Shortly after the pandemic imprisoned Spain, Joseph Maria García received a panic call from her brother-in-law.
“He told me not to worry, but I should do a Google search for ‘the worst person you know,'” García said. “I put it on and it was everywhere. I scrolled down and it was my face, my face, my face. I was wondering what’s going on? ”
Paranoia embraced him as he tried to figure out what had happened. In the photo, he posed in 2014 when he accompanied his brother-in-law, a professional photographer, on a business trip to Barcelona. Like his brother-in-law, asked García not to publish his name, was preparing for a photo shoot with an American writer, he asked García to stand up to adjust to the light.
The 34-year-old García photo then looked good – so good that the couple decided to upload it to the Getty Images catalog.
García vaguely recalled that in 2018. his brother told him the image was used to illustrate article for the U.S. satirical magazine. At the time, he paid little attention; Now browsing the internet, he realized that he had become a global memo. The picture was used to illustrate a frivolous piece about an intrusive colleague who usually speaks nonsense when he once heard a murderous remark about politics that no one could exceed.
“I wonder what will happen now,” he told The Guardian. “Will there be people here who want to know me? Or do you want to beat me?
He sought to reconcile his online awareness with life in Molins de Rei, a municipality with a population of 26,000 near Barcelona. He was extremely famous on the Internet, with a quick search for the phrase “worst acquaintance” yielding nearly two billion results, but the fact that it was in English meant few knew about his hometown or the marketing agency he works for. nothing about it.
“I went to work and everything was normal, no one greeted me otherwise,” García said.
His daily life rarely intersected with fame online until the journalist threw out hints at how to find him on social media. Messages spilled from all over the English-speaking world and prompted his brother-in-law to remove the photo.
But it has already come to define García online. “I have read comments that ‘he has a face in favor of Nazi supremacy’ or that ‘there is no empathy in my appearance,'” he said. He shrugged at the comments and added with a laugh, “I have a lot of pictures with that look – that’s what I look like.”
One of the few people around the world who shares his experience of having a face against them is András Arató, a retired Hungarian engineer who has publicly announced that his face appears to be a global memo, and in his case, “Hide the Pain of Harold.”
“It was a shocking experience at first,” Arató said. told TEDxKyiv. “I did not know what to do.”
Arató’s first reaction was to turn everything off by taking back the photos he was sitting on a year ago. When he calmed down, he decided to wait and see. “The only hope was that there were so many new things on the internet every day, people would gradually forget me,” he said. “I have to say I was completely wrong.”
His eureka moment came when he decided to regain his image and run his own Facebook fan page with videos and your travel stories. Offers of cooperation soon appeared, making Arató a celebrity. from a role in Hungarian television advertising a little part of the video about Manchester City.
More than two years after stumbling upon his meme everywhere, García, who described himself as restrained, came to terms with his exceptional status. “It’s not easy. It’s amazing how many millions of hits there are,” he said. “But it’s true that over time you start to see it differently.
For years, he rejected interview requests and decided to stay away. But in recent months, when he’s considering releasing a t-shirt with his memo, he’s opened up to a handful of media outlets. He stubbornly refused to be photographed – “so as not to spread it again,” he told one newspaper – alluding to the scars that remain.
He rejected suggestions that his memo might have been harder to accept than others. Instead, he drew attention to the online boiling debate over whether the photo depicted him as the worst person or whether he was captured by looking at such a person.
Nevertheless, the negative association was sunk during a recent appearance on Spanish television when he was greeted with the line, “You don’t have a bad person’s face.”
Television hosts playfully asked if he might be the worst person they knew, asking what commission they would charge if they provided face masks during a pandemic or tidied up after a party at a hotel. “Thank you for your sense of humor,” said one host when García turned out to be a charming guest.
He learned to rely on his sense of humor. “It’s pretty funny to me, it’s a good article. It doesn’t bother me at all, “he said. “It simply came to our notice then. Some ask me, “Are you all right?”
“Bacon fanatic. Social media enthusiast. Music practitioner. Internet scholar. Incurable travel advocate. Wannabe web junkie. Coffeeaholic. Alcohol fanatic.”