People can become memes for any number of reasons: an appearance on a TV show (Cash Me Ousside Girl), a scene from a movie (One Does Not Simply), or awkward or funny photo (Ermahgewd Girl).
But the place that loads of people source their OG content for memes is stock photos and one of the most popular characters is Hide Your Pain Harold.
The internet went wild for the stock images of Hungarian Arató András because there was so much goddamn material to work with.
In one photo he is a doctor, the next he’s a painter, then you see him at a table eating, on the computer, exercising and with a female pal.
While he has a range of looks and seems to be pretty excited about being a master of all trades, he got his nickname through the assumption that he is smiling through gritted teeth – kind of like when you have a fight with your parents at a family function and just as it’s getting heated someone wants to take a happy picture.
The 72-year-old has told LADbible how it all started. He said: “First a photographer saw a holiday picture of mine on the internet and asked me for a trial shooting.
This was one of the photos that caught the attention of a photographer. Credit: Supplied
“I said yes, but that time I was not quite aware what stock photos really are. After a little while I uploaded some of the pics to Google images to see what they are used for.”
It’s believed the first memes of his stock photos began appearing on Facepunch in 2011 and it took off from there.
Later that year a Facebook page called Hide Your Pain Harold was created, with another popping up a short time later calling him Maurice.
WATCH: Before he found fame, Arató was on a Hungarian game show
Unsurprisingly, the stock photos appeared on 4Chan, where users made a backstory for him, describing him as an old man with such a diverse life but that he was unable to satisfy his hunger for happiness.
He even took part in what seems to be like a public
service announcement for people to be wary about putting their photos online –
as they can be at the mercy of anyone.
While many thought it was one of the funniest memes, Arató wasn’t laughing: “To see the first memes was a shocking experience.
“It took several years until I accepted the situation.”
Arató says while there were a few that did make him chuckle, the sheer growth of the meme was confronting.
Once he accepted the reality that there was no way to get rid of them, he found solace in his new-found fame.
His status as a meme has reached the upper echelons where
only a few permeate to this day. His meme status has even transcended beyond
the computer to be a part of everyday things like coffee cups and skirts.
He now enjoys his retirement, however, before that, he was an electrical engineer for many years and was once the President of the Hungarian Lighting Society.
He regularly gets stopped in the street by people in Hungary, most of whom politely ask him for photos or just say, ‘Hello’.
The one thing that Arató wants to be put on record is: “I’d like people to know that I’m more than a funny guy with a painful smile.”
Featured Image Credit: HideYourPainHarold Facebook