THREE LEGS

I’m a tripod. I guess it’s a little bit more accurate to say: I’m called a tripod. I’d like to think that I’m more than that (being called something and actuallybeing something are two different things.). I’d like to think that being called a tripod means more than just the fact that I have three legs. It’s quite strange that they call me by exactly what I have, and not what I do, or what I am useful for, or even the change that I cause in the world around me. When I’m holding up a camera, keeping a shot entirely still as everything else around me quakes and moves frenetically, I’m more than a tripod. But nobody cares. They call me by exactly what I have. Three legs.

If people were called by what they had, most of them would be called “Legs, torso, arms, head, genitalia, fingers and toes.” (Of course, they’d find a way to shorten that.)

If I were called by what I do with the majority of my time, that might make a little bit more sense. If people were called by what they do with the majority of their time, that might make a little bit more sense, too. They’d be called “Time Wasters”, or “Car Drivers”, “Email Senders”, “Food Eaters” or “Space Fillers”. A very few of them might be called “Value Creators” or “Joy Givers” or “Problem Solvers”.

If I were called by what I was useful for, I would sure as hell not be called “Three Legs.” If people were called by what they were useful for, some of them might be called “Nothing”.

If I were called by the change that I cause in the world around me, I might actually start to be called by something more accurate. The cinematographers and film crews and photographers and gaffers might know me as the tool that makes every shot still and solemn and serious. I’d be known as the tool that builds suspense, or the tool that instantly makes a shot worth carrying a smile. I’d be known as the tool that firmly establishes a character’s dominance, or villainy, or good will. I’d be known as the piece of equipment that allows the camera to close its aperture down to 1.2, and glean the brilliant light and shallow focus from the early morning. I would be called anything but “Tripod”.

If people were called by the change they caused in the world around them, they might have a clearer idea of who they were and where each of them belonged. Some would be called “The reason that John isn’t in prison,” or “The reason for Madeline’s education,” or “The reason that dozens of people are employed.” These names wouldn’t be permanent, nor would they be granted from their first day, like the name John, or Tia, or Michael, or Madeline — they’d morph and grow and change with time.

I hold up the camera, and position it firmly to face its lens on some part of the world that is worth capturing, worth keeping still. I hold fast to the ground, when everything around me shakes with movement.

I’m a tripod. I guess it’s a little bit more accurate to say: I’m called a tripod.

But I’d like to think that I’m more than that.