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How Memes and a Good Laugh Can Help People in Recovery

  • September 23, 2020

After creating @heckoffsupreme in 2017, Andy Hines, who worked as an accountant, began to attract more attention for his memes. He was hired to create content for a corporate social media account (this is the brass ring of the meme world — to create memes for a living). Mr. Hines made memes because “it feels good,” he said in a phone interview last year. “One of my big problems is that I bottle things up. It’s not easy for me to directly open up about things all the time. This is a really good way to do that.”

In doing so, Mr. Hines helped popularize this alt-comedy genre.

“With memes you either have it or you don’t,” Lauren said. “He had it.”

Mr. Hines, who learned he was bipolar in 2014, was honest and gutsy in his memes, but was also struggling. In May of this year, he died by suicide.

“I thought I knew where he was at, but I was 10 steps behind,” said Meghan Fitzgerald, 36, an accountant, who was married to Mr. Hines and is the mother of their two sons. She still cries every day. “Mental illness is misunderstood,” she said. “If it’s unchecked, it will turn into a nightmare. And for him, it did.”

George Ruscha, who got sober in 2002 and started posting memes in 2015, said, “I felt a little piece of my enjoyment for life went with him.” Mr. Ruscha has three meme accounts, including the popular @tank.sinatra.

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