|Mona Lisa had a bit of a reputation for selfies.|
Whenever we get a little time together, he makes it a point to ask me the stuff they can't teach you at school, real life stuff- for a middle-class kid his age, it's like striking the mother-lode, if you know what I mean. Naturally, I was fully prepared for a week's worth of existential discourses of the adolescent kind when I got here last Tuesday. To my disappointment, the boy has been silent, reclusive, locked up in his room.
"I'm leaving in a few hours," I say, "Nothing you want to ask me, buddy?"
"There is this one thing," he says.
There's never only been one thing before. This must be huge. The meaning of life, or why hasn't Morgan Freeman recorded a Bible audiobook, yet?- something massive.
"It's about selfies," he says, "Are you any good at selfies?"
My brain takes a couple of seconds to digest this information, and promptly denounce all bloody supply. I decide to clarify.
"And by selfie, you mean," I ask, "like a...self-administered...handy?"
"Way to dork things up," he says, "yeah, I guess. I just want to know if there's a recommended hand for maximum satisfaction."
Oh Karma, you son of a bitch.
"Well, selfies are besties," I say, "the important thing is that you use your hand. And with practice...just how long have you been..selfing... yourself?"
"I owe it to you really," he says, "ever since you gave me your iPhone! I can upload my selfies in seconds."
Oh God. Oh God, I have turned my eight year old nephew into an inadvertent self-pornographer.
"Ok, don't panic, Little Nephew," I say, "but you need to show me which sites they're on, ok?"
"Oh just on a Facebook group for like-minded selfie enthusiasts," he says, "I've put up so many I'm practically a legend to those guys."
No surprises, there. His physique must be genetic too, after all.
"Hey, don't let anyone tell you it's the frequency that matters," I say, "you'll only set yourself up for a fall."
"Oh I know," he says, "it's not that. I go the extra mile, and these guys appreciate it. I accessorize, you know? Sometimes I clip on a moustache, or wear a wig, or hey I even plopped on your Aviators once."
Naturally, I had to take it up with his parents. I couldn't confiscate his phone, he'd hate me forever. And I sure as hell couldn't explain it to him, it'd be like gifting Adam his first fig leaf. I suppose his parents were afraid of the same thing. Which is why on my advice, we did the responsible, adult, decent, thing- in the middle of the night, like particularly clumsy cat-burglars; I think my brother-in-law actually sat on my little nephew's face for a split second- we stole his iPhone. His parents thought it best that I hold on to it. And assuming I have my way, that phone will never take a call again.