Note: This was written for The Seven Deadly Sins on Sept. 8th, 2015, a rad show in Chicago where comedians, storytellers and writers perform pieces along the theme of the seven deadly sins. My sin was pride.
I love selfies. And more importantly, I think it’s great to love selfies. Because loving selfies is actually about loving yourself. And that’s the highest form of pride there is.
A quick backstory on pride: Biblical scholars say the sin of pride is the worst sin of sins. It’s like the sin version of Nickelback. Everyone pretends like they hate it. But when no one is looking and it happens while you’re grocery shopping, you’re at peace with it.
Pride is what transformed the angel Lucifer into Satan, the devil, the guy they made Hell for. So in the grand scheme of things, pride is pretty awesome, because without it, no Hell. And without Hell, no Metallica.
So to take selfies is to become closer to the devil, and the devil has way better art than god, anyway. Would you rather be more associated with AC/DC, one of the best bands of all time, or Five Iron Frenzy, the greatest early 2000s Christian ska band?
I take a lot of selfies. Just this last weekend I posted three selfies on Facebook. If you include Twitter and Instagram, I posted nine. That number jumps to about 30 if you include all the selfies I texted to cute ladies. If you include selfies I took to decide on which shirt and hat to wear tonight, it jumps to 912.
I take selfies to remind myself that I am alive, and that I am a person, and also that I think I’m cute as hell. And just think, for almost the entirety of human existence there wasn’t a way to let everyone know how good you’re currently looking.
You used to have to hire a guy to paint you, and you probably had to wear armor and a codpiece. And then when you showed the painting to your friends at a party, they would be like “cool” but when you left the room they later talked amongst themselves and were like “wow I think he overdid it on the codpiece.”
But thanks to the internet, now you don’t need a fancy painter! You just need a phone, which is in almost everyone’s pocket. And thanks to social media, you can get instant gratification.
For example, I posted a photo of myself wearing a totally boss t-shirt to Facebook and Twitter (you can see it on the left). It got 75 likes. But then my mom saw it.
She then tweeted this at me: “All hopes of more grandchildren poof with one lapse of fashion sense.” She sent that out in front of god and everyone. My screenshot of my mom talking trash? 140 likes.
Which brings me to my next point. A lot of my friends give me shit for taking so many selfies. But none of those friends used to be as fat as I once was.
You see, I wasn’t always this handsome. Yeah, there was a time before I was a perfect 10, ladies. In the last two years I have lost more than 65 pounds. Which is awesome. What’s not so awesome, is that before that I had gained 312.
My weight loss journey started for two main reasons, and both have to deal with pride. The first reason is because I saw a photo someone posted of me at an open mic. I didn’t realize it until I saw that photo, but my body had blown up faster than a famous person’s racist tweet. I could see a hint of my belly sticking out from under my shirt. That’s your body’s way of telling the world “hey don’t make out with me.”
And it was a plaid shirt. Of course it was a plaid shirt. If a man in his late 20s has no pride in his appearance, he’s usually wearing plaid. Plaid is the Gen X way of letting the world know you’ve given up. It’s body-size camouflage. It’s as if you were trying to hide yourself in some magical forest that looks like everyone in Milwaukee.
The second reason I decided to lose weight was because of my girlfriend at the time. She said I used to stop breathing in my sleep. And this freaked her out, most likely because she didn’t want to wake up next to a dead guy.
I had developed sleep apnea. I had gotten so fat that my body was like, “Let’s kill him.” I don’t like to call it sleep apnea, I like to instead call it “The Night Chokes.” Like it’s some bad BBC detective series.
After my girlfriend and I broke up, I went to the sleep doctor. He did some tests. I would stop breathing sometimes every other minute, which is, medically speaking, too many times.
The doctor said I had to start wearing a sleep apnea mask to bed. And if I didn’t wear it, I might die, but if I did wear it, I might die alone. I don’t know how many of you have to sleep next to someone making Darth Vader sounds all night, but love only goes so far.
I decided that I didn’t want to die in my sleep, but, mostly, I wanted to look badass in t-shirts. I made some changes. I quit drinking and stopped eating meat that wasn’t fish. I started lifting weights, and walking about 10 miles a day. I started using phrases like “swoll” and “shredded.” I flex my muscle whenever I get an opportunity. Like right now. (Writer’s note: I then flexed to oohs and ahhs.)
I also don’t suffer from sleep apnea anymore. Or at least I haven’t had any sleepover partners complain. (Also, they probably wouldn’t like being called sleepover partners.) And now I take and post selfies almost every day, because I finally have pride in how I look. It’s a sin I’m quite okay with. And you should, too. Thank you.