Cracked Columnists

5 Childhood Traditions That Would Make Adult Life Awesome

#2. First-Day-of-School Pictures


Adorable picture of Tom Reimann

The first day of school wouldn't be complete without mom stopping you on the way to the car, lining you up with your siblings (or, in the absence of siblings, air), and taking your picture. It's the perfect time capsule of the year's fashions, how much you've aged, and, depending on the decade, how high you could pull your shorts up. Midway between the belly button and nipples seems to be the standard for most of the '80s. At least you didn't have to wear a dress and knee socks like some people.

Keystone / Stringer / Hulton Royals / Getty
"Dooooooork."

Long before parents were Facebooking the crap out of their kids' every move, they had the instinct to capture the first day of school each year, even if the beginning of that roll of film was the first day of school and the end of the roll was opening presents on Christmas morning two years later. Don't kid yourself, the first day of school is Christmas to parents. While you're in homeroom, mom and dad are going to stay home from work and have day sex and eat all the ice cream in the house. The first day of school was a very good day for them.

How to Bring It Back

Take more pictures.


Adorable picture of Cyriaque

I know what you're thinking: that no one needs more encouragement than they're already getting in this oversharing world. That you don't need more images of everyone's stupid kids doing their stupid kid stuff and if people would just keep their pictures to themselves you'd be a lot happier. Throughout human history we have never documented so much crap so prodigiously. Grrrrr.

Actually, that's my point, and why I'm telling you now to take more pictures. Throughout human history we have never documented so much so prodigiously, and as a fan of history, I'm thrilled. Let's put it this way: What do you know about your great-grandmother? Was she pretty? What did she like to do for fun? If you could have access to a Facebook photo album from one summer of her life, would you want it? Of course you would. Even if she was the greatest peg-legged prostitute of her generation, her history is your history, and you'd probably love to know more about her. Images do what words and mimes can't do, try as they might: They catch people as they are at that moment. Which wouldn't be a big deal if we all stayed the same forever, like Demi Moore or John Stamos. The rest of us need documentation of who we used to be, before that person is old and fat.

Rick Kern / WireImage / Paul Bergen / Redferns / Getty

Your kids? Good lord, take more pictures of your kids. You won't have enough when they leave you. Plus, those snapshots are your evidence that you tried your best when they inevitably conclude that you failed as a parent along the way. "Are you kidding me? Look through these 700 photo albums of all the good times we had, loser!"

B. Blue / Taxi / Getty
"That's right, turn your back. Don't you dare make those weak sauce parenting accusations to my face."

Also, take those selfies while you can. Ain't no shame in it. You're getting old and won't be cute forever. Your spouse, your neighborhood, your town, your work, your co-workers, your friends, your favorite tree, all of it will change in the years to come. Take the pictures. In the short history of photography, no one has ever said "I've got too many pictures of my precious memories!" And if they did, they had more problems than too many pictures.

#1. Finding Someone to Eat Lunch With

Baerbel Schmidt / Stone / Getty

Chief among the worries plaguing every kid on the first day of school is this: Who will I eat lunch with? It's hard to remember how traumatizing the prospect of a friendless lunch is, because as adults we spend 99 percent of our lunches alone, in silence, probably seeking refuge from whoever is driving you the most crazy that day at work. But think back for a minute. If you haven't been in a middle school cafeteria in a while, the noise is like the roar of a waterfall, but in an echo chamber, and with each drop of water played by Sam Kinison. Cafeterias are the opening acts to hell.

And everyone has someone to sit with. You have to have someone to sit with, because pop culture has taught us that only the weirdos sit by themselves, and half the time, even those guys have a friend or two. Even the kids who shoot up the school have someone to sit with. Sitting alone means you have NO ONE. Which isn't true, obviously. It just means your friends don't have that lunch period, or maybe you're quirky and above it all and don't even care that you're sitting on a sharp rock eating your lunch all by yourself. What more do you need when you've got The Catcher in the Rye and a hat? You're all set.

How to Bring It Back

Once you're an adult, find a clique and stick with it.

And by "clique," I mean "friends," and by "stick with it," I mean "Just be a good, loyal friend." Especially to your work friends. This is a crazy thing to imagine when you're young and hot and all up on that text lingo, but once you're a grown-up, those work friends might end up being your only friends that you talk to every day, despite what Friends the sitcom taught you about having adult friends. Once you've got a family and a house and countless crocheting projects to keep up with, you're not going to have time for a Carrie, Samantha, Whoever, and That Other One. So your co-workers become your Carrie, Samantha, Whoever, and That Other One, even if they're boys and they don't know it.


Future Samantha?

I'm lucky, because my work friends are probably cooler and smarter and funnier than yours. For example, my very first work friend from Cracked was this goofball.


That's right. The one and only Alice Cooper. I'm way older than I look.

Fellow editor and columnist Adam Tod Brown and I joined the Cracked Writers Workshop the same weekend six years ago and we've been buddies ever since. He got me my first freelance writing jobs and I laughed uncomfortably hard when I got to see his stand-up act in person. That's reciprocity, baby. And you don't get it by sitting alone like a weirdo every day. So when you grow up, make some friends. Stick to them. Chances are they're not going to be nearly as awful as the kids you went to high school with, anyway.


For more from Kristi, follow her Twitter feed. And big thanks to Cracked editors Cyriaque Lamar, Tom Reimann, Soren Bowie, and Adam Brown for sharing their adorable pictures.

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