Dear Meme Manufacturer, I Believe I Was Mislead,

I am a long-time fan of your products. I found “Ten Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Nazi Germany” so entertaining that I forwarded it to all 116 of my social media followers, especially the Jewish ones. It’s fair to say “Panda-lympics” changed how I think about both gymnastics and morbid obesity.

I recently encountered your “The Funniest Wedding Moments Ever Captured”. Having a certain amount of experience with weddings — I’ve been married four times — it was with great anticipation that I clicked through to see what I was confident would be hilarious photos. But after a careful perusal of your offering, I am sorry to say the collection did not deliver as promised. Granted, there were some funny moments. Newlyweds falling off their chairs during the dancing of the hora is always funny. And it’s undeniably amusing to see homely people dressed-up as if they might somehow achieve beauty, especially when the bride’s enormous nest of mousy 1980s hair catches fire during the lighting of the unity candle. As I always say: if you can’t laugh at people less fortunate than yourself, who can you laugh at?

But “the funniest wedding moments ever captured”? Clearly not. Many of the photos were simply banal. A grandmother-of-the-bride groping a groomsman on the dance floor or a hormonally-awakening pre-teen peaking under the bride’s dress inspire smiles but not, as your headline surely implied, actual laughs. You also featured two photos of mishaps during the chicken dance — one pair of torn trousers on priest, one loss-of-balance resulting in a pile-up of bussers clearing off tables — despite the obvious fact that nothing involving the chicken dance can be, by definition, funny.

We all know of wedding pictures far funnier than what you offered. At my friend Chet’s wedding, for example, the pants of the drunken best man’s ill-fitting, rented tuxedo fell down during the toast. An obviously uncomfortable public speaker focused entirely on getting his speech right, he failed to notice. There is a photo of him lifting a glass with his pants around his ankles, his face twisted into a quizzical, confused expression because people were collapsing with laughter during what he thought was the teary, sentimental part of his speech.

At my own (third) wedding reception, the photographer gathered a group of adolescent step-nieces and nephews. The resulting photo captured two brothers from down-state in a comically identical pose: with their right index fingers embedded deeply in their right nostrils. That’s funny not simply because nose-picking is always funny, but also because the photo itself recalls the rich cultural vein explored by photographer Diane Arbus (1923–1971), who believed photography should capture “the space between who someone is and who they think they are.” This adds another layer of humor, given that the two young men in the photo have grown-up to be a variable annuity consultant for a prestigious insurance agency and the co-creator of an Internet sitcom. It is safe to assume the space between who these two young men appear to be in the photo and who they imagine themselves to be in their adult life is vast — though how vast is open to question given the goings-on of a sitcom writer’s room — and thus side-splittingly funny.

Though I’ve admired your work for years, on this particular meme I believe I was deliberately deceived. Your claim that these are “the funniest wedding moments ever captured” is clearly untrue, and appears designed to mislead readers like myself in order to attract “eyeballs” and increase your own profits. That is, plainly, civil fraud as defined by 40 U.S. Code § 123.

I have met with my attorney on this subject. Before departing abruptly with an urgent, suddenly-remembered need to be somewhere else, and having only skimmed my draft legal brief, she concurred with my analysis that memes designed to get readers to click-through to specific websites constitute advertising. As Federal Trade Commission guidelines put it, “advertising must be truthful, not misleading, and, when appropriate, backed by scientific evidence.”

Before re-engaging with my attorney (who is currently on what her administrative assistant calls “an indefinite unavailability”) I would like to give you the chance to make amends for what is, I’m certain, more an act of sloppiness than outright criminality. Because I viewed 14 slides on 14 different pages (see attached browser history), my calculation is that my clicks resulted in undeserved earnings of $0.0028. While that may not seem like much to a corporation like yours, as a matter of principle that money is, rightfully, mine.

Below you will find my Venmo information.

Writer, planner, marketer, political junkie, Cubs fan, whiskey sniffer, wine collector, wiseguy.