There I was, in the Congo. Wild animals all around. I focused the camera, looked at the lens, and, let’s just say, the carnage wasn’t pretty.

Okay, I wasn’t in the Congo. But there were wild animals and I did focus the camera lens. And oh, the carnage.

Truth be told, there weren’t any wild animals, either. But the bulls were running. Men, dressed in white, wearing red sashes ran through the streets. The noise caught my attention first. Feet slapping on cobble stoned streets in Barrio Alto, Lisbon, Portugal. They approached without warning and with such speed I jumped from the sidewalk into a doorway.

The stars shone that night. The air, crisp and clear. Shopkeepers stood in front of their businesses beckoning for customers, gesturing toward their front entrances, handing out cards and coupons, “Try the fish.” “We have pizza.” “Come, join us.”

They smiled, the night was young. A bachelor party of men outfitted as mozos (runners from the bulls) chased a single man dressed as a cow through the narrow streets and skirted bistro tables that sat awkwardly along the steeply sloped alleyway.


My husband and I entered the establishment. The barkeep smiled and poured us a small draught of local brew while passing along insider tips about local restaurants and tourist attractions. “Don’t take the train up north if you value your wallets. Visit Pena Palace for spectacular views.”

We talked for a while as I swiveled nonchalantly on my barstool which had been screwed into the back edge of the platform from which it perched. My husband stood casually behind me.

“Smile,” I said as I pulled out my phone and held it above our heads. A picture to commemorate the evening.

“No, that’s no good. Let’s take another.” And another. Five or ten pictures later, frustrated at the poor photography, I precariously leaned against my husband for one last photo.

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His boot heel slid off the platform as he momentarily lost his footing. In doing so, he grabbed my shoulders, only to have gravity overpower him and he slowly fell to the floor.

The chain of events could not be undone. I quickly grabbed for the bar top while my fingertips slid from the polished granite counter. Unable to maintain my upward position, I too, gradually tumbled from my seat. “I gotcha,” I heard my husband mumble as I landed squarely on top of him.

We laughed, dusted ourselves off, and stood back up. Down the street, the party raged on. The stars still twinkled, only our pride slightly shaken. A short while later, a colleague emailed us an article from the Ireland Journal of Medicine. The number of selfie injuries has quadrupled in recent months.

So, the next time you’re in the Congo, or the wilds of Barrio Alto, or the backwoods of Lakeland, please remember: Selfies are hazardous to your health.


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