by Greg Schwem
Elizabeth Warren, exactly what do you eat for breakfast?
There must be something in your cereal, your eggs, your breakfast smoothie, or whatever it is you start your day with, that allows you to take selfies with strangers for four hours AFTER you’ve completed the stump speech that you hope propels you to the nation’s highest office in 2020.
If I posed for that many photos, my first act as president would be to lock myself in the White House, alone, and not come out for four years. Want my signature on a bill? Just slip it under the Oval Office door and wait patiently. Eventually, I’ll push it back out. Along with an executive order banning selfies.
In your case, calling the photos “selfies” is misleading, for it implies that every one of your fans held their own phones, extended their arms, took the pictures themselves, viewed them with disappointing looks and said, “Wait, can we do one more? In landscape mode?”
Your loyal subjects hand their phones to a staff member who takes the photos. Other celebrities use similar methods. Two years ago, I was one of 1,500 fans who waited in a Chicago bookstore for over three hours simply to meet and take a photo with Bruce Springsteen. A member of The Boss’ security team took my iPhone and held the photo button down continuously for about five seconds. I was left with 10 pics, including one of Springsteen welcoming his next fan while my rear end exited the stage. I deleted that one.
Truthfully, I’ve never understood the desire to take, and post, photos of oneself, regardless of the background or situation. Several times a year I open my social media feeds to find someone has snapped a “hospital bed selfie,” taken just before the subject sees an emergency room physician or undergoes an operation. Invariably, the photos are accompanied with text such as, “Guess where I am?” as if the hospital gown wasn’t a clue. Seriously, what kind of medication makes a person think, “Hmmm, I have a tube in my nose, a needle in my arm and all my body hair has been shaved. DAMN, I LOOK GOOD!”
But the chance to rub shoulders with celebrities and come away with proof is a different story. My Bruce pic is on my office wall and elicits cries of, “Whoa, you met Springsteen?” from most who see it. Mere seconds after taking the photo, I posted it to all my social media feeds and happily read the comments expressing awe and jealousy. I’m sure 1,499 others were doing the same thing that day.
So, Sen. Warren, I understand your strategy. The more pics of you floating around cyberspace with everyday Americans, the greater your likability. I doubt President Trump even knows what a selfie is. Then again, it’s impossible to snap a photo while simultaneously tweeting and golfing.
But senator, are you sure this is the right strategy? With all those people waiting in line, chances are excellent at least one of them is a pedophile, a Ponzi scheme creator or a future school shooter. In 1978, after serial murder John Wayne Gacy was arrested, a photo emerged of him posing with First Lady Rosalynn Carter, taken just seven months prior. Oops.
Of course, you can’t possibly know the backgrounds of everyone waiting to smile with you, but would that stop vicious memes from circulating? Would it stop the hosts at Fox News from plastering that photo onscreen every time they mention your name? Doubtful.
I have yet to decide who among the Democratic candidates will receive my vote. But Sen. Warren, I do admire your grass-roots approach, not to mention your stamina. If you win, thousands upon thousands of Americans will be able to say they met the president of the United States.
Let’s hope they all know how to back up their iPhones.
(Greg Schwem is a corporate stand-up comedian and author of two books: “Text Me If You’re Breathing: Observations, Frustrations and Life Lessons From a Low-Tech Dad” and the recently released “The Road To Success Goes Through the Salad Bar: A Pile of BS From a Corporate Comedian,” available at Amazon.com. Visit Greg on the web at www.gregschwem.com.) (c) 2019 GREG SCHWEM. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC