The first thing the Puddinette said to me yesterday morning, well, after she told me to get my shiftless behind out of bed, was that she’d written three checks to the kids’ school, one for each of them. She made a point to tell me so I could make the appropriate notations in the places we keep such things, since maintaining the checkbook is largely my responsibility. Of course, I just realized that gives her a convenient scapegoat (duh, me) if anything were to go amiss, financially. Mental note: find a fall guy in case my investments in those Florida real estate speculation deals with that skittish guy who came to the door last week don’t pan out.
Just kidding, sweetheart. At any rate, when I asked her what the checks were for, she announced that they were for the spring school pictures, as if I was dense for not knowing about it already.
Spring school pictures?
Perhaps I am dense, but don’t school pictures for kids usually get taken care of in the fall? You know, in September, when the little monkeys have recently gotten their Back To School haircuts and parents have sold every drop of plasma they can coax from their blood vessels to pay for Back To School clothes? Didn’t we already re-mortgage the house once this school year to pay for the ridiculously overpriced portrait “packages” that we had to get so that everyone, including the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, Godparents, and I’m pretty sure the water-meter reader guy got the appropriate 8×10, 3×5, 5×7 or wallet-sized head shot of our kids?
Back in my day, pictures were done once a year and were traumatic enough an experience that no one of the parties involved would dare suggest it should be repeated a second time. Your poor mother would do her best to make sure you had a nice, clean, wrinkle-free outfit on, would use her own mom-spit (a wonder of the natural world, and mom’s own version of duct-tape) to plaster down the cowlick on the back of your head, and would send you off to school with admonishments to stay clean, at least until the pictures were done. Then you’d accidentally get chocolate milk all over your face from snack time, and little John Rotten would somehow manage to make you dirty in the crab-walk race, but you won’t know how that happened because you were trying so hard to stay clean. Nonetheless, though, somehow, by the time the picture-taker’s helper handed you your own complimentary “unbreakable” comb that would make one pass through your bangs before being slid into your back pocket to act as an accessory of coolness, you looked like a combination of Pig-Pen and Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. Just in time for some dead-eyed photographer with dreams of gallery openings to give you 0.45 seconds to sit down, settle, and smile before blinding you with a flash bright enough to guide ships by in the fog.
Yes, definitely, this is a process that needs to be repeated twice a year.
I can only assume that school principals* each get a nice complimentary steak dinner every April from the powerful portrait studio lobbyists who want to keep the money wagon rolling. It’s the only reason I can think of that anyone in their right mind would intentionally sign up to organize this business twice.
Then again, I might be a tad cynical.
Now, say cheese.
*Just kidding. No offense intended to school principals everywhere, especially since I’m related to one.