How I Imagined X as A Kid vs Actual X meme example depicting kidnappers depicted in spongebob.

How I Imagined X as A Kid vs. Actual X

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Updated Apr 11, 2023 at 04:38PM EDT by Zach.

Added Apr 11, 2023 at 03:36PM EDT by Phillip Hamilton.

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How I Imagined X as A Kid vs. Actual X is a phrasal template used in a series of exploitable image macros comparing what someone thought a certain type of person, such as a "kidnapper" or a "drug dealer," looked like as a kid vs. what they actually tend to look like IRL. The memes often use imagery from SpongeBob SquarePants and began on iFunny in May 2019, gaining virality on the /r/BikiniBottomTwitter subreddit in December 2019 and becoming increasingly popularized on sites like Facebook, Reddit and Instagram over the following years.


On May 23rd, 2019, iFunny[1] user Meme_Beast_2015 posted a meme using two side-by-side images of The Hulk, one where he's roaring and one where he's put-together, writing over the left one, "what I thought drug dealers were like as a kid" and over the right, "What drug dealers are actually like," garnering over 90 smiles in four years (shown below). The meme was reposted to /r/memes[2] on September 23rd, garnering over 15,700 upvotes in the same rough span of time.

what I thought drug dealers were like as a kid: What drug dealers are actually like:


On October 14th, 2019, a version of the meme using SpongeBob characters to represent drug dealers was posted to Imgur,[6] gaining over 1,600 upvotes in four years. On October 15th, a now-deleted Redditor reposted the meme to /r/memes,[3] garnering over 34,900 upvotes in four years. The meme was recreated by Twitter[4] user @weedthotss on December 13th, garnering over 6,700 likes. On December 27th, a version of the meme was posted to /r/BikiniBottomTwitter[5] about kidnappers, garnering over 57,000 upvotes (shown below).

How I imagined Kidnappers as a kid Actual Kidnappers VO

On January 5th, 2020, the Facebook[7] page University of MEMES posted a version of the meme about depressed people, which was reposted by Instagram[8] user memeslobber on January 8th, garnering over 36,000 likes in three years (shown below, left). On March 22nd, Instagram[9] user zarposts posted a version about high schoolers, garnering over 61,000 likes in the same rough span of time (shown below, right).

How I imagined depressed people as a kid Actual depressed people How I imagined High Schoolers as a kid Actual High Schoolers GO

On March 17th, 2021, Redditor ROCKSTARNO4251 posted a version of the meme to /r/memes[10] about murderers, writing over the right image, "how I actually look like," which was originally posted by iFunny[15] user Soselo in 2020 (shown below, left). On August 12th, Redditor HoxxAuthCode posted a meme to /r/memes[11] about cat snakes, garnering over 10,600 upvotes in two years (shown below, right).

How I thought Serial killers would look like as a kid How I actually look like 00 O The Cat Snake in real life. It gets its name by having eyes like that of a cat. What I imagined a Cat Snake is when I first heard of it as a child.

On February 7th, 2022, Redditor dilli ka-londa posted a version of the meme to /r/memes[12] that gained over 10,000 upvotes in a year. On August 18th, Facebook[13] page Okami Anime posted a version that gained over 20,000 reactions and 10,000 shares in eight months.

On March 13th, 2023, Facebook[14] page Deception, Fraud and Fakery posted a version of the meme about evil, using an image of Bill Gates as a true representation of evil, garnering over 9,400 shares and 20,000 reactions in a month (shown below). The meme was originally posted by Facebook[16] user Jammy prior to February 19th.

How I imagined Evil as a kid How it actually looks JAMEMES

Various Examples

How I imagined muderers as a kid How I actually look C BANG Actual How I imagined depressed people depressed people as a kid setus_iabetus Rest How I imagined drug dealers as a kid Actual drug dealers How I imagined the music industry as a kid @urmacademy actual music industry Co How i imagined drug dealers as a kid Actual drug dealers GO Okami Anime @okaminow

Search Interest


External References

[1] iFunny – memebeast

[2] Reddit – memes

[3] Reddit – memes

[4] Twitter – weedthotss

[5] Reddit – BikiniBottomTwitter

[6] Imgur – steventhesergal

[7] Facebook – university of MEMES

[8] Instagram – memeslobber

[9] Instagram – zarposts

[10] Reddit – ROCKSTARNO4251

[11] Reddit – HoxxAuthCode

[12] Reddit – dilli ka-londa

[13] Facebook – Okami Anime

[14] Facebook – Deception, Fraud and Fakery

[15] iFunny – Soselo

[16] Facebook – Jammy

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