Saturday, March 5, 2011

Laugh Lines

I remember skipping a week of school when I was at Trent University. It was 1981, and it was the annual film festival. The theme was animation, and there were films all over Peterborough and the campus.  One of the films that really stood out for me was a film about a Danish animator named Kaj Pindal called Laugh Lines

The film wasn't especially clever or insightful. What stood out for me was Kaj's face. He had spent his life making cartoons, and his face, in old age, had developed lines from smiling and his laughter. He did some of the voice over from the movie, and you could tell he was a real kidder. It wasn't as if he hadn't suffered - he had some horrendous times in his youth. But, he had overcome adversity and chose to live a happy life. You may know one of his most famous work:  I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly . I think he worked for the National Film Board of Canada which paid people to actually do this kind of thing - make short films. Canada is different that way.

A caricature of Kaj Pindal
Anyway, his face - or at least the characterization of it, has stayed with me. I was only 20 years old but I remember thinking that if I lived to be old, I would want my face to develop the way his had.

When I'm in a situation where I have time to kill, and I'm in a crowd of people, I happily spend the time studying other people's faces. I'm always drawn to children first. But, if there are no kids, I look at really old people and try to figure out who they are. I cannot help but compare them to Kaj. I've seen a lot of sour faces - and I have to assume their faces stuck that way because of how they spent their lives.

One of the many reasons I married Bill is because he is really funny. He makes me laugh a lot and he can jolly me out of a bad mood. (He can put me in a bad mood just as easily - but, he's awfully good at making me snap out of it, too). Anyway, at 50 years old  I have many lines on my face. But, I think those lines are already telling the story of how much laughter I have had the fortune to have in my life.


  1. Canada -- rich enough to invest public money in things like animation, laughter, art.

  2. Liz, that is one of the reasons why I so ejoyed working for Bill. It wasn't just the things he said, but also the things he did (even when he didn't know anyone was watching).