How Many Words Is A School Picture Worth?


Labor Day has come and gone and now summer is unofficially, officially over.  Most kids have been in school for a couple of weeks and are trying to get settled into the new routines.  A new school year brings so many great opportunities:  new classes, new teachers, new friends, new challenges.  However, a new school year also brings new school pictures.

At first that may not seem like a big deal.  Well, yes, it really is kind of a big deal.  If you think about it, a school picture is a permanent record of how cool, or usually in my case, how dorky you were each year.  

In my early elementary school years, “Picture Day” was a time that all the moms found something nice for their children to wear and sent them off to school where we were marched one class at a time into the gymnasium where we got to stand on risers with our teacher on one end and the principal on the other end to have our picture taken as a class.   The great thing about these black and white class pictures was that one was able to kind of blend in with all the other kids so that no one really stood out.  There was always going to be a couple of kids with their eyes closed, a couple of kids with an odd expression, and a couple of kids whose mother forgot it was picture day and forgot to dress accordingly.  The point being there were always enough “bad” pictures in the class picture that no one kid stood out.

However, during my middle school years, there were two ominous developments related to school pictures.  First, the pictures would now be in color and second, and more disastrous, everyone would have their picture taken individually. While both of these may sound like a good idea, remember I was in those middle school years where even the coolest kid, which I was not, looks kind of dorky.  

Now there was no place for me to blend in or hide, just me and the camera and the results were not pretty.  To illustrate my point, the picture above is what I consider to be one of the worst school pictures I ever had.   This picture is a “permanent record” of several things.  First, not once in my life was my hair “cool.”  Second, I  will finally admit that glasses always made me a look a bit nerdy.  Third, I have realized that I never had a “fashion sense” (an accountant can play it pretty safe by just sticking with white shirts). They say a picture is work a thousand words, I would say this picture is worth a lot less than a thousand words.  I think two words: “nerd” and “dork” come to mind.  Along with two questions: 1) Who bought that shirt? and 2) If my Mother loved me, why would she ever let me out of the house wearing that shirt?

Perhaps you never gave school pictures a second thought, just wait a few decades and you will.


6 thoughts on “How Many Words Is A School Picture Worth?

  1. J.L.

    This entry is your best yet. That’s all there is to it.

    As for myself, all I can say is that my photos always looked like me.

    Darn it.


  2. bobelou

    Leonard, you are being way to hard on yourself and your mother. I am sure, if I could get all the class you were in together, and looked at all their pictures taken at the same time with the same camera, I would find there were at least 2 or 3 more dorky looking than you. If I put this class together and asked them about their own picture, they would say they were nerdier or dorkier looking than you. I find the picture I see at the top of your treatise, to look enough like you that I could recognize you. Hecks fire that is what a picture is supposed to do. That Dorky looking little kid turned in to a very great man right before my eyes. I am proud to know you either then or now. Bob


  3. J.L.

    And I forgot to mention something:

    Always remember what Leonard of “The Big Bang Theory” had to say about his name: “It has ‘nerd’ in it.”

    We nerds must embrace our nerdness and wear it proudly.


  4. J.L.

    When I first saw your photo, I knew that you looked like someone I know.
    It finally hit me last night.
    You were the middle school doppelganger of Ray Manzarek.



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