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Recession 'Tip' No.1: Airbrush, not surgery

So you’ve come home from holiday, downloaded your photos to the computer, and as you sift through them you have that familiar feeling of disappointment—you’re not as young as you once were. Or as slim. Or as tanned as you would like.

So what do you do? Apparently, more and more holidaymakers seek to improve their pics by computer wizardy. According to an article in
The Times, “It may mean slimming an expanding midriff, lengthening the legs or plumping up lips. All will be done at the click of an airbrush rather than the flick of a surgeon’s scalpel.”

Obviously if you’ve a piece of hamburger relish stuck to your cheek, or one of your children is great in one photo and not another—a bit of airbrushing is a blessing. But
Snappy Snaps photographic chain says it has seen a 550% increase in the past year in people requesting work on their holiday snaps to make them look more attractive.

The airbrush was once the preserve of film stars, but advances in technology mean it is now available to everyone. Crooked teeth can be straightened and whitened. Bags under the eyes can be removed, wrinkles and frown lines eased and bodies can undergo a magical digital diet in which pounds disappear in seconds.

One delighted holidaymaker on seeing the results said, “Wow, that looks a bit weird now, not like me. But yes, I like it.”

“I like it”—it’s not really me, but it’s how I like to think of me.

Of course what happens when reality meets the image? When people look at your pics and look at you and say, “Boy you’ve really gone downhill since the summer?” And when old age comes and we take out our photograph albums we’ll gaze longingly at what we never were, and have to tell our grandkids, “This isn’t me”.

While it might only be a bit of fun in some cases, or tidying up in others, it’s also an indicator as to where we are really at. We’re obsessed with appearance, continually putting it over substance. And now it has become a parody of itself. It used to be that we accepted natural beauty over deeper character traits, that was bad enough. Then it was the fakery of enhanced surgical beauty, which hid a two-dimensional person behind its three-dimensional enhancements. Now it’s faked fake beauty, that doesn’t even exist outside the two-dimensional page.

But more than an indicator of fickleness, it’s an indicator of how much we want to hide from the truth about ourselves. And if we are prepared to do it for a few wrinkles, or inches, how much more will we do it about the deeper recesses of our hearts. Yet our only hope lies in absolute judgment day honesty about who we really are, not who we like think to think of ourselves as. You can’t airbrush your heart, it needs direct intervention by God to work beauty there. And to ask for that, we need to stop hiding from the truth.