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  • - I accidentally became a meme and this is that story.

  • My name is Maggie Goldenberger

  • but you may know me as the Ermahgerd Girl.

  • Just as a warning, the end of the story gets pretty weird.

  • So this all started in 1999.

  • I'm in middle school, playing sports, I got my friends.

  • "Goosebumps" had come out a few years ago. I enjoyed them.

  • I wasn't particularly a fanatic

  • but my mom remembers it very differently

  • than I apparently was obsessed with "Goosebumps."

  • After school, my best best friend Kaitlin and I

  • would hang out.

  • Kaitlin had just gotten a Polaroid camera

  • that actually printed the pictures right there.

  • So we were a little obsessed with that

  • and would take all sorts of photos all the time.

  • And we would get dressed up. We had a dress up box.

  • One night, we were taking pictures

  • and I was trying to look as ridiculous

  • and as nerdy as possible.

  • We got the "Goosebumps" books out,

  • we grabbed her old backpack from first grade,

  • a vest her mom found at Goodwill,

  • took my hair and put them in pigtails.

  • I had a retainer that I usually wore at night.

  • We got it out, I threw it in and just started making faces.

  • So Kaitlin took the picture.

  • We waited five minutes or so for it to develop.

  • Once it was there it was really funny,

  • we thought it was great and she kept it

  • for years and years and years.

  • Fast forward to 2012, I am backpacking in India

  • with my current girlfriend at the time.

  • And we only have internet access about once a week.

  • We'd go to internet cafe.

  • And I started getting messages from my mom

  • wondering why my photo was all over the internet

  • and that there was some kind of German writing

  • on my photo and it was all over.

  • And I was like okay, mom.

  • I know she does not know how the internet works.

  • So I just ignore her.

  • But then then I get a message

  • from a friend from high school

  • and she says, "Hey, just so you know,

  • this other guy we went to high school with

  • is sharing that photo of you all over Facebook."

  • And I did end up messaging him like

  • hey, I wouldn't mind if you just asked

  • but it's really strange you're just doing this

  • without my consent.

  • Like what's going on?

  • And he's like, he had no idea it was me.

  • He said he found it from a comedy website.

  • So then I realized there's some legitimacy

  • to what my mom's saying.

  • So now I really want to know what was going on.

  • Who would put my photo on the internet?

  • Why is it spreading like wildfire?

  • So when I get back to the US I was seeing it everywhere.

  • Every social media site, news outlet,

  • t-shirts with my face on them, mugs,

  • countless people were dressed as me for Halloween that year.

  • The guys from Nerdist made a music video

  • with the girl from Paramore and I am just watching it

  • wondering what on earth is going on.

  • So all of this is happening.

  • I have all these messages asking me

  • what I'm gonna do about it,

  • how I'm gonna make money off of it.

  • People I need to sue.

  • It was pretty overwhelming

  • with all the information coming in all at once.

  • All the while I'm still trying to figure out

  • how this got uploaded because I asked all my friends,

  • no one was copping up to it.

  • I feel like anyone that would do it

  • would want to take some credit for it.

  • So it wasn't until a Vanity Fair article

  • did some serious research and found out

  • it was from a photo my friend had uploaded on her MySpace

  • and it was a public domain, this photo bucket.

  • And some stranger, a 16 year old from Canada,

  • just saw it one day, thought it was hilarious,

  • and uploaded it to Reddit with the caption of

  • "Just a girl and her books."

  • And then another user put on it,

  • "Gersberms, my favorite books"

  • like with that retainer accent.

  • And then from there, another user

  • put the tagline of "Ermangerd."

  • And that is finally when the whole meme came together.

  • I felt mostly okay with the sharing

  • and the fun of it spreading some kind of

  • a little bit of joy, but the invasion of privacy

  • and the nonconsensual selling my face,

  • it felt like a real violation.

  • I didn't feel personally attacked

  • because I was being a character

  • but there is still that underlying feeling

  • like why do adults think it's so funny

  • to make fun of a young girl that's excited about books?

  • We want to encourage kids to be reading

  • as many books that they can get ahold of.

  • One thing that made me really uncomfortable

  • was I had a friend of my brothers,

  • he wanted to prove I was the girl in the meme

  • so he started revealing personal details about my life

  • to an internet community and sharing a photo of me

  • in a bikini.

  • So I was out at the time, but my girlfriend was not,

  • she had a very conservative family

  • and wasn't necessarily out to most of them.

  • And so what he was doing to prove it was me,

  • like basically outing her and outing our relationship.

  • He just opened me up to that whole community of trolls

  • and it was a total violation of privacy.

  • Okay, so this is the weird part.

  • So because I'm a meme I would get different invites

  • to do appearances and things like that,

  • that I kind of grazed over.

  • And then one came my way that asked if I wanted to attend

  • a meme themed jungle furry party in the Bay area.

  • I sent a screenshot to a couple of my friends

  • and I said, hey, the offers keep rolling in.

  • Everyone thought it was pretty funny

  • but one of my friends was in San Jose

  • and she was like, "Oh my gosh, we have to go."

  • So we drive to San Francisco and we come up to

  • this beautiful house on top of this hill.

  • And something about it just feels a little spooky to me,

  • but we just go with it.

  • So we go into the house and we meet this chef

  • and he's telling us we're about to have a six course meal.

  • And it's going to be infused with something

  • that I can't say in this video.

  • And as I sit down, I realized across from me

  • is the double rainbow guy.

  • And then we proceed to have the best meal of my life.

  • Well during dinner, people were wearing their ears

  • as their designated characters

  • but it was after the meal when things got really furry.

  • So we're having drinks after dinner

  • and more and more people are showing up in their full fur

  • and I'm talking to double rainbow guy

  • and he is one of the sweetest people I've ever met.

  • And he's just like he is, like just genuine in his video.

  • So all of a sudden I found myself alone on the couch.

  • And next thing I know I have a cat coming up to me

  • and starts purring and rubbing against my legs.

  • And by cat, I mean a human being in a cat costume.

  • And I'm like, oh, okay, this is part of it.

  • I started petting it. Oh, okay, great.

  • And then it just wouldn't end.

  • I didn't have a safe word. I didn't know what to do.

  • And I look over and my friend is just on top of this wolf

  • and whatever was in the dinner is starting to kick in

  • and I know I need to get out of there.

  • So I get up, I can't find my friend.

  • All of a sudden I feel this hand on my back

  • and I turn around and it's her.

  • And she also needs to go and immediately at that moment.

  • Nothing sinister happened. We just had enough and had to go.

  • So we left and we had no regrets.

  • I had conversations with some of the most interesting

  • and nicest people I've ever met

  • and they were so warm and welcoming.

  • All in all, I have no regrets about the meme.

  • To all the little kids out there who love to read,

  • keep it going.

  • Reading is cool and do not let the internet

  • tell you otherwise

  • (mellow music)

- I accidentally became a meme and this is that story.

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B1 meme photo mom girl uploaded sharing

I Accidentally Became A Meme: Ermahgerd

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/31
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