It’s a cliche by now:
We go to the beach and then we Instagram a picture of our feet, with the ocean waves in the background.
The token “Feet at the Beach” picture is actually a selfie, though we don’t necessarily immediately think of it that way. The camera is pointed at the feet instead of the face, but ultimately it serves the same purpose.
An efficient selfie of any form communicates the message, “Look at me right now and please positively validate my existence.”
And people do. A few dozen “likes” easily follow.
People enjoy helping each other celebrate life. People like to see their friends and family being happy.
But specifically, the token “feet at the beach” selfie communicates a certain message to its audience.
Here is how I translate the implied message behind it, from a psychological and analytical perspective:
“I am wishing to share with you that I currently am relaxing in a surreal state of mind. As you can see from my physical point of view, I am literally looking at the edge of the world, into the seemingly endless ocean; which serves as a metaphor for my life. The future is still unwritten; my life is still ahead of me. In this moment, I am able to escape from real life and share my perspective with you. (Now, please click “like” to show that you are celebrating this escape from reality with me; in hopes that you too will soon be able to enjoy such a view.)”
The next time you see a “feet at the beach” selfie, consider the paragraph above. Test my theory.
But I believe the reason it collectively resonates with so many people is that there is some familiar and universal psychology behind it.
And I believe I have officially put those abstract thoughts into black-and-white words today.
Week 25 (5 months).
If you are a regular reader of my “daddy blog”, then you know my writing style well enough to expect this to be a post about Jack being able to literally put his foot in his mouth- and by the end I will make mention that as he gets older he will metaphorically put his foot in his mouth by not knowing when to stop talking- as often is the case with guys. So surely I will need to throw in a reference to John Mayer’s song, “My Stupid Mouth.” But that would be too predictable. So no metaphors this time around- this entry is simply about my son discovering his toes and sucking on them. No “big picture” ideas today.
Jack has discovered his feet. I don’t know if he realizes they are his feet, though. Like the way a dog chases its tail, providing hilarious entertainment for spectators, so is Jack’s love/hate relationship with his feet. I’m assuming that he thinks his toes are little grub worms, and forgetting that the only “solid food” he is eating right now is crushed up oatmeal and bananas, not grub worms, he decides to attack his toes when they are not looking. And might I add, he gets ’em every time!
His slobber is noticeably thick this days, so each time he bites his toes with his toothless gums, the end result somehow reminds me of every alien sci-fi movie I’ve never seen, yet still recognize the image for. But aside from the humor of watching Jack sneak up and attack his toes, and aside from the grossness of it, is the surprising element of it: A baby, with the body proportions of the Michelin Man, is limber enough to easily stick his foot to his mouth anytime he wants.
I completely admit that in the middle of typing that last sentence, I had to stick my foot to my mouth to see if I could do it too. I can. But not as effortless as Jack.
Bonus: Last week I was interviewed and quoted in a Mother’s Day article by Megan Mattes, on Parents.com. Click here to see it.