I had a horrifying experience last week. I went back to the future … or the past … or wherever I went.
Actually, I went to my high school reunion, and they made us wear our yearbook photos on our lapels, which is pretty embarrassing for a guy like me who had a full head of black hair in high school and is bald and gray now.
Someone from the alumni department tried to find me in a high school group photo and couldn’t. She finally pointed to the class nerd and asked, “Is that you?” “No,” I responded. “That was the class nerd … I was the assistant nerd.”
As you know, yearbooks can get you into big trouble. I’ve been watching my back ever since that senator whipped out Brett Kavanaugh’s yearbook at his confirmation hearing and started interrogating him. I’m not political so don’t get worked up over this. My personal belief is politics created this country and politics will destroy this country … with a little help from Apple, Amazon, the entertainment industry, big pharma, big oil, social media, recreational drugs and tolls. (Who did I forget?)
I hope no one opens my yearbook or I’m doomed. I might not get that part-time job on the parish council or a loan to buy the ’68 Volkswagen bus with the psychedelic paint job.
Now, I know why I wasn’t elected president of the garden club. They probably saw my yearbook … or my yard. Even though I’m not applying for a job on the Supreme Court, I’m still hiding my yearbook because as Dylan said circa 1968, “If my high school yearbook could be seen, they’d probably put my head in a guillotine.”
There’s no telling what some busybody or FBI agent will read into your old photos, not to mention your handwriting. While I was at LaGuardia waiting for a flight to Chicago, a fellow sat next to me and said he was a bona fide, verified, certified handwriting analyst who solved crimes, paternity suits and adultery cases by analyzing penmanship.
Unfortunately, he persuaded me to scribble my name on a piece of paper so he could examine my handwriting, although now I realize he probably wanted to use my signature to forge checks to pay Stormy Daniels’ legal fees.
He claimed the way I wrote my Js indicated I had sex issues of an indeterminate nature. Next thing I knew, he wanted to see my driver’s license and baby pictures, but I got up and ran toward Sbarro Pizza to seek political asylum.
What troubles me is that he has my name, so he can track down my yearbook and conduct a full-scale investigation to develop a dossier or have me sent for genetic testing with Elizabeth Warren.
Up until now you’ve probably been thinking, this nitwit doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Well, Mr. or Ms. Smarty Pants, I have science to back me up, the same science that gave us DDT, Roundup, trans fats and Jurassic Park. And science has proven yearbooks are a dangerous source of lethal information.
Several studies indicate your yearbook photo can be a predictor of the future and tell whether you’ll end up divorced, die prematurely or make it to the Supreme Court.
Research conducted by DePauw University professor Matthew Hertenstein concluded that people who smiled less in their yearbook photos and snapshots were destined for trouble. “We found that people who smile the least are about five times more likely to obtain a divorce at some point in their lives compared to those who smiled the most,” he said.
I’m doomed, or my wife is doomed, because I wasn’t smiling. I was smirking. Actually, I looked constipated.
A frequently cited study by psychologists at University of California at Berkeley examined yearbook photos and 30 years of personality data. Researchers discovered that women who had beaming smiles at 21 were healthier, happier and better adjusted in their 50s than women who frowned and are destined for a life of misery.
Can you imagine being a finalist for CEO at Goldman Sachs until the HR director says, “You didn’t get the job. Our background check shows you frowning in your yearbook photo.” If you’re young, there’s still hope for you. Just remember to say, “CHEESE!”
Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.