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Man Discovers His Childhood Photo has Turned into a Viral Meme since 2017 and It's Bizarre

Adrian Smith with his childhood picture that ha turned into an internet meme. 
(Credit: Twitter/ @DrAdrianSmith)

Adrian Smith with his childhood picture that ha turned into an internet meme. (Credit: Twitter/ @DrAdrianSmith)

Adrian Smith was scrolling through his Instagram feed when he was shocked to find that a photo of him as an eight-year-old had become an internet meme.

Imagine if you are scrolling through a social media feed and suddenly stumble upon a photograph that was taken during your childhood years that was posted by some random user. It may take some time to sink in that the photo has been online for quite some time and soon your photograph is a viral meme.

Even though it may sound like a script from a web series, one North Carolina resident encountered it for real. Adrian Smith was scrolling through his Instagram feed when he was shocked to find that a photo of him as an eight-year-old had become an internet meme.

He was in grade three when the picture was shot in 1992 and in recent times it was turned into a meme. His photo had come from a Tumblr blog to which he had contributed back in 2007, where users were asked to share school photos with laser background. But in the recent shocking revelation, his photo was turned into a meme and used as the stepson of a fictional ‘teenagestepdad’ Instagram account since at least 2017.

Smith took to the micro blogging site and in a series of tweets he wrote, “Here’s a very 2020 thing I just learned about myself: this picture of the 8-year-old, 3rd grade version of me has been a meme FOR YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!! Like, there’s merch and everything. Internet is weird”.

He said he was amused by it, however, he admitted that as a child he would have found it "confusing and sad". He also wrote, “As far as I can tell, past me has been living an internet-meme-life as Grayson, a creation of @TeenageStepdad, since at least 2017.”

Smith, like any of us, was spooked to discover the photograph and said it was a truly bizarre experience. He is a research scientist with focus on entomology, which basically means he studies insects and their behaviour.

He agreed that he could have been mad about the whole incident but decided to take an altogether different approach. He instead decided to share it on social media.

“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,” he told BBC.

Smith is himself a parent of two very young children and said it would be a while before they understand what a meme means, however, he did not wish to put them off sharing their lives online.

first published:December 13, 2020, 11:00 IST