Tuesday, December 7, 2010
A New Facebook Face
I am not a good Facebookie. Although I look at my friends' comments nearly every day, I seldom write anything myself and only occasionally comment on something one of my friends has posted.
I'm not sure why I haven't done much on Facebook. Anyone who reads this blog would know it is not because I am jealously guarding my privacy. My main hunch is that I haven't figured out how to write short, brief comments that my friends would all be dying to read. Again, this blog probably shows that my short-form program is not my strongest suit.
Anyhow, today I changed my Facebook picture. I had seen five or six of my friends change theirs, and it turns out they were changing their face to cartoon characters in order to fight against child abuse.
This is when Good Don and Bad Don had a little conversation on my shoulders. Good Don said, "You, too, should fight against child abuse. Change your picture to a cartoon, Don." But in my left ear Bad Don was whispering, "Just how do you think putting up a cartoon image for a few days is going to help stop child abuse?"
Surprisingly, Good Don won. So this morning, with only a few hours left in the movement, I changed my picture.
And that may tell you why I do not like Facebook all that much. Because it was very, very difficult for me to choose a cartoon character to represent me. Among others some of my friends had chosen Cinderella, Popeye, and Jessie the Yodelling Cowgirl. It became obvious to me that this selection of cartoon characters was pretty revealing about people's self-image, kind of a Rorschach on cels.
So how did I want my Facebook friends to see me? Well, I thought for a while and tried to remember some of the characters I liked as a child. The problem was that all I could remember was superheros and villains.
I did not think it would be a good move to tell my friends I thought of myself as Superman, Flash or The Atom. And as much as I liked the Plastic Man, I didn't think it was a good match for me today.
Moving away from the superheroes, I thought of the bad ghosts from Casper, Moose from Archie, and finally got one for my shortlist - a cartoon character from my youth who would still fit with my current image, Little Lulu's boyfriend Tubby.
But then it occurred to me that as much as it may be true, it was bound to distress some of my friends who would begin worrying about my self-esteem, such as it may be.
And then I thought of my absolute favorite villain from Superman, Mr Mxyzptlk.
I think it was my love of words that made me like him so much - for here was a villain who could only be defeated if Superman could get him to say his name backwards. A difficult task since it is all but impossible to say his name forward.
I think I also liked Mr Mxyzptlk because he really wasn't all that evil - not the blow up the universe or slip Superman a red kryptonite enema during his Super Colonoscopy. Nope, Mr Mxyzptlk was just a practical joker, a guy who liked to make trouble. But not that much trouble.
But of course that, too, could send the wrong message to my Facebook friends. I could practically hear them thinking, We always knew you were a pain-in-the-butt who liked to make trouble. And some of them would also note that there were often nights when I couldn't pronounce my name, either.
So, I switched tack. Who, I thought, is my all-time favorite cartoon character? And that answer was easy:
But you can only imagine what my friends would think of that choice. Especially those who saw the movie.
So finally I opted for the easy way out. This particular morning I was in below-freezing New York. My beard was white, my face was turning blue, and I was wearing a doofy cap.
That sure sounded a lot like Papa Smurf to this tubby, practical-joking devil.
But I see that everyone else has started to revert to their real pictures. I guess I would have been better off just making a quick choice and getting on with it.