Awkwardfamilyphotos.com (much like poepleofwallmart.com) is a site for snarking and mockery. Generally it highlights horribly ridiculous family photos sporting ridiculous haircuts, poses and clothing from yesteryear (or in this case more recent times). As opposed to peopleofwallmart.com, most of us can relate to the people in the pictures at awkwardfamilyphotos.com. After all, we’ve all got in our history embarrassing bowl-cut photos from childhood, unnaturally cheesy senior portraits in heinous rayon shirts and knit ties, or uncomfortable family photos posed to make everyone look like they’re sitting on a bicycle without a seat. My friend was all too happy to point out the similarities between the picture she found and the one I recently posted on facebook:
“But where are your fancy costumes?” she asked.
“That’s a line I just won’t cross” was my reply.
As I raise my kids, passing on my geek-values and culture, one of the most crucial lesions I can teach them is where that line lies between “obsessed” and “thoroughly pathetic”. Everyone has to decide where that line is for themselves, and goodness knows I can appreciate well-crafted cosplay (that’s short for costume play for you un-dork-dads out there). But passing on my level of dork-ness will put my kids very dangerously close to the red-zone, so it is all the more important that I make a clear distinction where the boundary lies. For me personally, the boundary is the difference between my picture and the one my friend passed on to me this morning. I want my kids to be well-versed and proud of their dork-culture, but I also want them to relate to main-stream society.
When my staff at work fondly passes along to our patients how nerdy I am (as they are more than happy to do) I am quick to point out that yes, I have been to a Star Trek convention; but no, I do not speak Klingon and I have never gone in costume or glued on pointy rubber ears.
If that’s your thing, great – let your nerd flag fly. But for me, that’s where I draw the line.