Slim, Perpetual Motion, and the Hellcat have school pictures today, so I’m reposting this piece from September 2010 when Slim was a first grader and Kick Ass Wife and I were just getting indoctrinated as parents into the
racket scam tradition that is school pictures.
Also, I recently did a piece for NickMom called “School Picture Packages in the Real World,” which describes in finer detail the package options available to parents these days.
If you’ve ever wondered what an image of your child would look like tattooed on Adam Levine’s forearm, it’s worth a click. The graphics team really knocked it out of the park on this one. You can go here to check it out.
Have a great Picture Day Friday, everyone. Hoping your hair is extra matted down, your shirt gets a stain on it resembling North America both in shape and surface area, and that you walk around all day with a huge chunk of bacon stuck between your front teeth.
A or B?
So last week Slim brought home his picture packet, which looked only slightly less imposing than an application for a first-time home loan. Thinking that it may be easier to use the company’s website, I jumped online.
It wasn’t. There were actually more options available, which didn’t seem possible.
I remember the whole picture thing being pretty cut-and-dried when we were in grade school. As far as packages, there were two choices:
Package A (Economy): 1 – 8 x 10 / 2 – 5 x 7 / 4 – wallets
Package B (Excess): 8 – 8 x10 / 16 – 5 x 7 / 1200 – wallets
If your parents loved you, they’d pawn off something of value and order B just to make you feel important, even though there was no chance in hell they could possibly give away all those pictures.
You definitely didn’t want to be the only kid in line comparing picture packets whose parents hadn’t selected B. Your family didn’t have enough relatives/friends to send more than two 5 x7’s and a couple of wallets to? Really? Package A may as well have been called “The Leprosy Package.”
On the other hand, Slim’s picture packet had package options A through Q, ranging from the “Mom Washes and Reuses Ziplock Baggies Package” to the “Second Home Mortgage Package,” which includes a bronze bust of your child and a Fathead.
We finally settled on G, the “Equivalent to One Year of Junior College Tuition Package.”
I Think We’ll Go with the Blue Screen
After consulting our financial advisor and making our package choice, we moved on to backgrounds, which was a lot like standing and staring at the paint samples’ display at Home Depot with a glazed look on your face and drool hanging from your lower lip.
There are a dizzying array of backgrounds available online, including 304 color shades with names like “Individual Amazon Rain Forest Leaf in Direct Sunlight Green” and “Three-Day Dead Goldfish Orange.”
Parents can also choose superimposed background scenery like “Cloudy Sky” or “Mountain Range” or “Hurricane Katrina.”
For those families desiring a less-traditional look, background images such as “God’s Glaring Over Your Shoulder and He Looks Pissed,” “Delivery Room: The Money Shot,” or “Prison Cell: You May As Well Get Used to It” are also available.
When we were in elementary school, I remember the background color palette consisting of two pull-down projector screens — blue and gray – and you had no say in which one you’d get.
You just walked over, plopped down on the carpeted box, and picked your nose while the photographer pulled down one of the two screens, basing his decision solely on which would make you look homlier because that was his job.
People are supposed to look like dopes in their elementary pictures. Hell, I’m sure every time my dad took out his wallet-size image of me and showed it to his co-workers they said all the right things — “You have a kid?” – but what they were really thinking was What a homely-looking little turd, which was a serious feather-in-the-cap for the photographer.
That’s why looking back at people’s elementary school pictures is so fun. Everybody looks like a dufus, and we can bond through our dufusness.
Is this a GQ shoot?
Unbelievably, “Retouching” is another option available to parents today.
This has to make your kid feel good. It’s like checking “De-Uglify.”
Plus, I’m thinking that I’ve already paid medical professionals quite handsomely for that Harry-Potter-like scar zig-zagging down my kid’s forehead, so it’d better damn well be in his picture.
Instead of “Retouching,” maybe they should just have an option where they’ll send you photographs of a better-looking kid instead:
“Hey, Dad. We got our pictures back today, but they made a mistake. They gave me someone else’s.”
“No, that’s what we ordered. Just hand ‘em over, Shrek Boy, and get outside. I need to get one of these sent off to your Grandma.”
School pictures. Memories that last a lifetime… if you’re lucky.