You’ve probably seen it: a stock photo of a white-haired old man in a plain red turtleneck with the words “guess I’ll die” scrawled across his chest.

But the story of how Mike Baldwin, a 76-year-old retired chemistry and biochemistry professor, actually became the internet’s preeminent expression of fatalism has remained a mystery.

It was already known in the meme community,” Davis told Gizmodo over Facebook message.

The first recorded use of the photo as a reaction image on an internet forum, based on Tineye image search results, comes from a 2011 Fark thread.

“I was shopping for health insurance and I was struggling financially.

They had just raised my property taxes on my house for the 3rd year in a row and I was living past my means and watching my savings disappear slowly,” Davis wrote.

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