We went to my 15-year high school reunion this weekend. Only a small percentage of our class attended, but it was a nice, laid-back event. We had a good dinner and lots of '80s songs. I think a lot of work went into planning it. Personalized M&Ms were involved. I saw several people I haven't seen or heard from in years and a few people I still see or talk to from time to time but should probably see more often.
The organizers had set up a photo display, and we were all invited to send in photos from our school days. I never got around to sending any, but somebody else sent in a wallet-sized print of my seventh grade school photo, and there it was, hanging on the wall. Perhaps I should be touched that this person still had a photo of me after nearly 20 years, but really, for the good of humanity, all copies of this photo should have been burned -- and the ashes buried in an undisclosed location -- in 1987.
This is not a good photo.
You know how there are photos where you, personally, imagine you look bad, but really you look just fine? And other people try to reassure you? Sometimes, even if you still look semi-bad, other people still try to tell a little white lie to reassure you? Nobody could even lie well enough to reassure me. My friend Diane, who I have known since I was about 13, spotted the photo and screamed, "HOLY SH*T!"
This is not a good photo.
The bad part was not my red-and-black-striped '80s sweater. It was not my chipmunk cheeks. I had a fairly decent facial expression, and I'd just gotten my braces off, so things could have been much, much worse, I suppose. What makes this photo so outstanding in the world of Bad School Photos is my hairdo. My awful, awful hairdo.
But Karen, you're thinking, EVERYONE had an awful hairdo in 1987. This is true. But my hairdo was awful EVEN BY 1987 STANDARDS. In the 1980s, perms raged across the land, and nearly every female looked like she was wearing a poodle on her head; however, most females knew how to style a perm the way it was supposed to be styled. These gals looked like they were at least wearing a nice-looking poodle. A frisky, healthy, glossy, well-cared-for poodle. My poodle? This was clearly a down-on-his-luck, hard-drinking, depressed poodle. This was a poodle who had given up on life, overdosed on cocaine, wandered into a pounding rainstorm, died in the gutter, and somehow managed to end up on my head.
I had no idea how to style a perm. And the sad thing is, I'm sure I worked REALLY HARD to achieve this hairdo on Picture Day and was probably pretty proud of how it turned out. I was 12. I was oblivious. Twelve-year-olds should not be entrusted with perms. There should be a waiting period. You should have to pass a test on hair styling before you are allowed to get a perm on your own head.
In the '80s, nobody knew that a perm is a privilege, not a right.
I worry about how this photo may have affected some of the other attendees. I'm pretty sure a few of them went blind instantly; others will probably suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I feel like I need to right this wrong, but probably the only way it can be done is Quantum Leap style. Here's my to-do list for the week:
1. Pay bills.
2. Take WCK to music class.
3. Invent a method of time travel, visit my 12-year-old self, and convince her to stay away from this perm. Perhaps convince her to stay away from cameras altogether until about 1992.
4. Clean out the car.
Looks like I'm swamped.