Saturday, August 29, 2009


Recently one of our family heirlooms made it out of a dusty drawer and onto the web. Back when I was in high school our family had a professional portrait session that produced some less-than-flattering results. I submitted one of the shots to the delightful Awkward Family Photos site. It was posted, and our inadvertent family treasure was available to be admired and mocked by the great multitudes.

I assumed this was the end of the awkward saga, until a few weeks ago when I was informed that Awkward Family Photos (AFP) was making a book. Would we like to be in their very special, very Awkward Family Photo album? Yes! We would. Well, some of us would. My dad, as it turned out, would not. Much arm-twisting ensued. We teamed up, worked in shifts, and pulled in in-laws for support. He suggested that flaunting our moment of awkwardness was undignified. We responded by unloading with every tale of his indignities we could recall.

Really, what's the big deal? What's the worst that could happen? We prevailed. Release forms were signed. I assumed this was the end of the awkward saga.

Last Wednesday I received this email...
from afp <>
to Ben Swainbank <>
date Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 3:01 PM
subject awkward family

Hey Ben,

I wanted to let you know that the Rachael Ray Show is doing a segment on awkward family photos next week and the producers of the show love your family photo. They're interested in talking to you about the picture and possibly having you appear on the segment with Mike and I and I wanted to see if this is something you would be interested in. If not, we totally understand but just wanted to reach out to you.If you are interested, I'll put you in contact with the producer. Let me know what you

My national television debut! I had visions of airplanes, and wardrobe assistants, and green rooms. It did occur to me that my claim to fame was looking particularly dorky in a particularly dorky old photo. Whatever. I could work with it. "Well, Rachael, actually it's a good thing I was posed behind the couch. If I hadn't been, you would be able to see that my pants were way to short."

I never did hear from the producer. I won't be Rachael Ray this week. If you see my dad, just tell him I turned them down. It's more dignified.

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