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Opinion May 2014

The Old Gal

Show Me the Selfie

By Anne Ashley

Yet despite my complete antipathy (not to mention silence) on all these matters, I am still inundated with constant bulletins as though at any minute something remarkable might occur in the lives of everyone I know and they're afraid I'll lose the will to live if I miss it! It never does and I won't!

I, like most of my peers, cannot name two people on the planet whose lives I need to track minute-to-minute. I'm not the least bit interested in anyone's meals, thoughts, frame of mind, wants, not wants, political opinions or relationship woes. I don't care how cute a puppy is in its owners shoes nor do I want to know what music a person might be listening to at any given moment. Star signs are of no concern, I don't understand half of the pithy sayings and catch phrases these days, and I couldn't care less that your heart was broken unless I broke it!

Yet despite my complete antipathy (not to mention silence) on all these matters, I am still inundated with constant bulletins as though at any minute something remarkable might occur in the lives of everyone I know and they're afraid I'll lose the will to live if I miss it! It never does and I won't!

What's worse than all this self-indulgence is the growing fascination with selfies.  For the lucky few oblivious to what a selfie is, it's a photo taken by a person of themselves (typically camera held at arm's length) and meant to give the impression that the moment was unmissable... amazing fun? Goodness only knows. However, what I do know is that I lack the coordination to accurately center myself in a photograph. If I tried to snap instances of myself doing fabulous things, the recipients would end up with nothing more than odd partial shots of my forehead, ear and possibly even nothing but the background when I missed myself all together, enjoying whatever event prompted my semi-selfie.

It's not as though I even pretend to share this need to illustrate every event as though we're all starring in a reality show enhanced by a self-taken close-up.  Personally, I'm confident that I'll live a long and happy life never knowing what you got tattooed or pierced at over the weekend. I promise I can stand the suspense and wait until I see you in person to judge your latest hair-do. Your new outfit might be fabulous but it isn't at the top of my must see list -- far from it. In short, it will not hurt my feelings in the least if I don't know what you're doing every second of every day.

It's difficult to pinpoint the start of the decline. I believe it's somewhere between YouTube and Facebook. Both encourage a whole lot of me, myself and I and both allow an otherwise level- headed, well- balanced youth to believe that he or she is only one well-timed, well-placed selfie away from fame, fortune and recognition. Shockingly even humiliation is an acceptable method of attention-grabbing these days. You no more fall into a water feature at a mall while texting, and the next thing you know, you've "gone viral" on the web and invited to appear on at least a dozen exploitation programs as if the explanation is far more complex than: you're clumsy and you weren't watching where you were going.

In my day if you wanted to exploit yourself you had to ... had to ... Huh! Come to think of it, there was nothing even remotely as effective or as wide- reaching (not to mention, instantaneous) as posting selfies of your mediocre existence on the world wide web to grab the attention of your peers in my day. I guess we had to rely on actually achieving something of importance or significance to attain recognition and fame. Imagine that –  actually making a difference in order to have the public follow your lead. Silly us. What a waste of time all that studying, caring, and veracity was.


Exploring the burdens and benefits of being me …

 

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