Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Truth & Avatars

For sometime now, I have been kicking around ideas in my head for a logo and/or online avatar for this site. Since I fancy myself somewhat of an artist, I decided that Sunday was the perfect rainy afternoon to sit down and think up some crazy doodles. While I’m not a professional, my first few caricatures came out looking like a weird cross between “Bill the cat” and Velma from Scooby Doo. I finally settled on what has been posted above and I admit that many of you will run into the streets screaming “It doesn’t look a damn thing like you!” And my response will always be: WTF! Neither did the character they drew of my daughter as Minnie Mouse at Disney four years ago, but I still paid the $40 and framed the damn thing for her room.

Cartoons are hard. I was going for that cute nymph-like “Yoga-Girl,” “Travel Girl,” “Latte Girl” style, but it came out looking more like “Over-Caffeinated, Annoyed, Sleep-Deprived, Big Hair Grrrl!” Let’s face it – no one wants a bad picture of themselves on the internet, let alone a bad self-portrait that makes you, by your own hand, look like Bea Arthur as “Maude.” I mean, even the vast majority of Van Gogh’s self-portraits only feature the side with the good ear.

As I sat drinking coffee and artfully using the eight shades of Crayola washable markers in the house that actually worked – caps on, ink not dried out. My 5 year-old sat down next to me intently watching what I was doing. “Who is that mommy? Hannah Montana?” he innocently asked and my husband chuckled. As I explained, he reached for the hot pink marker, looked at me, then my picture and asked “Mommy, can I draw a picture of you?”

“Sure sweetie,” I said, handing over a new sheet of paper, hoping this exercise would keep him occupied for at least 6 or 7 minutes. What I didn’t realize was the extent of how intently he was watching me. In just under two minutes, he proudly held up his masterpiece. There I was – glasses, highlighted hair and earrings – his version of me, a cross between Droopy Dawg and Mr. Happy.

He was very eager to opine that he thought his likeness of me was better. “See Mommy, I drew the same earrings,” and he pointed back and forth between his picture and mine. Then, as quickly as he had finished the portrait, he was off in search of a sibling to torment…or to draw other pictures of me…as it was eerily quiet in the family room.

Sitting in the kitchen, with the two drawings side by side, I started to loudly and uncontrollably laugh. The little smart ass was kinda right, because between his picture and mine is the real me. My husband looked up from his newspaper to ask what was so funny. I held up both pictures and then he started to laugh. But the 5 year-old, keenly listening in the other room, read our reaction as disapproval. Eager to please, he quickly ran back to the table with what he called "Mommy #2" -- see below.

This time the paper bore a large headline that read “10 Days Later,” and obviously, “Mommy #2” had gotten a Susan Boyle-esque makeover. While very similar to the original picture, a keen eye could quickly point out that my hair was either brushed more neatly or cut shorter, my glasses were gone (thanks to White Out), my nose was smaller, I was smiling and the one new detail that said it all – electric blue lipstick. Pleased with himself, the 5 year-old took both pictures and prominently placed them on the front of the fridge.

As one was “now” and one was “ten days later,” he had cleverly covered all his bases. My husband, however, did not, and upon noticing the drawings were now at eye-level by the fridge door handle said “Well, you did say you wanted to do something to kick start the diet.”

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