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Drowning In Shallow Water refers to an art piece by artist Sako Asko titled "El Ahogado" showing a crying man sitting on the floor of a shallow pool of water, his whole body submerged apart from his face as if he's about to sink and drown when in reality he's in no trouble. The image was posted to Asko's Instagram page in November 2015 and became the subject of object labeling memes in the following years.
On November 25th, 2015, artist Sako Asko posted a piece of art to Instagram titled "El Ahogado." The piece of art, drawn in three panels, shows a crying man's face peering up out of the water as if he's drowning in the first two panels. The third panel reveals that he is sitting on the floor of the shallow pool of water and in no real danger of drowning (shown below). The post gained over 800 likes in six years.
The image became the subject of object labeling memes in the years following, used to jokingly describe someone who complains about something when they arguably don't need to. For example, on February 24th, 2019, Facebook page memedyafam and /r/MemeEconomy user Aimless_Devastator posted a two-panel version of the meme labeling the water "I can't I'm broke" and the man's submerged body labeled "Savings account I pretend doesn't exist," gaining over 26,00 reactions and 41,000 shares on the former and 36,500 upvotes on the latter in three years (shown below).
On March 25th, Redditor JackTheBorco posted a version of the meme to r/MemeEconomy where the man is drowning in a pool of water with labels including "simp" and "loneliness," gaining over 13,400 upvotes in three years (shown below, left). On March 7th, 2020, Redditor /hopelessnerd-exe posted a version of the meme about meeting reasonable deadlines to r/me_irl, gaining over 88,500 upvotes in two years (shown below, right).
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