For many people, the new year can mean a world of change, be it a commitment to exercise more or drink less, take up a 365 project or get set for a big life event such as a wedding or new baby.
For one New York dad, 2018 is already different – he has ditched his job to make his money by creating online memes.
George Resch, who goes by the name Tank Sinatra on Instagram, is upping the commitment to his social media account and his 1.3 million followers.
For Resch, 37, the opportunity came at a Goldilocks moment – another 10 years and he thinks he would have been too old and set in his ways while 10 years earlier (if the tech had been around) he would not have been ready.
Now though he’s all set. He left his job at the end of 2017 and is raring to go.
“I like making jokes. It’s my favourite thing to do, 100%. It’s not a chore to do it. Leaving my job, it gives me more time to find pictures.”
Finding pictures might be the time-consuming part of meme creation, but Resch’s skill is always in writing original captions. Adding his voice to something innocuous to give it an edge and, more often than not, to go viral.
By leaving his job, he’ll have more time to post more memes.
And Resch thinks his background – he was working in sales for a fencing company – makes his new direction all the more plausible.
“I had to perform anyway,” he told the Press Association. “I don’t think I would have done it if it was a huge risk. I’m not a big risk taker.”
He’s tight-lipped about the exact amounts involved but as part of making things work he has a year-long deal with dating app Bumble and his book Happy Is The New Rich was published in 2017. It offers single page ideas about how to live a good life.
And a good life for Resch centres on humour. He checks Reddit, Imgur and Instagram for potential material.
“When I see a picture – an animal, a person, I try to relate that to something in my life. It’s the ‘try’ that I like. Some people always get it.”
But does he get stressed trying to make 1.3 million laugh?
“I don’t feel the numbers because it has grown so organically. If I took over an account with millions of follows I’d feel it.”
Most of his fans are in the US, centred around New York, but with a pretty even male/female split.
Meme creators can often get heat for using pictures and pinching jokes they have found elsewhere on the internet. But Resch, who writes original captions, has dodged the complaints that have plagued others.
“The fatal flaw of meme accounts, the only Achilles heel, is that we don’t use our own pictures,” he said.
“If people come to me (after he’s used their image) I just take it down. The majority of people are really cool about it, but they want their name in lights.”
It’s taken Resch three years to get to this point. He initially offered up captions and pictures to other accounts before striking out on his own.
His account name Tank Sinatra plays homage to legendary crooner Frank Sinatra but Resch isn’t a big fan. He just liked the way the name sounded, is also from New York and, he too, has blue eyes.
He lives in Long Island with his wife Jessica, 35, and their two sons, four-and-a-half-year-old GJ, Bennett, nearly four months, and step-daughter Liana, 11.
“The name wasn’t a tribute,” he says about Tank Sinatra. “I wish I was a huge fan, that would be a great story.”
But Resch has a story behind him anyway. For someone who focuses on the funny and optimism he has been through dark days – at times a heavy drinker, drug user and a life he thought was not “going to be worth living”. But 15 years ago he got sober.
“I can’t believe what my life has turned out like. (Instagram) is a very new profession. I get paid to post as an influencer. It’s insane.”