As Dave says here, we’re remodeling this blog a bit, starting with the title image, which for the last few years has been a portrait of me at work, drawn by the fashion illustrator Gregory Wier-Quitton.
My likeness online is not in short supply. Here’s a sampling from a DuckDuckGo image search for my name:
Dave likes this one, from Flickr:
He also doesn’t think the current title art (which it is, literally) looks like me. I don’t either, for an odd reason you might not guess: I don’t wear glasses except when I’m staring at a screen. Or out in bright sunlight. And even then, I just wear off-the-shelf shades: typically the polarized ones that cost $21.99 at CVS.
In fact, I did wear glasses most of the time between my senior year in college and the end of the millennium. You can see me with them in the title image of my original (1999-2007) blog:
That’s from this photo of the four Cluetrain authors in the summer of 1999:
That design was by Bryan Bell, who designed many of the early blogs.
I wore glasses because studying a lot (which I didn’t bother doing until college) made me nearsighted, and reading and writing for a living kept me that way until I tested the theory that myopia is to some degree adaptive (and why studious kids seem to need glasses more than kids that aren’t). Starting in the ’90s, I tried to wear glasses as little as possible. That theory was proved, at least empirically, by vision improved to the degree that I no longer needed them to drive. That happened in the early ’00s. (My driver’s license doesn’t say I require them, and my vision is now 20/15 in my right eye* and 20/30 in my left.)
I also don’t think it’s right to use a shot in which my head still had enough hair on top to comb. Until my late ’60s, I thought I was free of the family curse (on my mother’s side), but then most of my hair fell out as if I was on chemo. While it’s true, as Dave says, that I’ve had hair for most of the time I’ve been blogging—and for the much longer stretch of the time I’ve been writing—the simple fact is that I no longer look like I did when I needed a barber. Also, in 2017 my eyelids were surgically liberated by removing the forehead that was falling down into my vision, disabling my eyelids and squeezing my eyeballs out of spherity. (This was a medical move, not a cosmetic one.) This also altered my look.
Somewhere in the oeuvre of Fran Liebowitz she advises readers worried about their aging faces to confront a mirror and realize this: “It only gets worse.”
With that and the spirit of renovation in mind, does this blog need an image of me on top? I could fill my screen and yours running down a list of fine blogs and newsletters that don’t feature their authors’ image in a header—or anywhere except maybe an About page.
For example, I love how Dave’s blog is titled with self-replacing images from his own library. If we were to do that here, I have 6 TB of photos we can choose from, with more than 66,000 of them on Flickr alone.
But hell, maybe we could just use the most recent photo of me. This one was shot yesterday over breakfast downtown (at the Bucks Woodside of Bloomington, called Uptown) by my pal Dave Askins, after we discovered that the silverware was not only ferrous but well-magnetized:
My wife hates that shirt, and that napkin is kinda weird, but here’s my thinking on the whole thing: at 76, I’m still alive† and having fun. Such as right now.
*My right eye improved to 20/20 until it got a cataract. When that became annoying, I had the cataract removed and replaced by a fixed lens that improved my vision to 20/15. The left eye also has a cataract; but can still focus, which is why I haven’t had that one fixed. Once it’s fixed I’ll need to wear glasses again: ones with progressive lenses, so I can read and look at close stuff. Meanwhile, I’m holding off.