The Man Bigger Than the Meme


wood sitting on a bed is a

viral photograph of a man

sitting on the edge of a bed completely

nude the original image

has been around on the internet for

quite some time now

it's recently exploded online on the

context of the coronavirus pandemic

as a bait and switch image


people began sending text messages

with fake news about the coronavirus

paired with a link to the picture

this photo of wood has become one of the

biggest memes

we've seen this entire year

the identity of the man in the photo was

a mystery until recently i had a friend

send me a text hey didn't you take this

picture and i had to look at the picture


say five times blinking my eyes like

wait a minute that's my dog right there

never believe what you hear or see

on the internet there's more behind that

picture we all have a photo

that we probably wish oh my god i wish i

would have done that

once a photo of you spreads online you

have absolutely no control over what

happens next

you could wake up one day and have your

life turned upside down by

every single person on the internet

knowing your face

there we go i think these are them

yeah testing my lighting so that this is

oh and there's me being a

weirdo my name is walter smith i'm the

owner of pantheon productions

we produce gay daddy bear horn

i shot the scene with wood on january 14

2010. wood and i met at

what was then the gold's gym in san


there's a handful of straight guys who

worked out there and he was just super


every time he saw me i'd walk in the gym

and he'd say

big walt and he'd give me like that bro

handshake you know like grab my hand and


like slam into me at some point i told

him what i did for a living

when i asked him if he would be

interested in taking some photos

he was a little hesitant at first but

you know eventually he was like yeah

i'll do it as far as i know it was

wood's first shoot

and only i remember because you know

he's a straight guy a little nervous

the photo of him on the bed sort of

leaning forward i do remember that

that's sort of

it's one of my favorite poses of guys so

i specifically asked him to do that

and then here of course is the

picture i took this picture of wood more

than 10 years ago

and then suddenly 10 years later it's

all over the internet it's everywhere

it's a meme


my name is don caldwell i'm the

editor-in-chief of know your meme

i know your meme is the world's largest

internet culture encyclopedia and


of all the coronavirus related meme

entries i know your meme

wood sitting on a bed has the most

interest in pages

this meme really started as a photo

posted to the porn website pantheon

productions in 2010.

the photo was also photoshopped later

to have woods penis massively enlarged

and then it started circulating through

various sites like reddit and 4chan

in 2014 and really remained on these

back channel forums until 2020

when it went mainstream during the

coronavirus pandemic

as this meme began to explode on the


no one knew his true identity people

called him wood

sometimes berry but it was later

discovered that his name was

warty jo bear iii who had unfortunately

passed away in 2016.


my name is karen jo bear and i

was awarding joe bear the third


bishop valentine contacted me because

someone has sent it to him i want to say

it was

earlier this year of 2020 is when i


got the text message saw the picture

so i'm sitting on my bed and

i had an ex-co-worker send me something

through facebook and my inbox

she was like is this your brother i was


i saw this picture of the new la rams


with the head of warty and i had to look

at the picture about say five times

blinking my eyes like wait a minute is

this who i think it is

those photos really weren't even who

ward he was

let me tell you about the personality of

warty jobert iii

the biggest personality he loved to


to joke he also loved to eat

and loved a good meal still hungry look

y'all still hungry

so my brother was like the life of the

party but nobody was dancing my brother

started dancing

he made the whole party dead this guy

could play

baseball he went from this little skinny

like shortstop to this fullback so they

started calling him the wood

for how he would have the back

and be swinging and it would be

somewhere so they gave him the name the


the wood what he played semi-pro

football throughout san francisco

as a teammate on the field he was

a leader i would always say damn i'm

lucky he's on my team

i actually gave warty's induction speech

when he

was inducted into the minor league

football hall of fame

i had heard about his football camp he

had kids and youth and how he used to

train him and so forth and he was

patient with the kids he was loving with

the kids but he would push him


good job good job my brother was a very

loving person he would give you the

off his back

he was a deacon in the church he didn't

thump the bible he didn't throw the

bible but he lived the bible

he was working with our church they did

a lot of the street work that

others were afraid to go and do they

would go out there and just feed

hundreds of people every week

he was giving away so much money and

food and things to people

but he couldn't barely afford his own

mortgage at times

i discovered from morty was he had did

some photos to actually earn some money

because he was having a financial


at the time that was a bad year so i can

understand why he did that he did that

to save his house

i never knew anything about it but i'm

not going to i never would judge my

brother because he would never judge me

i don't know the motivation of that


it probably was desperate we've all done

desperate things that we probably are


are proud of but at the time in our


i never knew that anything was at the

point where

you know he would go to that extreme


desperate times call for desperate


morty jo bear iii passed away

in december 2016.

it was a heart

attack sorry

uh my

miss him i miss him today i miss him

every day

it has been very hard with him not being


what he was like a mayor of san


well-known anywhere and everywhere he

went the mayor of the street

the mayor was one of his name and also

he called himself black jesus


so many people came out to his homegoing


and it was evident he was definitely the


i visited him on his birthday and i also

visited the day that he passed

happy birthday cupcake 46 food

46 yo crazy ass

when we lost warty we lost a great


great man great friend great brother

a great pillar of the san francisco

community you can't reduce any of us to

one thing

so you can't reduce them to this picture

at all with a meme like wood

i think it's sometimes easy to assume

that people are just laughing at him but

i don't think that's necessarily always

the case

a lot of times even for shock images

like this

people get an appreciation for the


people actually like him because so many


developed affection for wood as a meme

they started to like warty as a person

as well the gold fund me site

it was established to pay for the final

funeral expenses that were left as well

as to get him

a headstone looking at every one of the

comments and i'm i'm getting

teared up and full of the kindness and

generosity of people from all over

who didn't even know him thanks for

helping bring

smiles to so many people during these

difficult times

you've made a ton of people smile rest

in peace legend

memes do bring us together

in a way i think wood's uh usage

as a meme has kind of been approached

as a way to provide comic relief and and


during the coronavirus because people

feel scared they feel weak they feel


powerless and he looks the opposite of

all those things

people can get caught up in the photos

the memes or whatever

but we have to look at the bigger

picture what did he do for humanity what

did he do for the world what did he

do to help hurting people in the city of

san francisco and wherever he could

touch lives 40 is bigger than one photo

my hope would be that people get to know

the real water joe bear

yes if you want to honor him go out

and help someone who is less fortunate

is in need right now

give an encouraging word put a smile on

someone's face

with a simple message let that humor

that you received

from those photos helps someone we all

can't help each other

it doesn't take much