Yearbook ad nauseam

I applaud the marketing genius who came up with the idea of selling ads at the back of the yearbook to parents. It’s like the bumper sticker that says “My Student’s an Honor Student at ‘fill in the blank’ School” but so much better in terms of the reflected glory that parents can glean from a yearbook ad.

Instead of just a few impersonal words about the wonderfulness of their son or daughter, yearbook ads give parents (and siblings, and cousins, and grandparents too!) the opportunity to write entire paragraphs gushing with superlatives about their student’s amazing personality accompanied by numerous photos chronicling their achievements in sports, dance, drama and exotic vacations.

Because we did an ad for Jennifer Lynn’s older sister, we felt like she didn’t deserve to miss out on having her moment in the spotlight on page 485 of her yearbook, so she will get an ad too – however hers is downsized (like everything else in our lives) from the half-page that her sister got to a quarter-page.

To prepare for what I was going to say in Jennifer’s ad, I pulled out her yearbook from last year and started reading. Based on what the parents and relatives had to say about their high school senior, I began to think that some of these kids are ready for sainthood – the way the parents describe their children gives the impression that the kids are worthy of worship.

In addition to the ubiquitous “awesome” in the ads, here’s a few of the other things that were written about a graduating student.  Remember as you’re reading these, they are written to describe a teenager and not Mother Teresa, Jesus or Lincoln:

“You amaze me with your brilliance, your compassion and empathy for those in need.”

“There are not enough words to describe how amazing you are, except for one, perfect!”

“You are wise beyond your years. Your future is in good hands – your own.”

Wow, life can only go downhill from here.

I’ll save Jennifer the embarrassment of actually having this appear in her yearbook. But if I were to write an honest message to her, it would be something like this:

Dear Jennifer Lynn,

As the youngest and only child still at home with your AARP parents, you could have made our lives a living hell by being a really obnoxious teenager, but you didn’t. Thank you. You are a pleasure to live with. You even will occasionally go out in public with us even though you might be seen by someone who knows you. You managed to get through high school without any of your sister’s angst and your brother’s rebellion. We’re really grateful that you’re not a spoiled brat and that you didn’t punish us for moving from a spacious house to a somewhat cramped condo in Cotati. Thank you for taking time to explain hash tags and Instagram to me. You have a wonderful sense of humor and an ability to make friends that will probably get you further in life than your college degree. But we know that your hard work will pay off and that you’ll achieve your dream of going to college far, far away from us. We hope that you get a really high paying job and that we live long enough to see you pay off your student loans. We love you!

Mom and Dad

PS You’re going to come back and take care of us, right?


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