The Actual Process of School Pictures

One-two-three-smile!  Four-twenty-five-hike! Seven-eight-nine-cannibalism! Of these three phrases, which would you rather be hearing? Personally, I’d rather be tackled by a 458lb linebacker or stuck in a room with a sociopathic number than be at school pictures.

To start, school pictures take place at school registration, so you’ve already got a bunch of bad things, including long lines, many fines, and – something else rhyming and unpleasant, um, let’s go with – intrusive-species vines.

But, to add to that, there is the whole process behind school pictures that is poorly thought out.

The Forms

In today’s society, nobody is who they say they are, especially if they are on TV or their name is Smith.  Thus, you can’t get your picture taken unless you fill out a form.  Thankfully, though, the only identification needed on the form is filled out by yourself, so you can make up whatever you want.

However, you also need to purchase pictures.  That’s the optimal business model, in my opinion: convincing the school to use your company and then making additional profit.

Regardless, you will have many options.  In your first category, you’ve got the ‘retouching’ options, which can all be done in Photoshop but will nevertheless cost you at least $324.

Then you’ve got your picture packages, which allow you to decide at what size you think your head is and order pictures of that size (sizes range from wallet photo to 17×13); if you are rolling in money, though, you can just buy the ‘every size sampler package’ for $32,299.99.

Finally, you’ve got your background color choices, which, by business regulations, all have to be colors that you’ve either never heard of or are at least 8 letters long.  Average choices include: cerulean, aquamarine, sapphire, amethyst, puce, doctor’s-office-pea-lime-mold, and absence of pigment (gray).

The (Fourth) Line:

If you were here for the school registration, you know that this will be the fourth line you will wait in.

This line is incredibly stressful, due to the mirrors, free combs, and parent volunteers whose only job is to make sure you don’t actually benefit from the mirrors or combs (using a pre-written and approved script of about four lines).

Here’s how it usually goes:

Parent Volunteer: Do you have your form filled out?

You: Yeah.  [Pick up comb and muscle way into mirror].

Parent Volunteer: Hey! Don’t push!

You: Sorry [Somebody else catches you off guard, pushes in front of mirror.  You try to comb your hair in a window.]

Parent Volunteer: Here, let me help [Styles your hair into a 1980’s trend].

You: Um, no thanks [try to fix hair].

Parent Volunteer: Make sure you don’t put that comb back in the box.

You: [Momentarily distracted] Okay. [Go back to combing hair].

Parent Volunteer: Do you have your form filled out? [You don’t answer]. DO YOU? [Grabs and shakes you, messing up hair].

You: [Trying to escape] Yes!  I Do! [Push away, go back to combing].

Parent Volunteer: Hey! Don’t push! [You ignore parent volunteer].  Here, let me help!

You: No! Don’t! I’ll put the comb back in the box! [Dangle comb threateningly over plastic box].

Parent Volunteer: Make sure you don’t put that comb back in the box!

You: I’ll do it! Or you’d better let me comb my hair!

Parent Volunteer: Well, do you have your form filled out?

You: [Give up] No, I never filled out my form! [Break down into tears, grabbing kid next to you for support].  *Sob*.

Parent Volunteer: Hey, don’t push!

You: [Momentary resolve] That’s it.  [Take comb, drop in box, and walk back to front of line].

Parent Volunteer: NOOOOO! [Dives into comb box, impaling self on plastic combs.  Arises with a fistful of combs, and many others are stuck in clothes, hair, etc.  Runs, wild-eyed, out of scene, shouting:] MAKE SURE YOU DON”T PUT THAT COMB BACK IN THE BOX!

As you can see, it’s no wonder that many teenagers find picture day to be stressful.

The Posing

Once you make it to the front of the line, you will be met by photo assistants (three levels above parent volunteers), who will ask you to sit on some dangerously stacked crates.

If you look down, you will see tape on the ground, which is where you should place your feet.  Your feet won’t be in the picture, nor will your legs or lower torso, but it gives the photographer a feeling of power.

To further that illusion of ultimate control, you will be told to turn your chin (“a little more”) until you’re feet are on your left and your chin is on your right.  Here the thinking is that the skin on your face will be stretched so tight that it will be physically impossible not to smile.

If you are lucky, they will take the photo before a parent volunteer shows up to see what’s holding up the line, and who will also offer free combs to the photographer.

The Student ID

When you finish with your photo, you will receive a freshly-printed card with your photo, name, and number on it.  Your card will also have a bar code, telling you the resale value.

You can use this student ID to check out library books (which you will forget to return and consequently rack up enormous fines), buy lunch (which will likely give you a digestive disease scientifically known as “I’m not feeling too w-BLAAARGHGHGHH”), or pick simple locks.  It doesn’t really matter, though, as you will likely lose your student ID before the end of the day.

Picture-Pick-up Day

After seven months, you will receive your picture envelope.  Even though much of the envelope is solid, your embarrassing picture will be visible through a plastic window.

This leads to the spread of the contagious disease known as “You show me yours and I’ll show you mine-Hahahaha! That’s your picture? You look like a Wildebeest!” or YSMYAISYMHTYPYLLAW, for short, as it is known in the medical community.

It is impossible to escape this embarrassment, no matter how hard you try to pretend that the big white envelope sticking out of your backpack is just your lunch, so I’d recommend trying to convince your parents to pay for overnight delivery instead (only $45,620 more and will arrive in 9-37 days).

Learning To Drive: The Average Teenage Driving Lesson

Car ExplosionSociety loves status symbols.  That’s the whole reason we have huge SUV’s that each use a Middle Eastern country’s supply of oil just to get out of the gas station driveway.  So it’s not surprising that as soon as teens turn 15 (or younger, for some rural states.  The reasoning here is that the state’s population is so small that it would be impossible for a driver to find someone to hit with a car) they want a driving permit.

Then, of course, come the driving lessons.  The parents of the teen administer these, unless the parents find someone who owns a full set of football pads and helmet and is a responsible driver.  Since these people don’t exist, the parent gives the driving lesson.  From my limited experience, the average driving lesson goes something like this:

Start of Driving Lesson

Setting: an abandoned parking lot.  No other cars, a few lampposts and decorative shrubs.  Overcast.  58 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wind is 5 mph North-Northeast.  The parking lot is approximately at Latitude 45 and Longitude 56.  About 42.7483 feet from the left back car tire is a small pothole .29384 inch deep.

Parent: Seatbelt first.  Then overhead mirror.

Teen: [Gung-ho] Seat-belt. Good.  Mirror [With a sound reminiscent of fingernails-on-chalkboard, mirror breaks off in Teen’s hands.  Teen tosses it in back.]

Parent: Um, that’s fine.  Good. Alright, first put the key in lock, and turn it all the way.  Good.  Now put your foot on the brake and lift up the parking break.

Teen: [With a gut-wrenching shriek, the parking brake breaks off in Teen’s hand] Like that?

Parent: [Getting slightly nervous, but trying to hide it] Sure, that works.  Now you can shift into ‘D’, as in ‘Drive’.

Teen: It’s stuck.

Parent: You have to push in the button on the back, first [slightly more agitated].

Teen: Oh, I see it.  [With a sound akin to that of cutting firewood, the shift comes off in Teen’s hand.  Teen tosses it in the back, next to the parking brake handle and mirror].

Parent: AAAAAH! I mean-quick, put your foot on the brake. [Car had moved 3 inches forward].

Teen: Okay, okay, geez! [Teen accidentally hits the gas; car shoots forward into nearby lamppost, leaving it sitting at a 78.634 degree angle west-west-southwest].

Parent: [Taking deep breaths] Okay, it’s alright. Look, figure out which is the break.  Got it? Now, go around the lamppost.  Good, good.  See if you can make a turn-first put the turn signal on.

Teen: [Hits windshield wipers instead] Ooops… [Then acts surprised and happy that the windshield wiper stick did not break off in Teen’s hands].

Parent: [Points to turn signal] That control. Good.

Teen: Oh, right.  [Pushes up turn signal.  It breaks off in Teen’s hand with a noise similar to that of a paper shredder.  Ends up in the back with the growing pile of controls].

Parent: [After turn is completed successfully].  Good job.  Good.  Okay, see that exit from the parking lot? That street looks pretty deserted, aside from the young children playing in the road with their backs to oncoming cars, the pick-up basketball game, the moving van, the block party, and the sewer crew-oh, and the Rolls Royce on the corner.  Try there.

Teen: [Intensely dramatic silence as teen maneuvers to the exit].  Okay.

Parent: Good.  Now stop and look both ways.  Good, okay, now pull out into street.  Great. You can go a little faster if you want.

Teen: [Still concentrating, hits the gas] Whoa.

Parent: Forget I said that-slow down [Catches breath, as Teen veers over the yellow line in the road].  Stay on your side of the road [Firmly].

Teen: Sorry.  [Checks side-mirror, sees a bus coming from behind].  Uhm, there’s a bus behind me.

Parent: [Practically faints] Pull off the road, now.

Teen: [Speeds into, predictably, a mailbox].  Oh, wow.  This is clichéd.

Parent: What?

Teen: Nothing.  Oh, crap, the bus is still coming.

Parent: Well, move!

Teen: [Hits gas, but car is stuck on curb] Uh…

Parent: Try reverse.

Teen: [Grappling with missing control] Okay.  [It works] Thank God.

Parent: Good.  You are doing great.  Watch out for the bus-!

Teen: [Hits bus as 15.328 mph, severely denting the front].  Crap. [Changes to drive] There we go.

Parent: [Turned around, looking at the bus] Look, that’s all right, it happens to me all the time. Pull over; we have to deal with this.

Teen: [Picking up speed] It’s okay, I don’t think he got our license plate.  If he did I know a friend who can stea-uh, get us some new ones.

Parent: Just go back to the parking lot. I’ve had enough driving for today.

Teen: [Concentrates, drives back to the parking lot].

Parent: Good.  Great.  Fine.  Okay, get out please.

Teen: Sure. [Teen opens car door, and with something close to the sound of a trash compactor, the driver’s side door comes off.  Teen tries to throw it in the back with the other various parts, but it lodges in the door opening.  Teen becomes frustrated and starts shoving at the stuck car door.  It hits the horn, then the windshield wipers, and then, somehow, the airbags.

Parent, coming around the back of the car to get in on the other side, becomes aware of the damage at this moment.  A mumbled “goo..d…” can be heard as parent faints.  Then, local law enforcement arrives, called in by the concerned sewer crew.  They first ask for Teen’s permit.  Teen accidentally gives them a sample American Express card that says “Your Name Here”, which he kept in his wallet as a status symbol.  Then, teen finds permit.  Eventually, after many group therapy sessions, both Teen and Parent will return to their normal lives].

End of Driving Lesson

As you can see, driving lessons can be relaxing events and great for teen-parent bonding.  The health benefits alone, from lowering blood pressure to the overall calm aura, are well worth the time.  In fact, I recommend that you get out and drive with your parent/teen today, because tomorrow, who knows? The world could run out of gas, save the US Government reserves, which, of course, will be saved for one final Daytona 500.

The Story of the Works Cited Page

Works Cited ExampleIf there’s anything teachers love, it’s apples!  How do you think that classic stereotype got started?  But, seriously, teachers also love citations.  They complement an apple’s flavor nicely.  Or is that peanut butter?  Whatever (this joke didn’t really work).

However, full, complete citations are overkill.  Does it really matter whether I accessed a website on June 30 or June 31?  OF COURSE IT DOES!  After all, there is no June 31.  Regardless, though, it seems as if we need to give too much information about each and every one of our sources.  I mean, Publisher/Sponsor?  Clearly, there must be some reason that a teacher wants of all this information, and I think I have figured it out.

Once upon a time, in a dark and stormy night far, far away, there was a fact.  This fact’s name was Bob.  In the middle of this storm, there was a teacher who asked for a citation when the student used Bob in an essay.  So, because citations hadn’t been fully developed yet (once upon a time, life was better), the student used: (Bob).

But wait! The teacher became angry!  It turns out the student had spelled Bob’s name backwards! To compensate for this mistake, the teacher asked for the page number as well.  Since this was a land far, far away, Bob had no page number, so he gave his social security number.  At first, this helped the teacher to identify Bob.

This did not last long, though.  Soon, the almost-fact, named Wiki Pedia, stole Bob’s social security number and impersonated him.  This meant that the teacher now also needed Bob’s place of origin (where he was published).  Bob thought on it for a while, and then, because he was worried Wiki Pedia would steal his house as well, he lied and said, “New York, New York.”  Bob figured there were enough people in New York, NY, that his claim could never be verified (it wasn’t, and that is still a major birthplace for facts today).

More trouble soon arose, because this land far, far away began to install citizenship measures.  To prove he was a citizen, Bob had to give lots of other information, such as his place of employment and year of birth.  After giving these things as well, Bob was left alone until he peacefully died at the hands of a corrupt corporate scientist doing unbiased research in areas that concerned Bob.  I stole the rights to his life story from this scientist, who was too busy winning a Nobel Prize to notice.

There is the metaphorical story of Bob, the first citation.  Any similarities to real people, places, events, or other things are truly coincidental and do not express the views of this blog as a whole, only at this moment in the vast history of the earth.  So, what can be learned? The publishing location is usually NY, NY.  The date accessed is never June 31.  Most importantly, though, remember to never eat apples and citations.

Note to readers: I apologize for not posting too recently.  This is due to the fact that I have a massive, monstrous post in the works that will be illustrated and is currently over 4,000 words at the halfway point.  Hopefully, you will see this post in a week or two, God willing.