It’s a teenager’s worst nightmare: they’re hanging out with friends when suddenly, out of nowhere, their parents attempt to say or do something cool! Oh no, the embarrassment! Don’t moms and dads know their kids are always way cooler than they’ll ever be or ever were?
The youths of the world tend to forget their parents were once young, too, free and burning with the desire to do awesome stuff. Of course, the adventurous lives some mothers and fathers led came to a halt once kids came into play, but these photos of ‘rents back in the day prove they may have just forever out-cooled their offspring.
1. You think you know how to travel in style? This mother flew helicopters for the Army during the ’80s. Picking up a date in one of those bad boys is one way to ensure a second date definitely happens.
2. You really can’t get much classier than this guy. White tuxedo with an enormous bowtie? Check. Glass of wine in hand? Check. Loyal dog at his side? Check. Let’s just see his kids try to outclass this pose.
3. Someone’s father actually has a picture of himself pinning Chuck Norris down on a dojo mat. There are very few photos in existence that will ever be cooler than this one, and this guy knows it.
4. You don’t get much more epic than pulling off a perfectly executed dive into the Pacific Ocean from the starboard fin of a submarine. That’s one father who can always use this photo as bragging rights in front of his kids.
5. This is a 1984 photo of a welding class from Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was all men except for one woman who let the guys know testosterone did not rule the welding world. Her kids must’ve loved this photo.
6. Attempting a handstand on one moving skateboard is not a good idea, but two!? This acrobatic stunt led to a great photo, and maybe her child inherited her uncanny ability for balance (or her knack for risk-taking).
7. Ahh, the selfie. Nowadays, young kids snap hundreds of pictures of themselves and post them online. This picture was taken in Vietnam in 1969. It was long before “selfie” was even a word, and it’s so much cooler.
8. “Oh, you fish off a boat, do you? That’s cute. I’ll be casting out from atop a nuclear submarine later on.” If this guy’s kid ever takes up fishing, they’ll never partake in it the same way their dad did in 1966.
9. This photo was taken on this future father’s first day of work at NASA. Can you believe there isn’t a computer in sight? He helped conduct rocket science with just his big ol’ brain — that’ll impress the kids.
10. This photo was snapped in 1959, and if you’re thinking that animal looks a lot like a lion cub, that’s because it is. Today, the son of the little boy in this photo — who helped raise it for two years with his veterinarian mother — knows he has a pretty cool grandma, too.
11. This is what the face of a man looks like who’s halfway through a motorcycling trip through Africa. There’s no telling what he’s grinning about, but it could be the realization that his kids won’t ever do anything as epic.
12. This photo looks like it was taken right outside Studio 54 during its heyday, but it’s actually a picture of someone’s parents outside their Paris store in 1972. Their eventual child will never dress as well.
13. This guy shipped his bike to England in 1973, so he could take a road trip throughout Europe. Not only did he have an awesome bike, but he had the proper shades, too. And yea, when his kid found out decades later, he was green with envy.
14. Doesn’t this picture make you want to bust out a piece of cardboard, crank some old-school hip-hop jams on a boombox, and dance your way through the week? His kids might aspire to be this cool, but it’ll be really tough to pull off.
15. When the child of the helmet-less man in the front of this photo randomly came across the Vietnam photo on the internet, the father cried when he saw it. You can imagine it evoked so many different emotions, some good and some deeply upsetting.
16. Here’s a mother sitting at her desk during a shift as a homicide detective in the ’80s. Sure, she looks relaxed in the photo, but you know once those sirens blare she goes Olivia Benson on every criminal.
17. Not only did this future mother flee from Saigon in 1975 and immigrate to the United States, but by the ’90s, she was a full-fledged member of the United States Air Force. Now that’s a story the kids would no doubt love to hear.
18. Here’s one person’s father taking a quick smoke break during a lull in a fight with Saddam Hussein’s army. Nothing says “cool and relaxed” like lighting up a bogey in between rifle shots.
19. After giving birth to their sister, one kid’s mom chilled out in a Canadian hospital while enjoying a cigarette and roasted chicken. Nowadays, no one will ever find themselves this relaxed inside hospital walls.
20. Most parents don’t know a single thing about being a DJ, but this woman isn’t your average parent. Back in 1977, she was spinning her turntables in Shreveport, Louisiana, at KWKH radio station.
You don’t have to look back three decades to see that your parents are cool. Plenty use the holiday seasons to flex their playful sides and prove they’re way smarter — and cooler — than you think.
2. Be careful what you wish for! If only this kid had enunciated a bit more clearly that he wanted an Xbox 360, he might’ve wound up with an actual video game console. At least he’s got the ingredients to cook a nice holiday brunch.
3. Judging by the size of her stocking, Rosie has been extra good this year. She’s bound to get ten times the amount of gifts of anyone else in her family! Alternatively, maybe she just has really big feet?
4. Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? This hilarious dad livened up a holiday meal by getting creative with some food scraps. He stuck a few strawberry tops on his face and asked his kids if he had an acne problem.
Twitter / Samantha Smith
5. On occasion, even good parents can be straight-up evil. This young girl gladly accepted a Fanta from her mom, but didn’t think that there might be something else inside. Regular apple juice would be cruel enough, but this mom used light apple juice. The horror!
Reddit / Fannie1157
6. This kid went online to tell everyone what happens when your grandparents don’t understand what you want for Christmas. However, we suspect they knew exactly what an iPad was, and just couldn’t resist the pun.
7. It’s normal to put aside your diet during the holidays, right? When this woman’s daughter requested a “surprise snack,” she made sure she stuck to the food pyramid by stuffing this cookie bag with nothing but broccoli. Surprise!
Reddit / Skunkdrunkpunk
8. This girl got invited to a holiday ball with her boyfriend, but her dad felt a little bit left out. He didn’t get to attend the dance, but at least he made a cameo appearance in their photos. Just look at that happy smile!
Reddit / MommyDearest30
9. Just about everyone has trouble falling asleep on Christmas Eve. To make it even harder for a guest, this family snuck a giant gingerbread monstrosity under the covers. Once they turned the lights on, you can bet it was a scare big enough to keep them awake all night.
Instagram / LucyBishop2012
10. This guy’s grandma really digs his sense of humor, so she bought him a toilet mug she knew he’d be all over. She figured the gag gift would work because “it looks like poop, and I know you think that’s funny.” Spot on, granny!
Imgur / mordibala
11. Once again, parents will stop at nothing to get kids to eat their vegetables. These devious adults hid Brussels sprouts inside delicious Ferrero Rocher wrappers. Even if you ethnically don’t agree with this trick, you have to admire the attention to detail!
Instagram / melborsato
12. If your child asks for something too expensive, you can always just settle for a pun instead. One mom chose to skip the pricy headphones her daughter wanted an instead gift her “Beets by Dre.”
Twitter / Rick Slusher
13. For a personal gift, nothing tops a nice photograph. However, this mom upstaged her teenage son’s photo with a frame featuring Disney princesses. When he asked her why she gave him the photograph like this, his mom told him it was the only frame available.
14. Lots of us are bad at wrapping presents, but this guy is bad to the bone. Before his sister can enjoy her special Christmas gift, she’ll have to cut through a criss-crossed layer of zip ties. Hopefully another relative gave her a pair of scissors!
Instagram / redbankplaza
15. This little girl asked for nothing but Frozen gifts for Christmas. As you would expect, she was none too pleased when she received a bag of frozen peas. She was able to “Let It Go” in the end, as she opened up plenty of other great presents.
16. When a 27-year-old returned home for the holidays, he never expected to see his childhood superhero sheets laid out for him. His mom definitely found it hilarious, however, plus superheroes are super-in these days.
17. If you were impressed by the last iPad pun, then you’ll love this dad joke: One mischievous father put his extraordinary arts and crafts skills to create this prank gift for his daughter. At least she thought it was funny enough to pose for a picture.
18. Never underestimate the devotion of a grandparent. When one guy joked with his grandma that he wanted 100 different items from the dollar store for Christmas, she delivered. The cost of wrapping paper had to be even higher than that of the gifts.
Reddit / AceWayne4
19. Baked goods are a must around the holidays. Most of the time, we exchange them to show other people that we care, but these parents gave their son a cake to get him to find his own place. There’s no room at the inn for you, Keith!
20. Some pranks are crueler than others. For the kids who came across this gift-wrapped toilet, we can only hope they didn’t find it during a bathroom emergency. To add insult to injury, the Elf on the Shelf is also there to watch them unwrap it in agony.
21. For every successful parent prank, however, there are plenty of parent fails around the holidays. As you can tell from this envelope, one well-meaning mother didn’t quite get how Secret Santa works. Better luck next year!
Reddit / proxima