The Funny Thing about Old Goofy Pictures of Ourselves

Old pictures are funny.  But that means current pictures may eventually become funny too.


No matter who you are, you didn’t look cool in 1992.  That was a brutal year was for clothing fashion and hairstyles:  Both male and female mullets, pale blue jeans, neon and/or gold accessories.  It was just atrocious.  But at the time, people didn’t necessarily realize how laughable they truly looked.  (I was aware, but that was also the year I started Junior High, so by default I felt especially awkward.)

But 1992 isn’t the only year where if we look back through our old snapshots, we’d see an embarrassing version of not only ourselves but also of each other.  The general rule is that pictures of ourselves from at least ten years ago are definitely going to be funny.  I remember clearly thinking in 1995 (freshman year of high school), “There is nothing about right now that I will be able to come back and laugh at in the future.”  But while I was thinking that to myself, I was wearing a hooded flannel shirt with Airwalks and my hair was parted down the middle like Sean from Boy Meets World.  Though I was probably trying to look more like Corey’s older Eric at the time.

Of course it’s not just outdated fashion that makes these old snapshots so goofy.  Physically, were we most likely a bit different back then, too.  A while back, a guy from work brought in a picture of himself from the mid ‘90’s when he was about 50 pounds lighter and still had hair (and his hair was still brown).  It was interesting to watch people’s reactions as he showed the picture to people individually.  What was the best response?  “Wow, look at that stud!”  Or laugh and say, “That was you?  You looked funny back then.”  Either way, it’s a weird situation to be put in.

And that brings me to this point: Ten years from now, there’s a good chance that we will laugh at pictures of ourselves from the year 2010; despite how normal-looking and not funny-looking we think we look now.  So in one sense, we can never really look normal.  It’s funny how in an attempt to appear to be modern, we inevitably set ourselves up to be outdated.


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Humble and Embarrassing Beginnings: Five Years of the Writings of Nick Shell

An autobiographic look at the Scenic Route Snapshots franchise.

Scenic Route Snapshots: Est. August 2005.

When people show you a picture of themselves from five or more years ago, the tendency is often to laugh at their longer/froey hair and outdated clothing and say, “That was you?” Because ultimately that younger, less experienced version of a person was more naïve and goofier than the version of that person we know today.  Of course, it’s no different for each of us.  We too have many laughable aspects about ourselves when we look back on them, five or more years later.

This month makes exactly five years that I’ve been writing online.  In August 2005 I was in the process of moving from Fort Payne, AL (having just graduated from Liberty University a few months before) to Nashville, TN to start my career in music (which I decided wasn’t what I really wanted to do, after a year of being here).  I starting writing MySpace blogs as a way to document new life pursuing a career in music.  It’s not that my writings were all horrible those first couple of years; looking back, I can actually see some jewels in the gravels.  But for the most part, they were pretty cheesy, not to mention they were all about me and “making my dreams a reality”.

Obviously it was those early years in particular that helped me realize ways to improve my writing, eventually giving birth to The Code.  That means my older writings consistently violated The Code and I’m sure that’s part of the main reason it’s so difficult for me to go back and read them.  But anyone who has ever been successful in any kind of enterprise surely endured the same sort of sloppy early years as well.

Yes, that generic version of what we know as good and relevant was probably not always good and relevant.  Like the episodes of Saved by the Bell with Miss Bliss or the Tracey Ullman version of The Simpsons or the British version of The Office.  Sure, hardcore fans will always approve, but the rest of us know to stay away, lest we become disappointed and somehow allow our idea of a pure thing to become tainted.

And the still, the irony of this whole concept will surely prove itself that much more five years from now, when I use this post as a point of reference to show the place in time where Scenic Route Snapshots really started taking off.  The point where 1,934 were my highest views in one day (happened this week) instead of that being a slow day.  The point where I could admit that humble beginnings were over for Scenic Route Snapshots, yet the big break had not happened yet.

What started in August of 2005 as a goofy blog that just a handful of my friends read has evolved into an actual website that currently receives around 1,000 hits per day.  I sure don’t know where the future of Scenic Route Snapshots is going, but as long as I can still claim to be a writer who never experiences writer’s block, the posts will keep being born.

Bonus!

Read my very first “blog” from August 16, 2005, entitled “I Choose to Be a Fatalist” at the bottom of the page at this link:

http://www.myspace.com/nickshell1983/blog?page=13

It was this 2005 version of me that laid the ground work to get me where I am today.