DAZE WORK: Picture this: Managing to live without the selfie gene

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Selfies – you know, those ubiquitous photos people love to take of themselves with their cellphone – have made their way into the news recently.

Perhaps you heard how an Indian family of four drowned when they were washed away after standing in the knee-deep waters of an Indian reservoir, all in the name of snapping a wave-crashing selfie.

Or maybe you’ve heard about the young woman who has been banned for life by Royal Caribbean after she was spotted standing on the railing of her cruise ship balcony in an effort to take a seaside selfie.

Turns out that since last October, more than 250 people have died trying to take that perfect selfie pix, the Associated Press has reported. And it’s happening from tops of mountains to tall buildings from Yosemite to Yemen.

Of more tame nature, it was pointed out at the recent Greencastle City Council session that visitors have been spotted posing for selfies along Veterans Memorial Highway in front of The Mural (which has taken on a life of its own as “The Mural” earning a capital “T” after its creation on the grain silos in the city’s South End).

Yes, these selfies are supposed to be reminders of good times, not documentation of tragedy. Yet as a guy who shoots photos as part of his job, somehow I haven’t quite jumped on the selfie bandwagon.

Didn’t snap one in front of The Louvre. Never took one on Times Square or in the Wrigley Field bleachers.

I’m not sure why. Guess I just didn’t get the selfie gene.

Friends are constantly snapping shots of themselves with the food they’ve ordered or as they’re poised to enter Target or posing with someone’s newest grandkid.

Heck, I’m sure my efforts would fail miserably if there was a chance to snap a shot of me with Nessie swimming past or Sasquatch coming out of the tree line or spotting that giant praying mantis alien I’m told visits Crawfordsville homes. He’s nine-foot tall, you understand.

Tall tales aside, recently my sister and her husband were here for a couple days on a visit from California. Virtually everywhere we went, she suggested “we need to take a photo of us.”

Never did it happen. Not once. Not anywhere we roamed. From the wine dinner at Almost Home to the rooftop experience at Bridges with its great views of the sunset and the feeling you can reach out and touch the courthouse from up there. For sure I wasn’t going to stand on the ledge. Nope. Never.

The last selfie I took --- or rather had taken – was when DePauw’s Ken Owen captured me with ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen at the Greencastle Post Office. That was May 10, literally the day before I started down my path to three months on the mend at Mill Pond. I’d have to say Rasmussen looks good, especially for someone who hadn’t seen the inside of our post office in decades.

You have to wonder whether my selfie aversion stems from taking photos so often for my job or the fact I just don’t like the way I look when I see a shot of myself. (Maybe that’s why the column head that runs with this piece is nearly eight years old now).

Not that I haven’t had plenty of excellent chances to score some cool selfies in recent years. Might have snagged a shot with Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Kimmell, Bret Baier or Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith when they were in town. But in my work, you lose credibility when you do an interview and then ask for a selfie or even an autograph.

We did finally get a selfie of my sister and me. As she and her husband were leaving town, we took one in front of the big dying ash tree near the end of my driveway. I’m not sure whether that was symbolic of my health issues or not.

So I guess if that old tree does fall (to the east, please, to the east) some day, I’ll have photographic proof of just how close that tree and I have been all these years.

Meanwhile, with The Mural providing new selfie attractions locally, I decided to wander that way the other afternoon and test my abilities.

On the first try I cut off my neck and chin so my head seemed to hover like some Macy’s Thanksgiving balloon.

Second try? Worse than the first. I ended up with more of the city election sign on the east end of The Mural than I did the painted silos I wanted in the background.

Third time the charm, right? Not so fast. Cut the top of my head off this time and somehow blurred the silos.

All right, one more try. I know I can do this.

And the camera balks. It is an iPhone 4, so it’s understandable. The message on the screen said the memory was full and there would be no more photos for me.

At least that’s how I interpreted it.

It probably should have offered a picture-perfect lament: “No selfies for you.”

After all, then I would have known that I do indeed lack the selfie gene.

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  • Good article

    -- Posted by Nit on Sat, Oct 26, 2019, at 6:19 AM
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    Selfies are the currency of the narcissistic realm that has devolved from our once great nation.

    It's no longer "look at this great photo of 'x' that I shot!", but "look at ME! standing in front of 'x'."

    With a bittersweet conflict of emotion I often read of selfie deaths. While I lament the loss of life, I can't help but think "THANK YOU" for the photographer having taken themselves out of our world by an act so stupid that it defies all rational thought.

    After all, do we really want to keep people in our midst who are stupid enough to walk backwards off a cliff (or any number of equally moronic activities) for the sake of their own self-love and a seemingly endless need to be socially validated?

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Mon, Oct 28, 2019, at 11:50 AM
  • Dreadpirateroberts. You need to get a job as a newspaper editor being as you always comment and seem to know more than the editors do.

    -- Posted by Nit on Mon, Oct 28, 2019, at 1:41 PM
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    Nit - LOL. I am not sure how you meant it, but I will certainly take it as a compliment. Thank you. :)

    I am very opinionated. I even have a coffee cup that says "Everyone is entitled to my opinion". It was a sincere and thoughtful gift from a co-worker.

    I was thinking if I keep commenting enough then the BG would offer me a spot on their editorial board. (Are you listening BG staff?)

    Until then, please keep looking for my comments. They are usually peppered throughout the BG online... and they are almost always correct. :)

    -- Posted by dreadpirateroberts on Mon, Oct 28, 2019, at 3:53 PM
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