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I Invented The Selfie

Please don't tell my mom I didn't.

This was me taking selfies back in 1994 on my first-ever trip to Europe two days after my high school graduation.

When I was growing up in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, disposable cameras were cool, or at least I thought they were. Every Bar Mitzvah or wedding I attended had disposable cameras for guests to use. I would go around to all the tables and take pictures of myself. It turns out I was taking selfies way before there was a name for it.

I think my mom thought it was funny the first time a friend’s mom called to say that they developed the pictures from her kid’s Bar Mitzvah and there were “quite a few pictures of Mikey’s face”. There were probably between ten to fifty pictures of me developed.

By the third or fourth time, a friend’s mom called, I was told to knock it off. I eventually got my own camera for my Bar Mitzvah. I casually carried on my hobby of taking pictures of myself with nowhere to display them. For years,I would get my travel pictures developed and the majority of the images were of my face. Of course, now everyone knows this as a “Selfie”.

Side note: Waiting to get pictures developed from a trip was such a curious process of wondering how they would turn out. I guess we don’t need to worry about that anymore. #nostalgic

The first official time I can remember traveling and rebuffing anyone offering to take a picture of me, was my first trip to Europe, right after high school, in 1994. I would turn the camera around a take a shot of myself. I loved taking selfies, even though others thought it was slightly odd at the time.

That first trip to Europe changed my life. I was excited to travel and do more and see more of the world. A few years after my first trip overseas I went back to London to study for a semester and I traveled extensively. This is where I let my selfies run wild. I took hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of myself all over Europe and Egypt. When I returned home from that epic travel adventure, I once again developed all my pictures. It was 1997 and there was still nowhere to upload the images.

I didn't think much about the pictures or selfies and went off to finish my junior and senior years at a new college, in a new city (Emerson College, Boston, MA). Traveling played a pivotal role in deciding to transfer colleges and move to a new city. I felt alive and inspired. I wanted to keep having new adventures.

When I returned home from college, I found on the wall in my room that my mom, who has always been the biggest fan of my selfies, made this incredible collage shrine of some of my selfies taken while studying and traveling abroad. She included pictures of us when she came to visit me in London and we went to Scotland for a weekend.

Check out how awesome this selfie collage is!! The collage has selfies taken with my buddies Gabe and Brian, as well as two very nice random people I met along the way: one from Austria, and the other from Germany. Oh, make sure you look at the detail around the edges. Mom used other images from my travels as the border. She killed it!

Even when I got in trouble for taking pictures of myself at Bar Mitzvahs, my mom would secretly tell me how much she loved my selfie pictures. To this day, if I'm with my mom and we see someone taking a selfie, she looks at me and says, “YOU invented that.

I did look online to see who got credit for coining the term “Selfie.That honor was given to Nathan Hope. In 2002, he used the word selfie for the first time in a publication or electronic medium.

“Um, drunk at a mate’s 21st, I tripped and landed lip first (with front teeth a very close second) on a set of steps. I had a hole, about 1 cm long, right through my bottom lip. And sorry about the focus, it was a selfie!”

A drunk Aussie gets the credit for inventing the “Selfie” for posting a picture of his busted lip! That's hilarious! The word “Selfie” was officially entered into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013.

So maybe the dictionary doesn't recognize me as the inventor of the word “Selfie,” or even as the one who coined the term "Selfie,” but my mom thinks I did, which is way cooler and more meaningful than any dictionary entry.

Besides, I do think we have an argument for being the first mother and son “selfie” collage “posted” on a wall.

See you on the open road,


(Selfies below)

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