*By Devon Tuncknell
As a teenage punk, my family once had me pose with them for a Christmas photo while wearing my studded leather jacket and fully spiked mohawk. They, of course, were wearing traditional colonial pilgrim costumes. I wish I were kidding.
This means that when I browse through the cringe inducing galleries of AwkwardFamilyPhotos, I’m not just peering into the lives of strangers as some passive voyeur. I am sympathizing as a fellow survivor of the boot camp of embarrassment we commonly call “family.” And thanks to the miracle of the Internet, these lasting tokens of unintentional trauma, and perhaps purposefully sadistic photographers, are now available for the whole world to browse and shake their heads in disbelief at.
Of course, underneath all the awful eighties fashion choices and poorly conceived pregnancy poses is a vein of unadulterated Americana purer than anything you’ll find outside of Dollywood. Sure, the rest of the world does dumb shit too, but only in America (and maybe Canada) is there this pervading notion that once you have a family, you can just quit worrying about being cool.