Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Selfies Are A Lousy Way To Take A Picture

I've been a mother for sixteen and a half years and we have never had lice. 

Quick, give me something made of wood so I can knock on it!

I'm not one of those snobby people who thinks lice could never ("neveh, neveh, neveh") happen in my emaculate home. This is the real world. Sh*t happens; so does lice. And, believe you me, we've had close calls. A voicemail from daycare, a notice sent home in an elementary school backpack, a veritable epidemic at gymnastics camp. I've bought the skinny-toothed nit combs; I've examined the scalp. (I've even experienced the psychosomatic itching.) But, to date, thank-you God, we have not had a single louse in the house. 

Amen, sister. 

What we have had our share of are "selfies," the ubiquitous self-portraits that today's teenagers take (and take and take). These get posted on Facebook; they are Instagrammed and Tweeted and Tumbled and who know what else. "Here I am in my room." "Here I am with a bowl of Doritos." "Here I am with my new haircut." "Here I am trying on Sophomore Semi-Formal dresses." "Here I am." "Here I am. "Here I am."

Old-timers like us don't know from "selfies." I'm not sure whether it's because shooting a self-portrait with an old-fashioned camera (remember film?) would be awkward, or because we had nowhere to show them off. My husband (a high-tech professional, but an analog guy at heart) once told me that he was about to take a "facey" because there was so much snow out front. I, being slightly, but only slightly, more fluent in mobile lingo, knew what a "selfie" was, but not what a "facey" was. I thought he was about to fall on his face.

For those of you who weren't born after 1990, basically the "selfie" drill is this: you pose, you point, you post, you wait for all your friends to hit "Like" or make insightful and original comments like "U so pretty."

My daughter isn't vain about her looks. (In fact, if anything, I think she underestimates how pretty she might be to the opposite sex, which makes my husband very happy.) But, she certainly puts up her share of "selfies." I know this because whenever I help backup her iPhone, I get to see all her photos. I try not to make a big deal out of it. So far, they've all been nice, smiling, fully-clothed.

That's the issue, isn't it? Between Justin Bieber, Amanda Bynes and Anthony Weiner (really, could the man have a more unfortunate name?), it's painfully obvious that "selfies" can get you into quite a lot of trouble. People, please. Put your junk away. No one really wants to see that.

And now there's something new to worry about. According to several stories in today's news, taking "selfies" is contributing to the growing cases of lice among teenagers.

Altogether now ... "Ewwwwwwww!"

Yes, the popular plural version of the "selfie" (a bunch of besties crowding together for a group self-portrait) seems to be the culprit. According to Marcy McQuillan of Scotts Valley's Nitless Noggins (a place I will never work), “I’ve seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year. Typically it’s younger children I treat, because they’re at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics." She goes on to warn that "Parents need to be aware, and teenagers need to be aware too. Selfies are fun, but the consequences are real."

On behalf of mothers of teens everywhere, thank you, Ms. McQuillan. Just what we needed, right? 

One more lousy thing to worry about.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com.   

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