Know Your Role
I used to work part-time in the photo lab at my local Walmart while going to college. We were instructed not to print any photos containing nudity, or obscene activities. Being a small college town and having the cheapest and best 1 hour processing, we would get the usual, “let’s mess with the first guy to pass out at a frat party” shots every few weeks. Sometimes it was just Sharpie art on the face. Sometimes it was a fraternity brother posing with a hot dog sticking out of their fly and on their incapacitated face. Sometimes it was the real thing. (We always had to zoom in on the printer to check for sure.)
I’m not sure it is still policy but we were instructed not to print and sell any images containing “obscenity” or nudity. It was always interesting to watch people after they purchased their prints only to find a few missing. (Only the boldest would ask for them, which was always an adventure to explain why they were missing.)
One day I come across a roll of film belonging to the delinquent older brother of this girl I used to sneak off into the woods to make out with in gym class. He wasn’t a bad fellow. Just you’re average white trash complete with greasy mullet, dangling right earring, and Camaro.
The roll unfolded like a ribald voyeuristic tale. First images of the guy and his girl kissing and hugging. A few shots of a shady no-tell motel room complete with worn furniture and dark wood paneling. Then came the opening of a bag revealing skimpy outfits, various adult toys, and Vaseline. I thought to myself, this is going to be good. At this rate, I’ll only be able to sell 3 shots of the roll! The couple started to undress in the next frame. A large, neon pink adult toy towered over its tubby counterpart of Vaseline on the night stand. The couple began to intertwine.
Suddenly the pink friend was removed from it’s station only to show up in another frame being prepped for use. As I continued to advance the film strip in the print machine the pink object found a new residence. But something was a bit off. As the object disappeared into its new place, I realized it was the guy’s real-estate! I’m soo glad I was not on shift when they came to pick up their prints.