The Atlantic

When Picture-Day Combs Don't Actually Comb

How differences fundamentally shape even our smallest rituals
Source: Katie Martin / Emily Jan / The Atlantic

Like Sunday school and Friday night football games, Picture Days are rituals in the South. I went to a lot of different schools in different cities and towns, and had to memorize new customs, traditions, mascots, and slogans at each one, but the anchors that made the experience of school cohesive were the days we did the duck-walk to school in uncreased penny loafers to spend 30 seconds in front of a camera and get envelopes full of our faces three weeks later.

Picture Days are theater and pageantry, one of the small ways we

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