably made the same face, because it had never occurred to me that someone would do that and use it on ME. It still doesn’t happen often, but it always makes me laugh when it does. I do remember one day I was going to use a GIF to respond to a tweet and thought oh, you should post The Horror and so I did, amusing myself endlessly. I didn’t expect it to take on a life of its own and become kind of a social media “cult classic.”

I really should have used it for my author picture.

One thought on “Photograph

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s