Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I got the new profile picture anxiety blues

My steadfast contention that I am free of vanity is betrayed every six months when tradition dictates it’s time to change my profile picture.

I change it every time I change the oil in my Saturn, or about every 5,000 miles.

I have a goofy friend named Tim who changes his profile picture two or three times a week. His pictures are like mood rings. You see chipper Tim, pensive Tim, defiant Tim, playful Tim, grumpy Tim, heartbroken Tim, hopeful Tim, and devastated Tim.

So now I just think of him as unstable Tim.

Mine’s not like that. In fact, if you went back over the past few years my entire life could be described as: beard, no beard, beard, no beard, beard, no beard etc.

Some patriots believe the government is too involved in our lives.

I patriotically believe it should do more.

I’d like to see Congress mandate a set of rules regulating profile picture composition with some bureaucrat given final authority over whether we can or cannot use them in any social media.

It would take a lot of pressure off.

Just this week I considered using a cartoonish Simpson’s version of me, a woodland nature scene and a picture of me from before I had my sex change.

I mean from before I had my mustache.

But I consider that all kind of cowardly.

These isn’t a glamour shot I’m going to scatter about the bedroom to try and get the missus feeling frisky. If it were, my profile picture would be identical to one Matthew McConaughey uses.

These are the ultimate non-glamour shots. They ought to vanquish, not elevate vanity.

I try and smile because me appearing at all serious is utterly inauthentic. I skate through life grinning like a sedated mental patient so it would be misleading for me to appear grave.

For a while I was bold about mug shot integrity. Damn the torpedos -- my up-close pictures showed every scar, mole, splotch and gaping sinkhole pore that wasn’t concealed with unruly facial hair.

But as the flaws began to increase in population, observant viewers begin to spy more and more background in the pictures as I begin to recede further and further from the lens.

I was weighing whether or not I should try and hide the flaws or fear shocking viewers with the full ugly.

Worse, I began to wonder if visual plagiarism was beneath me. I began admiring other headshots and felt myself tempted to steal the cool poses.

I saw one great profile picture so engaging I thought, yeah, I’ll just pose exactly like that. I won’t be able to help looking super cool!

The problem was it was a 20-something free spirit flashing the peace sign, her long hair blowing in the wind. She, indeed, looked super cool.

I had my daughter take one of me mimicing the terrific pose and I didn’t look cool at all. In fact, I looked like a Richard Nixon boarding a helicopter bound for historical disgrace.

After nearly a dozen failed photo shoots, I finally opted for a prop: The backyard tire swing.

Tire swings have joyful connotations and I’m expert at installing them. I’ll bet I’ve put up half a dozen for my own and for neighborhood kids over the years

I thought people would see my mug encircled by one and say, “Hey, this is a cheerful looking gent. Seeing his smiling face in a tire swing makes me want to buy his book, which I see through his website is available for discount pricing. I think I’ll check it out.”

So far after four days this hasn’t happened once.

But I have had six people remark I look “tired” (should have seen that one coming). Two mentioned I appeared “well-rounded,” and one cruelly wondered, “Where’s Johnny Unitas when you need him?,” the inference being that that Hall of Fame quarterback skilled at tossing footballs through suspended tires could give my face a welcome bludgeoning.

Oh, well, I’m stuck with it and now have another 5,000 miles to go before I consider a change.

I fear the ensuing sessions will flip the cliche of photographic value and give it a taunting twist.

In the end, this one nerd will be worth 1,000 pictures.

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