I am one of the few weird folks who enjoys North Fork winters. However, in February I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy a little fun-in-the-sun time in Florida.

When I checked into my hotel, the temperature was hovering around 80 degrees. I hastily rummaged through my carefully packed suitcase for my bathing suit (so much for careful packing!) and headed for the beach.

The warm sand on my toes was a blessing; while the mild breeze blowing off the ocean was balm to my senses. I watched the Atlantic playing tag with the shore delightfully tickling my toes. It was a picture-perfect day, literally.

Meandering along the beach, I photographed the ocean, sky and different species of birds that dotted the shoreline. The “picture perfect” day encouraged others to do the same.

But wait … something was wrong. The folks taking pictures were facing away from the ocean with their cell-phone cameras held up high and pointing down. I took it all in — puzzled — until bingo! I realized these folks were taking selfies.

As I strolled along the shore, it was a repeat performance: folks were taking selfies, group selfies and boob selfies. Yup , you read correctly. A 20-something gal pulled down her bikini top and took a boob selfie. Right then and there, I knew I would write about this one day, and folks, today is the day.

The magnificence of creation should cause our hearts to quicken, moisten our eyes and fill our hearts with wonder. Instead, the selfie folks were totally into their ego-bloated selves.

It’s not only the younger generation that is guilty of engaging in the selfie-fixation, we do it too. Social media is full of inane selfies: I mean, really, why do folks post “eating selfies?” Photos of folks enjoying their beautifully prepared meals only serves to make me hungry. I don’t get it! Then again, I am guilty of not understanding the pandemic that’s sweeping our society — the “me-me” disease.

Did you check out the Grammys or the Oscars? Hollywood came out dressed in their best look-at-me outfits. What was once considered turning up the glamour and dressing in high fashion was downgraded to trash-dressing. The Grammys was the worst offender.

Women were dressed in Frederick of Hollywood style complete with thigh-high stockings held up with garters under scanty dresses that fell just below the hip. Instead of relying on their musical talent, they resorted to the me-me look.

The political scene seems to be the most infected on both sides with the “me-me” disease. While they are not scantily dressed, their duplicity shows through their shirt, tie and fashionable dress.

I watch with awe, disgust and confusion when personal agendas are bandied around in the guise of “this is what’s best for the country!” We hear lies, turnarounds, contradictions, apologies. At the end of the day, we are more confused!

What has happened to our society? Have we a become a narcissistic self-serving me-me people? Here’s a cautionary tale:

Narcissus is a figure in Greek Mythology known for being self-obsessed with his beauty. His vanity caused him to become disdainful of other people. The Greek gods took notice and punished Narcissus by causing him to fall in love with his own reflection in the water. Unable to leave his own image Narcissus withered away and died.

This myth should serve as an eye-opener.

According to the Association of Psychological Science the concept of narcissism is still alive, doing well and on the rise. Me-me folks aka narcissists have a high sense of importance and feel entitled. These folks often display scant amounts of empathy or none.

Many studies suggest that the use of social media has coincided with the spike in narcissism. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook has provided tools that encourage me-me behavior.

Incidentally, I read that 1,000 selfies are posted to Instagram every 10 seconds. Selfies are not classified as a mental disorder, yet. However, obsessive taking of selfies and posting them to social media has been linked to many mental disorders.

Sure, me-me people have plenty of charisma to disguise the negative aspects of their personality. Charisma is one of the most powerful tools for gaining success and power — and it’s the power that drives them.

Me-me folks have a tendency toward adoration that gives them the idea that they can get away with anything, even murder. Hmm. Sound familiar?

I feel “you know who” had a different idea in mind when he commanded:

“Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.”

When we squeeze out our neighbor and just love ourselves, we morph into me-me folks. Under all the makeup and fine clothing, we ain’t pretty!

The reality is: If you live your life as if everything is about you, you will be left with just that: you.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.