Friday, September 26, 2014

Hold it...!

There is no day on the school calendar quite so terrifying as School Photo Day.

We don't realize it when we're young, but the business of sitting down each and every child aged between 4 and 18 for a mugshot that documents their progress through what we like to call an American "education" is a huge big business.  The companies who run this enterprise have an income larger than Oprah's, and all their executives live like oil sultans, because all across the nation, moms and dads will break their necks to shell out hundreds of bucks for 12 x 14s, 9 x 11s, 8 x 10s, and 5 x 7s.  They even purchase "wallet" sized photos of little Marmaduke and Mercedes to tote around in wallets that contain little else but those pictures, once the pictures are paid for.
Front and center, that's Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling waving his middle finger, school photo, 1961.  

Possibly the first ever school "photos"
As in, "Kid Rock" Ritchie
As I remember School Photo Day from my days at school (See my companion autobiographical sketch, "What I Learned During the Fillmore Administration") we were supposed to dress in ties and sports coats and remain so attired all day until the moment when we were called down to the cafeteria to perch before the lens of a photographer, a man who once dreamed of doing glamour shots of Lauren Bacall and now spent his days with squirming children. Kid after kid plopped down on the school stool, forced to twist into poses so unlifelike as to resemble those old hieroglyphic poses, as shown here by erstwhile Michigan high schooler Robert K. R. Ritchie.

And then, once the individual embarrassments were taken care of, the entire class would troop in to pose for a picture that will haunt many of them over 50 years later.  I hope that the men and women who spend their days taking pictures of schoolkids also spend their nights unwinding majestically.  They surely deserve to!
Spot me - win cash prize*
Hampton Elementary School, 1958 (AD)

* Cash prize available only to residents of Bozeman, Montana.  Use only as directed. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal.  Member FDIC.

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