Buried in the basement, brass-framed in the family room, you’ve got a dusty 8×10 gem of a bad school photo featuring a bad school photo trend:
• That laser background. Remember when the studio hired an acid junkie to paint that pink and blue laser background for a couple years? There you were buck-tooth smiling in front of the light bright abyss. Kids, this is what we thought the future looked like.
• Old school trendy hairstyle. Whether you got the Nike swoosh carved in the back of your buzz cut, rocked a mushroom with a middle part, or had a wispy rat tail down to your shoulders, the point is you were at on top of the sixth grade social circle. And who knows: maybe crimped bangs, sideburn steps, or glittery headbands will come back one day. They could be huge.
• Forgot it was photo day. This is the kid with the sideways bedhead, black eye from a playground dust up, or simply a thin fraying T-shirt with a classy ketchup stain crusted across the collar.
• Posing with props. In addition to teddy bears or keyboards, there was always the picture of the new grad smiling a big gummy smile holding a rolled-up diploma beside their head like a freshly caught trout. In case you couldn’t tell by the black robe, square paper hat, or encyclopedia bookcase background, someone just got their last biology credit.
• Braces smiles. You could always tell who had braces because their smile was an awkwardly forced, big-dimpled, tight-lipped beauty. Personally, I was always jealous of these kids since their physical deformity was easier to hide than a bumpy forehead full of bright red zits or a set of thick, Coke-bottle glasses. Hypothetically, I mean.
• Too dressed up for photo day photo. This is the boy who’s mom dressed him up with a brand new haircut, classy sweater vest, and crisp red bowtie. Or it’s the girl with perfectly braided hair, a frilly pink dress, and knee high socks. These pictures are especially hilarious when the kid looks really angry or accidentally blinks.
Yes, there’s something sweet about pulling out old school photos and sharing a laugh with the you of yesterday. Because between those chubby cheeks, side ponytails, and low hairlines is a blurry, faded version of the person you are today… in a tiny split-second moment of growing up…