Saturday, November 17, 2007

I wonder why we were all so serious

If you look at our yearbook pictures, one thing you will see is that very few of us were smiling.

Maybe it was because we were such serious people, but I doubt it. I have a feeling it was probably that we knew these were our senior pictures and they were the ones that would be sent out with our college applications.

I know that's how my mother got me to cut my hair shorter than it had been since eighth grade. She reminded me these pictures would be sent to my grandparents, which turned out to be a real mixed blessing.

For the next 15 years, whenever I would visit my grandparents, my grandfather always pointed to this picture on top of his television and said, "We liked it when your hair was like that."

Now I was never Arlo Guthrie or Abbie Hoffman, but I couldn't tell him that my hair was actually never like that -- except the day they took that picture.

Still, I wish I had thought to at least smile.


Dale Morgan said...

I didn't smile in my picture because my teeth were a little crooked. Still don't much for the same reason.

Anonymous said...

Mike--I think our apparent seriousness (among the guys, anyway)had a couple of sources. First, we were more serious than our successors. I think we saw ourselves aspiring to adulthood that we we associated with keeping emotions in check. Our role models, our fathers who had lived through Depression and fought WW2 and Korea were, by and large, pretty serious people. I think we also had a greater degree of dignity than our younger brothers and sisters later came to exhibit. And of course the "cool" factor enters it as well. Think of our cultural icons like Steve McQueen or Bob Dylan -- an ironic smirk, maybe, but never a toothy grin. Of course this is not to say that even, or especially, the most tightly wound among us could be complete, goofy fools when "unwinding."