ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Some Kind of Sixteen —

Unlike some schools, my high school allowed students wide berth in what they could put into yearbook photos and had a scattershot staff who could travel as needed to take your photo. I wanted my photo in my room (which I spent a lot of time in) and surrounded by items of mine. A series of photos were taken in both halves of my room, and the second half was used, the one with my BBS in it. (Yes, my BBS is in my senior yearbook photo). This is the other photo, recovered from the original negatives. It is 1987. I am 16 years old.

The linked-to larger image is probably better if you wish to study it closely (or print it out for your wall?) but in summary, I was deep into a couple pop culture items, a few things related to phone phreaking, and non-sequitir.

I am holding a dustbuster because in every single photo I posed to related to my yearbook, I have a dustbuster. I ended up being 4 posed photos in the yearbook, all carrying this dustbuster.

The payphone once made the mistake of not being attached to a wall very well. Same with the highway flashers (both of them) who were insufficient in their attachment to local highway construction sites to overcome an onslaught of teenaged energy. (They were not in service of warning people when they were liberated; so no concerns there, please.) Howard Stern articles and hacking articles are on the left of the photo on the door, and my wood-panelled room had a variety of other strange items, ranging from references to Max Headroom, Pink Floyd, Steve Martin, and even the original cool Maxell poster, which shines brightly from the flash of Rachel Lovinger’s camera.

When this photo was recovered, I was delighted at how clear the image was, how for better or worse it captured this time for me, deep in the time I was involved in BBSes, in being a teenager, in experiencing a life that I continue to mine for stories and references. I’m confident enough to be weird, but humble enough to look like I’m not quite sure what’s coming next. It is a wonderful picture for me to look at. I look forward to sharing more.

Categorised as: jason his own self

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  1. Will Schenk says:

    …and of course, even then you managed to get a guitar in the shot.

  2. Grimmtooth says:

    If I’m not mistaken, that’s the cover for Radio K.A.O.S., by Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, so I guess that counts.

    Apropos of nothing; at that time I was deployed to the Persian Gulf; depending on when this was taken, it was very close to when the Stark was inadvertently attacked by an Exocet missile from Iraq. Photographically speaking, some of the images of the Stark that you might have seen were taken by me and my shipmates as we closed in to render assistance.

    I had yet to indulge my fascination with the BBS scene, but it was coming. My C64 was about to die, I would replace it with an Amiga, and my first BBS software encounter – Atredes – was just around the corner.

  3. Erin says:

    Great post. Whenever I see photos of people, I love to look at their surroundings.

    One thing that stood out to me: you have a Figment hat (top left corner). I had that same hat as a kid.

    Looking forward to seeing more…

  4. Chuck Farley says:

    Nice beige box… Mine was just a moded phone, but yours the posh lineman’s handset.

  5. Chris says:

    Same here, nice lineman’s set. I also built a few of my own from those $5 throwaway telephones that you could buy at Kmart or Caldor.

    Ah, to be 16 again. I’d like to be 16 again in 1982 , but this time with a copy of Biff’s sports almanac so that I could do a little wagering.

  6. robohara says:

    As a kid I never had an official lineman’s hand set, only cheap phones with stripped wires and alligator clips attached to them. It wasn’t until several years ago when my wife went to an auction and came home with one that I finally got a real one. That’s true love, right there.

    I have a similar picture of myself at close to the same age (I think I’m 14 or so in mine). I’m a few years younger than you so some of the time references are a little different (more D&D toys, and I think I’m wearing a Don Johnson jacket) but the idea’s the same, and I love those moments frozen in time.

  7. Church says:

    I’m guessing ‘dustbuster’ = ‘buttset’ (or ‘lineman’s hand set’ as per above?) I’ve never heard that term in this context.

  8. Jason Scott says:

    No, the dustbuster being referred to is an actual dustbuster (hand-held mini-vacuum), being held under my left arm. As a bit of a conceit, every posed photo of me in the school yearbook had me with a dustbuster. I believe this totaled 5, so it’s a pretty weird little thing. I’m happy I did it.

  9. Jason Scott says:

    That said, “Dustbuster” would have been an AWESOME nickname for a lineman’s handset, back then.

  10. nimbus says:

    Where is your flickr set of old graphics files from BBSs? All I see is vintage computer photos, scans and pics of the cat.