OK, you may have already seen this since it’s casually blowing up the Internet faster than Kim Kardashian when she’s trying really hard. But I thought I’d bring it to your attention just in case. Photographer Eric Smith snapped a pic of the picture above when he was out and about in the Redondo Beach, Calif., area.
The picture was of a guy sitting on a boat who was so glued to his phone—perhaps entranced by a text or some version of “Candy Crush”—that he completely missed a humpback whale that slipped to the surface of the water just a few watery steps away from him.
Smith told CBS News: “He could have been texting his mum in the hospital for all I know, but I thought it sucked that he missed such a wonderful moment happening two feet in front of him.
And just in case you’re the non-nature-loving sort who might roll his or her eyes at that “wonderful moment” comment, you have to take a few things into consideration. I mean, first of all the guy is out on the water on a cool sailboat bobbing along with the sea breeze blowing through his, uh, ball cap and not seeming to enjoy any of it. But secondly, there’s the wonderfulness of the whale itself. It’s been reported that there are only about 80,000 humpbacks in the whole world, and a mere 20,000 in the North Pacific where this big guy was slipping through. In fact, that magnificent megapterine is considered an endangered species. And there it was, close enough for this guy to touch.
Smith said he had about five photos of the whale with the private sailboat in the background, but the guy never got off his phone in any of the pictures. And ever since, articles have labeled the event with everything from The Huffington Post’s “A Whale of a Fail” to Smith’s own “A Sign of Our Times.”
“We’re all guilty of being buried in our phones, even me,” the photographer Smith went on. “You think life is better on your phone, but we’re missing what’s happening around us.”