They say it’s better to let out your emotions instead of bottling them up. Because if you do look like you’re about to erupt, it’s quite possible that a picture of you on the verge of exploding might become the hottest meme.
Just ask this guy.
Veins popping out of his forehead and neck, eyes puffed with frustration, and the most uncomfortable posture around, this guy is obviously holding something in, which is what’s helped make the image go viral. The original joke is that this dude needs to brag about his dietary ideology every so often. But of course, thanks to the Internet, people have stolen the gag, altered it in whatever little way, and redistributed it as their own idea.
Not long after that post, on December 12, Twitter user @Sanchovies posted the same picture with practically the same text, swapping “10 minutes” out for “8 minutes.” You can tell that he’s also cropped out the original joke that was transposed on it, probably to help cover up that he was stealing the joke from elsewhere. Pretty much nobody was the wiser.
Around the same time, other people tried to land the same joke without attribution, using both the 10 minute and the 8 minute versions. But on Twitter, the 8 minute version was much more popular. Some people adapted the joke with a different image, which was a valiant effort, but none quite launched like the pic of the boy in the drawstring hoodie.
The original picture has a versatility that lent itself to creating a whole slew of spin-offs that invoke the sense of an impending meltdown because you have to say something important. That you’re a feminist, for example. In these meme creators’ eyes, these identifiers are associated with people who incessantly talk about being that kind of person. And, strangely enough, the 8-minute aspect has stayed constant across many of these remixes.
when you're from New York and you haven't told anyone in 8 minutes pic.twitter.com/JDDsfgPl08
— miss andry (@MurderGeeWrote) December 14, 2015
Some versions of the meme also tap into those identities and use different stereotypical topics for punchlines. For example, being a Donald Trump supporter who hasn’t said something racist lately.
But, like many memes, this image has been in circulation for longer than the two months that it’s enjoyed a spike on Twitter and Tumblr. In March 2014, Reddit user aaduk_ala posted the image to r/funny with the caption “Trying to hold a fart next to a cute girl in class.”
The joke quickly made its way to other Internet locales in the initial spread. Everyone from FunnyJunk to LADBible posted the same exact thing.
All this, inspired by the need to let one rip. Now that’s a success story.