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I accidentally became a meme and this is that story.
It's weird to be famous as a baby.
There wasn't really a before.
Really, my whole life has been me being Success Kid.
This all started in 2007.
We went to the beach 'cause I had just gotten a new camera and I wanted to take some pictures of my baby and my family.
Sam was 11 months old.
He was about to eat a handful of sand like babies do and I just snapped the shot at just the right moment.
I thought it was a really cute picture.
I had no idea how profoundly it would impact our lives.
I posted the picture to my Flickr account the same day I took it.
It was immediately popular and got about 300 likes the first day.
But then after that I kinda forgot about it.
Within a year, I started to see it online.
There was a photoshopped child in the background with a destroyed sand castle and it had the caption "I hate sandcastles."
And there was another version with the caption "I'ma (beep) you up."
We really had no idea what memes were because they were so new.
But the ones that did exist usually were either making fun of somebody or had negative connotations.
We didn't want that to be associated with our baby.
My picture was just out there for anyone to take and manipulate.
I realized at that point, there was no getting this picture back.
The Internet had it.
And then about a year after that was the first time I saw it used with the green and blue little background and it had my baby there and was titled Success Kid.
Then when I saw that, I thought please, let this version take off.
It was so positive and sweet.
The great thing about the Success Kid meme is not only is it about success, but it's about unlikely success.
Achieving, you know, against the odds.
And that was really special because Sam was born prematurely, then had to have brain surgery at six weeks old.
So, seeing it called Success Kid just like warmed my heart, you know.
I felt like that was the most appropriate title for him and it was given to him by the Internet.
Before long, we saw the picture everywhere.
Saw it all over the Internet, advertising, a Super Bowl commercial, Obama's White House, newspapers around the world.
It was something positive that was out there that people really responded to.
It's kinda hard to comprehend.
It's weird being a famous baby because I had no idea what was happening, you know.
I'd say I do have a lot of mixed feelings with it.
I would go back and forth with being like :oh, I wish I was a normal kid" to "oh, this is super awesome."
And so, to have fans come up to me and be like, "Hey, do the pose!"
Or you know, "what did sand taste like?" Or whatever.
I'm like I don't know.
I would say like candy or something you know, 'cause like in my mind I'm just a normal, lazy teenager.
Usually just doing art and listening to music.
I've been doing art for I mean, my whole life really.
My dad has been a big part of why I started.
Kinda got that interest from him.
And you know, I would look at his art and constantly copy it and stuff, and then I would gain a certain style.
You know, interests change and your mindset and your body changes a lot, and you don't just wanna be known as Success Kid.
But then I found out that my dad was sick.
I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
I had about 20 percent kidney function when they caught it.
I was on dialysis for six years.
Really needed a kidney transplant, but I couldn't qualify because the cost of the anti-rejection drugs are so enormous, you know, for so many people, it's almost impossible.
We just had the idea to do a fundraiser.
I didn't wanna mention Success Kid.
I mean, I wasn't even thinking about that initially.
Then I posted it on my Twitter account.
Some publications retweeted it and within the first week of the GoFundMe being posted, we surpassed our goal.
We got so many messages saying how much the meme has meant to them and how much it brightens their day to see his face, or how they were going through a dark time.
That was the best part of the campaign really is just feeling like we're getting this giant hug from the world.
I'm very thankful for everybody who has, you know, helped us and everybody who uses the picture.
A lot of nurses and doctors use it to get through the day.
I'm very happy that, you know, people who save others' lives is using my picture when I was doing nothing but eating sand.
It's a good thought.
It helps me.
I'm at an age right now to where I don't really know what I am fully.
I do hope one day that I'll be able to create something that inspires people just as much as Success Kid does.
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I Accidentally Became A Meme: Success Kid

1709 Folder Collection
Minjane published on July 21, 2020    Minjane translated    adam reviewed
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