Quiet Desperation

World lost in selfies is not a pretty picture


A waiter goes back to a table and asks a young couple, “Is your food OK? You haven’t taken a picture of it yet?”

When the time comes for this decade to be characterized, it will be a snap.

It was estimated that each of us takes 10 digital photos a day, or 3,650 digital photos in a year. Times the number of people who have cellphones with built-in cameras, that’s 14 trillion photos worldwide annually.

Not all of them will be saved, however, for a very good reason that I will get to momentarily.

(When I say “we” I don’t mean me too. It’s just less accusatory than saying “you.”)

If a bear consumes a tourist who is trying to take a photo of himself with the bear, I tend to side with the bear. When someone falls over a cliff while they are taking a selfie, I side with the cliff.

Every time I watch a major event on television, I see hundreds of amateur photographers aiming their phones at the event.


Because these moments are precious and few?

No. Because everyone else is doing it.

I just read an article to myself, and then I read it to the dog to get his reaction.

Harry is used to it by now, and usually just angles his head and stares at me.

The headline in the Washington Post said, “More are seeking surgery to look better in selfies.”

There was a photo of a bunch of grinning idiots that went with the article, and the caption was, “The self-taken photograph is warping the confidence of many younger people in unsettling ways.”

I am very, very glad I am not a younger people.

The article was written by Daria Hamrah, a plastic surgeon who has a practice in McLean, Va.

Hamrah said the people who now come into her office are years younger than the ones who came into her office 10 years ago.

“There’s a reason for this radical and rapid change: selfies.”

She said one young woman came into her office and asked for “rounded feline eyes of the sort that some photo filters can add to selfies.”

When I read that to Harry, he angled his head to the other side.

“Once, a 20-year-old woman, having studied countless images of herself, said she needed a face-lift; no 20-year-old needs a face-lift.”

Harry and I both have prominent noses. (Keep in mind, he’s a dachshund.)

Hamrah is inundated with requests for nose jobs. Know why?

“A study published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery found that selfies make noses look 30 percent larger than they are.”

In that case, mine would look like a holiday plantain, if I owned a mobile device that had a built-in camera, and took photos of myself. But I don’t.

What would I do with them? I guess I could send them to my children.

But first, I’d have to get some children.

I concluded I’d rather not get some children, just to be able to send them selfies of Dear Old Dad. Not worth it.

Hamrah said a woman came into her office and said she wanted her nose to look exactly like Meghan Markle’s.

Why? Nobody nose.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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