Okay, kid, give me a smile. Not a real smile, no — like someone’s forcing you to smile. Like they’re going to tear off your fingernails one by one if you don’t smile. That’s it. Just show me a little more nostril. Yes. Perfect.

Next, give me a look like you really have to go to the bathroom. I want you to pretend you’re about to go to the bathroom and there’s no toilet anywhere around. In fact, there are no toilets anywhere on Earth, not since the war. Hold that look for a count of three — one, two — amazing.

Now, imagine a cross between a skunk and a plate of cafeteria meatloaf came slithering out of the classroom over there. Alive like a skunk, wet like the meatloaf. Imagine it rubbing up against your leg. Shake him off, hold your nose, try to figure out whether it’s really a live animal or a plate of food, yeah, just like that.

For this next shot, you’re an astronaut in a rocket ship and the emergency light just came on. Right, you’re definitely going to die. But now the other astronaut, who you thought was your friend, just punched you in the stomach. So you’re doubled over in pain, and also about to face imminent doom. Say “cheese.” No, not in English!

Okay, so now we’re going to try something else. You’re blind. You cannot open your eyes no matter how much you try. And now, suddenly, you’re wet. But it’s not water, it’s syrup. Let’s say maple, with a hint of Children’s Tylenol. You’re blind and covered in sticky, slightly medicated syrup — and you have to crawl through the hottest desert on the planet. Get down on your hands and knees, eyes still closed, squirming as the syrup rolls down your cheeks, yes, this is the one your parents are going to order in sixteen different sizes, I can just feel it.

Shake it off, shake it off, just a couple more. Your grandma just died. No, not really, though, maybe, what do I know — she’s old, right? Okay, she’s dead, and you just ate a gerbil, fur and all. It’s trying to climb back up your throat but you’re forcing it down, with all the strength you have— oh no, the gerbil’s winning, he just found your gag reflex, you’re vomiting a live gerbil back up — and your grandma is definitely dead. Give me your best smile. Great.

Now for the class photo, I just need everyone to act like their faces are on fire. More, more fire, lots more fire. Bingo — that’s a winner. Thanks for your cooperation. Let me just roll up my screen with the fake picture of a laser light show and I’ll let you get back to whatever it is you do all day. You can order three wallet-size prints for $50 via fax. Expect a form in the mail in six to eight months because it’s still 1984 in my industry.

Click, yep, just took one more shot, and that’s definitely one for the Christmas card. Well done, champs!