Look at This (aka Me)!
Where’s the meat? You deserve a break today. Just do it. Snap Crackle Pop. And (drum roll) the next new phrase, “Look at this . . .” No matter the subject; no matter the familiarity, no matter the gruesome details, everyone now has a photo to tag-line their story. In the good old days, a tagline explained the photo. Today, we get to listen to a long-winded story and then sit through the swipe of photos that prove the details. In 2018, my resolution is to figure out how to escape the "LOOK AT THIS" craze.
I am amazed what near-strangers will share with me just because they now have a photo on their phone. One photo would not be so intrusive, but like a Lays potato chip, nobody has just one. At a recent dinner party, a lady I met so fast I could not recall her name, whipped out her phone to show me her most recent home furnishing purchases. I was not too fond of this lady and even less impressed with her taste in uncomfortable chairs. She let-her-fingers-do-the walking, but unfortunately, they were accompanied by her talking. In my attempted to blend into the party, I bumped into a long-ago friend who noted I am not a Facebook participant. He immediately whipped out his phone to show me all the events in his life I missed which confirmed his ‘long ago’ status. A Morton Salt when-it-rains-it-pours moment.
Family members are the worst at over sharing. First, most of the time I was part of whatever event they want to relive in phone photos, so chances are I did not miss much. Second, they rarely have the courtesy to delete the awful angled photos of me, so chances are I am not thrilled to revisit that moment. Finally, the what-happens-here-stays-here motto of travel apparently does not apply to phone memory. At a recent wedding, my cousin put his phone in my face to show a photo of the bride sitting at the reception table. He thought the lighting was incredible as it twinkled off the sweat sliding down her back. There is a Kodak moment every bride hopes to save. . . because of they’re-great!
The millennials are not as great offenders as the baby boomers. The generation that marveled at microwave popcorn is now enamored with the don’t-leave-home-without-it but now it is not the American Express card, but the charged phone. The millennials are app based annoyers. I do get a lot of the LOOK AT THIS instead of the LOOK AT ME comments. Their attention deficit kicks in when I assure them I am in-good-hands-with another app to seek and find trying to show an unsuspecting stranger some doctored photo. The phase of putting animal face parts on clueless humans was the have-it-your-way moment I traded for a good-to-the-last drop — but I was not sipping coffee.
The baby-boomer selfie makes me need a plop-plop-fizz-fizz. No one over 50 has an arm long enough to raise that phone out of double chin range. They do share too many pets (just like one of the family) and too many grandchildren (just like the other side of the family) which then takes an entire afternoon to sort and separate the bloodlines of actual grandchildren, step-grandchildren, grandchildren who are ‘my children’ and random children in their lives. Nice that they reach-out-and-touch someone, but I do not need to see who they are in touch with. (Yes, I dangled a preposition. . . can-you-hear-me-now?!)
Travel photos are the breakfast-of-champions in the LOOK AT ME parade. In the be-all-you-can-be days, one could fake conflicting engagement to avoid the vacation photo dinner barrage. In the big scheme of the universe, I have already been to places you need to show me and I did NOT take you prisoner to see a random ocean over my shoulder (and my double chin). As you are swiping through your 1000 other photos to show me a sunset, I would put-a-tiger-in-my-tank but knew I would be taking-a- licking-and-you-would-keep-on-ticking.
Your LOOK AT ME selfie with famous people lifts-and-separates the professionals from the amateurs. Ninety percent of the time (yes, I track the odds) the photo is blurry, and someone’s head is cut off—usually the person of fame—because this is all about the LOOK AT ME. For the record, if you are scoring at home, this column was a bit of a play on old advertising slogans. The short dashes are the lifted phrases and if you are old like me, you may just recall the product. A little memory jogging to prevent dementia. In the new year, we are recovering from I-can’t-believe-I-ate-the-whole-thing and pondering our next just-do-it effort. Go ahead, share your LOOK AT ME moment, and then laugh knowing a diamond-is-forever and apparently our phone photos are too.