The Big Issue : Edition 439
THE BIG ISSUE 16 -- 29 AUG 2013 51 “Will I ever be able to see a James Franco flm and have a normal reaction to the smile?” I ask Mel over a beer at Bulimba pub. “No,” he says, shaking his head. “You have a lifelong problem with the James-Franco-smile and it just sparks something in you that you cannot control.” “Perhaps if I saw the smile in person, I would be able to conquer it like a phobia, you know, like how they treat people with phobias?” I mused. “Nope!” he replied. “Addictions don’t work that way. You don’t give a smoker a carton of smokes to help them or a cellar full of wine for the alcoholic. You would be completely out of your depth and in chronic danger were you to come face-to- face with the James-Franco-smile in person. It could kill you. That buzz you feel from seeing it on screen, in the fesh…well, it could fatally zap you!” “And you’ve never been tempted to watch a Bette Davis movie? Not ever?” I asked him. “Every day,” he smiled. “I think about her eyes every day but I stay strong and frmly committed to never gaze upon them again. Life is too good now.” I nod, mulling this over in my head. “And you can seek out others who might be suffering from the same disorder and you can help them. It is so rewarding,” Mel told me, his face glowing with health and an inner peace. “There’s a Facebook group, you know,” I admitted to him. “A James-Franco-smile group of people obsessed with the smile. Perhaps I could start there and offer some support to them.” “That’s a great idea,” he nodded enthusiastically. I walked home with a bounce in my step, past the bus shelter and stopped. There was a poster advertising a new flm. This is the End. I stare. There he is. Bloody James Franco. Open mouth. Eyes wide. But it is not a smile. Just a bizarre pose as if he is screaming. I look at his lovely teeth. Hint of gum. Lips stretched wide. It’s just a mouth. I touch my own. I bite on the jagged rim of a fngernail. He’s just a man. An actor. Doing his job. It’s just another movie. A comedy that will no doubt be full of smiles and laughter. I won’t be going. I reach out and touch the James Franco mouth. “You have no power over me,” I whisper. But I know that’s not true. I must remain forever vigilant of the James-Franco-smile. Because it’s deadly. Nikki McWatters IS THE AUTHOR OF ONE WAY OR ANOTHER: THE STORY OF A GIRL WHO LOVED ROCK STARS, WHICH WAS SHORTLISTED FOR A QUEENSLAND PREMIER'S LITERARY AWARD IN 2010. SHE HAS WRITTEN FOR MAMAMIA, THE HOOPLA, iVILLAGE AND THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD AND WILL PUBLISH A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL IN 2014.