Camcorders fanatics are adept at capturing life's little blunders

Elise T. Chisolm

December 20, 1990|By Elise T. Chisolm

The wedding and the camcorder: Do you realize that anyone who is anyone has a camcorder.

If you have not witnessed the love affair between the amateur film directors and the victim, then you might not understand this column.

Unlike old-fashioned photographers, who said things like "Let's have a big smile, please, hon," or "Say cheese" or "Look at the camera, sweetie," these camcorder people want you at your worst.

You're at a big wedding and you are about to plop a raw oyster in your mouth, the sauce has dripped onto your white silk blouse, your head is thrown back, your mouth is open and someone -- usually a man -- focuses his video camera you.

He sneaks up from behind and then jumps on a chair to get a panoramic view of your latest weight gain or double chins.

The "videophile" has just received for his birthday a wonderful new toy from his wife -- a camcorder -- and she thinks by taking it to their friend's wedding it will keep him away from the bar.

Now these amateurs are not to be confused with the professional "videographer," who knows where the off button is but who sometimes gets between the bride and the altar or the groom and his bride.

From bar mitzvahs to family reunions, the "Cam Rambos" are on the loose like invading monsters. They attack a social function with the aspirations, if not the skill, of a Zeffirelli and with an unsteady hand holding the video camera, and they don't want you to pose. They want impromptu footage whether your foot is in your mouth or your finger is in your nose.

Cammies don't care if you have a big butt, a wrinkled neck or unshaven legs, they just want you on record for posterity. To call some of them obnoxious is an understatement. They remind me of Allen Funt, not one of my favorites, and his "Candid Camera."

These Cam Rambos will never make it to "America's Funniest Home Videos" but they are hopeful.

If you are over 60 or under 6, you are recorded more frequently. I figured out the reason I keep getting "cammed.'' At my age there are those who feel that I might not be here that much longer -- so folks, let's get a record of her!

And then when you are under 6 and "oh, so cute at 2" surely you will want to show your future spouse or in-laws a progressive history of your darling, little fat stomach hanging out over a low-slung diaper as you waddle around.

What is devastating to some one like me at gatherings -- where as I wear my best dress, have tons of make up on, and my hair has been fixed and spritzed -- on video I look like Phyllis Diller before all her surgeries.

At a recent 70th birthday party for a dear friend who has too many friends most of whom have camcorders, I was videotaped tripping over a tiny bamboo shoot stuffed with pate lying on the floor near the buffet table.

So far I have had the spider veins on the back of my left knee "cammed" like a CAT scan, and all other pictures on tape have added 10 unfair pounds to my mature body.

From the Cam Police Force, of which I'd like to be a member -- comes this personal caution, "CAM what you can, and 'CAN' what you've cammed, please."

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