March 4, 2019
Twenty-year-old nursing student and aspiring radiologist Aldrin Reginald wakes up in Philadelphia around 5 am. He rolls over and unlocks his iPhone to scroll through Facebook before getting out of bed. Recently, his newsfeed has been flooded with memes from a 285,000-member (and growing) Facebook group called “Subtle Curry Traits” (SCT). A self-described meme enthusiast, Reginald has at least 20 self-made memes on his phone at all times. He smiles to himself and maybe tags a few of his friends in the comments before he gets ready to head out to his 8 am class.
“I was very happy,” Reginald said of his friends adding him to the SCT Facebook group, sheepishly. “[Happier] than I should have been.”
Across the country in Los Angeles, at around 2:30 pm, 18-year-old Tejas Patel listens distractedly to his Integration and Infinite Series math class, a required course for his UCLA biochemistry major. He scrolls through his Facebook newsfeed and chats about SCT memes with his friend beside him.
When his mother texts him during class and warns him to avoid texting or picking up the phone in the rain — lest he is electrocuted to death — he and his friend burst out into uncontrollable howling and immediately race each other to send it to the SCT administrator for approval. Patel is ecstatic (and his friend “really salty”) when his version is posted to the group, garnering over 3,700 likes and almost 600 comments.
“I’m glad I found a meme page I can relate to culturally,” Patel said. “It’s a good laugh.”