I guess I have an appearance that leaves many different people with many different impressions. One event in particular might make clear my meaning. A few weeks ago, after a long day of confusing and disillusioning people trying to learn English, I walked by a house where lots of parents and little people were sitting on the porch, bouncing basketballs in the driveway. The adults looked the way you might imagine the people on COPS to look in the rare few moments when they aren’t strung out, drunk, fighting, or fucking strangers(or am I just confusing them with most of the neighborhood’s residents?)/ I was carrying my length-wide book bag, the kind with a strap that goes over the shoulder. One of the kids, nicely enough said “Hi, mailman.”
If memory serves, I responded “Shut the hell up, you little idiot. I realize you haven’t been on the earth all that long, but you should have better powers of recognition than that.” Come to think of it, that’s not exactly what I said.
My response was more along the lines of “Well, I’m not the mailman, but hello, buddy.”
This funny little interaction reminded me of a similar interaction I had eight years ago, similarly heading home from work. I was wearing my smart, ridiculously authoritative looking Pinkerton uniform. I was some dozen yards away from a playground full of kids a year shy of kindergarten and some little girl knew just the right words to embarrass me “Hi, policeman!”
Of course, having read the Security Officer’s Handbook, I was ready to bring clarity to her confused little mind, “M’aam, that’s not entirely correct. I’m a security officer, not a police officer. I do not have the power to arrest people or to interrogate them; furthermore, I can only detain people or use physical force in limited situations where I can prevent violence.” In actuality, I was relying on her to read between the lines of my simple, strategic response which was initially a lame attempt to refuse the title that devolved into laughter and culminated with a wave.
The many people I impress have all sorts of misconceptions about me. I’ve had women tell me they were almost certain I was related to Brad Pitt. Noam Chomsky routinely contacts me via my pen names’ email addresses, asking if me if I am in fact his evil twin brother-the Mycroft to his Holmes. Earlier in my life, during a particularly difficult stay in
California I was a body extra in . Most viewers who couldn’t see my face, but were still aware of the presence of a body double just assumed I was Ron Jeremy. There are many who have suggested that I be made the next Pope. Hollywood
Charisma and long-suffering aside, there are a few descriptions that I will not suffer. I will not tolerate being described as a “Republican Party activist.” I’ve never once said “I don’t care about his kids, and he doesn’t care about mine. Why should I pay taxes for his brat?" Therefore, I’m not qualified for such an appellation. While I’ve always considered myself cynical, misanthropic, and suspicious, my left wing sensibilities shudder at the idea of being labeled a “South African-Mercenary.” It brings to mind images of corrupt dictators using blood diamond swag to hire gunmen and prop up their rotten regimes. I’ve never had any rapport with any dictators, and as far as I know neither of the Castro brothers have set up a Twitter account. In a more apolitical vein, I need to make clear that I do not want to be known as an “avid television enthusiast.” My workplace doesn’t have a water cooler, but even when it did I never stood around waiting to strike up a conversation about American Idol, Friends, Dancing with The Stars, 24, or any of the other shows I don’t care for. I only watch dozens of shows that I enjoy. Lastly, I remember a friend of mine who had run on a third-party ticket debated third-party caliber people, one of whom described herself as an “anti-sodomy activist.” That woman’s mind must linger in some pretty strange part of the world if she dedicates her life to seeking out and suppressing buttfucking. Along similar lines, I’d prefer not to be referred to as a “budding pornographer.”