I’m not always up on all the hot trends, so I just heard about an internet thing still making the rounds.
You find an old snapshot of you and your siblings as kids – the more adorable or awkward the better – and remake it as precisely as possible: the same pose, facial expression, clothes, etc. Then you post the old and new photos side by side on Facebook, Instagram or other social media.
My sister excitedly told me about it over lunch last weekend, and she already has a black-and-white family photo picked out.
I’m 2 or 3, I’m splayed out on a sofa and I’m pouting big time, nearly in tears. I only have fuzzy memories of before I was 4, so there could be an entirely innocent explanation. And I’m not accusing my sister of threatening to set me on fire. But she’s sitting above me holding a box of matches and she’s laughing gleefully. That glint in her eye looks a little evil to me.
Sibling photo re-creations are apparently this year’s mannequin challenge, an internet sensation late last year. Do a Google search and some are kinda boring family portraits. More than a few are an older sibling holding a baby, who is now much bigger as an adult. Some show siblings all snuggled under the covers, or taking G-rated baths, eating ice cream, or all dressed up for Halloween.
One of my favorites is a brother and sister buried up to their heads in sand. Another is of four sisters from Australia with their dog Tigger, just a puppy in the original photo, and about to be put to sleep in the remake, 15 years later.
We live in an exhibitionist America. It’s mortifying what people are willing to put out there for everyone to see. So compared to a lot of what’s online, these sibling photos are tame, even corny.
Yet many of us have complicated, competitive relationships with our brothers and sisters. You have to get along as adults to pull this off, especially if the childhood photo is somewhat embarrassing – like mine.
My sister may be able to sweet-talk me into posing for our remake – if our cousins do them as well so they can all appear on a photo calendar my sister sends out for the holidays.
But I’m not sure I would post the re-created photo for public display. There’s only so much humiliation a grown man can take.