, Derry, New Hampshire


November 28, 2013

Column: What's so special about me? Darn near everything

It’s official — “selfie” is the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. Why not celebrate an act of abject narcissism by firmly rooting it in the English language?

And it makes perfect sense, because we live in the it’s-all-about-me 21st century.

Since every child is special, every child gets a trophy or a ribbon or a gift certificate for simply showing up to compete in one athletic event or another.

Come to think of it, untold millions of adults must be special, too. They take a picture of their breakfast and post it on Facebook, and wait for hundreds of their cyber friends to comment that gosh, your scrambled eggs really speak to me. In fact, they’re telling me to have a great day! Thanks for sharing!

So it’s perfectly logical for your average, everyday special adult to take a picture of themselves and share it. Because that way, others will know how special they are, too!

When I came across a bag the other day, filled with old family photographs, I remembered how different life used to be. My mother loved to take pictures — not of herself but of others — with the latest technology of the day, her Polaroid instant camera.

I still recall the flash bulbs that attached to the camera, the grinding noise as the photo slowly rolled out the bottom, and the smell, vaguely reminiscent of turpentine, as my mother waved the picture through the air to dry it.

My mother had a knack for capturing the absurd. I found one picture, I’m guessing from Christmas morning, 1965, when my family gathered around our first color TV. There I am, chubby-cheeked, almost 10 years old, wearing a new sweatshirt that reads “Official Girl Watcher,” with two bugged-out eyes, just for emphasis.

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