Photo: Ken Jack (Getty Images)

Some guy’s mom painted a nice painting and now Reddit is losing its collective mind. It all began with a simple post humbly stating, “My mom painted this and said no one would like it. It’s her 2nd painting.” Below this is a photo of the mom in question, holding a canvas that shows, as promised, a white egret, preening in some reeds.

Advertisement

Something must have stirred in the air at this point because, before long, the first post was followed by one of a man holding a painting of the mom holding a painting. And then a woman holding a painting of the man holding the painting of his painting of the mom holding her painting. And then one more iteration of this chain for good measure.

These four photos are enough on their own, but they are not the end. No, the loop has continued to spiral outward, with more (and more, and more) paintings pushing the pattern forth.

Advertisement

Twitter user Nick Kapur has continued documenting the phenomenon, finding mutations in the strain along the way. Below, we find multiple branches of the original painting-in-painting path.

Advertisement

Another person made a cartoon of Kapur’s painting recursion tweet, opening infinite doorways to new realities in the process.

Advertisement

Someone craving the illusion of finality foolishly attempted to “close the loop” by reinforcing the primacy of the majestic first egret. The internet, however, moves much too quickly. The loop continues.

The web of images has, in fact, grown so complex that it’s prompted Twitter’s nubleh to create a labyrinthian website mapping the bewildering terrain of the image’s current existence. Of course, it was probably out of date the minute it went up.

Advertisement

Lest we lose sight of what prompted all of this, the CBC is here to help. Its reporters have tracked down the genesis mother, a teacher from Jacksonville, Florida named Cindi Decker, chronicling her reaction to discovering her new title as “the ‘honorary mom of Reddit.’” When dealing with near-infinite patterns of internet recursion, a good outcome is never assured. That we can put a bookmark in this story by learning that Decker has assumed her rightful place as Reddit’s kindly, bird-loving matriarch, is something to cherish.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com