The second to last strange thing for this April adventure is yearbooks.
I don’t know how ubiquitous yearbooks are in other countries, but most folks in the US had an option to get one every single year they were in school from kindergarten all the way up through college.
Don’t get me wrong, yearbooks are fascinating, and I still have all of mine, but they still strike me as being fairly strange. The strangeness comes from the uniform nature of them. Yes, there might be a section of candid shots, or pages that were purchased by seniors or groups or whoever to print whatever they like within the guidelines the school sets, but they’re largely a catalog of photographs from one day in that school year.
I speak from experience when I say that yearbook photos can be some of the worst you ever take. I think I took about four in twelve years that I wouldn’t care if anyone saw. And I’m not the only one in that boat.
Plus, there are pictures of everyone in the school. Unless you go to an insanely small school, odds are you don’t even know half the people. The book is a broad stroke design so that it can be given to everyone.
Then there’s the signing ritual. You have to ask your friends to sign yours and what if they don’t ask you to wign theirs? Does that mean you aren’t friends? I think as a child I actually thought yearbook signing events in the gym were a torture designed by the popular teachers and students to torment the rest of us. They probably weren’t as malicious as my elementary and middle-school self thought, but those assemblies still hurt every year.
So yeah, I think yearbooks are strange. I think the rituals surrounding them are strange. I think the silly superlatives they give to seniors (or whatever they called the highest grade in the school) are strange.
That doesn’t make it any less fun to leaf through an old yearbook to see who signed it, who’s face was scratched out or stared or even given a heart, or what I looked like each year. The reminiscing value is high with yearbooks, but nostalgia is a bit of a strange thing too.
Do you still have all your old yearbooks? Are there pictures in them you hate? Ever win one of those superlatives? And did it come true?