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Stunned man discovers photo he posted 13 years ago went on to become famous meme
December 7, 2020
A man who posted a photo of himself as an eight-year-old on the internet in 2007 was shocked to learn the image had become an internet meme.
Adrian Smith stumbled upon a Tumblr blog in 2007 and shared a school photo of himself from 1992 with the group.
He said he remembers being very proud of the picture, having managed to find a cool top that matched the laser background.
Mr Smith, who lives in North Carolina, said he stumbled upon his image on Instagram years later after it was being used as the stepson of a fictitious "teenage stepdad."
Dad-of-two Mr Smith said he was amused by the picture and has since been in touch with the Instagram page’s creator, who had created a story around the image.
The creator even offered to kill the "stepdad" off in the story, but Mr Smith said he was happy for it to be used
He said: "I had options – I could ignore it, I could get mad about it, or I could embrace it and make it part of my story now, and have it out there as an example of the chaotic randomness that happens with stuff on the internet that we put there."
Mr Smith admitted his eight-year-old self would have felt confused and "sad about the reaction to the image but is happy that the image has not been used in a "mean spirit"
He said: "I'd like to say it's me pre-glasses, pre-braces, and 100% raw power as an eight-year-old.
"My grin in the picture is one of smug satisfaction."
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Mr Smith said the experience will not discourage him from letting his children share their lives online but instead feels as though there is a lesson to learn.
He said: "The lesson is that what you put in the internet might last forever and have a life of its own, but also the internet doesn't define you, it doesn't have to be you," he said.
"Figure out who you are first, and if the stuff out there is part of how you want to define yourself then use it for that, if it's not, then don't."