Let’s start with the title of today’s post (as is my wont*): Old Familiar Faces.**
My first association with that title is this: My father singing that line to me, when I was a little kid. Right now, I can hear his voice, in my mind’s ear, singing it.
I now interrupt this reverie with some facts.
My dad used to sing me the 1938 song, “I’ll be Seeing You” sometimes, before he said “good night.” I loved hearing him sing that song.
Here are two YouTube versions of that song. The first, by Billie Holiday:
And this one, with Michael Bublé:
If you played***** either of those videos, perhaps you noticed something interesting.
If you didn’t, I’ll tell you: That line is NOT in the song.
So, in this post, already, we’ve encountered some interesting things about memory. It’s entirely possible I mis-remembered that. However, it’s also entirely possible that my father actually DID sing me that line. Why do I think that’s a possibility? Because of something I may have inherited from him: A great memory for music, but for the words of a song? Not so much.
If I had a tape of my dad singing that song, I could listen to it now, and check to see what lyrics he sang. But I don’t have that tape, so let’s move on.
As is my wont*, I have strayed from my original intention for this post.
And what was that?
To write about my mixed feelings and thoughts, regarding my choosing a new avatar****** for my appearances here on WordPress, as of January 1, 2014. At the beginning of this year, I switched — from the camel and the pyramid (which still adorns the top of my posts here) — to a photo of the big stuffed tiger in my son’s room wearing my latest pair of glasses (you can see this post for more about that).
What are those mixed feelings and thoughts? Well, they have to do with self-disclosure.
The issue of self disclosure is a big one, isn’t it? How much should I disclose about what I look like (and other things, too)?
Last year, I had a guideline about photos of myself, here, and that guideline shifted as the year went on (not surprisingly). At first, my rule was: No photos of myself. That shifted to this: No recent photos of myself. That shifted again: no obvious, recent photos of myself.
Everything can be a slippery slope, can’t it?
And why does that even matter — to show one’s face or not? I’m not sure why it matters to other people, but I assume it does. Here at WordPress, I notice different people making different decisions about that issue, perhaps giving some thought about what face(s) they choose to reveal.
On New Year’s Eve, I asked my son, “Should my avatar for next year be a photo of myself?” Because I was considering that change and — as usual — I could see the pros and cons of the different choices.
I love asking my son’s opinion (partly because he often has one). And his opinion was this: “No.”
My son is almost 16 years old and his experience, of course, has been different from mine (a 60-year old woman’s), in many ways. I’m sure he had many good reasons for that quick decision. But he’s not here right now, so I can’t ask him. (He’s with his father, today.)
In the meantime, I still have mixed feelings. But, for now, I’m staying with my decision, this (gr)avatar:
- I like those new glasses.
- That tiger reminds me of an old familiar face: a stuffed tiger I had when I was a little kid.
- That tiger was given to my son — on his birthday, several years ago — by some old familiar face(s), my friend Ada and her family.
- I’ve written, in this blog, about the importance of tigers to me (here, here, here, and here, for examples).
- Some experts have written about this: if somebody does not reveal details about self (including visual details), others can learn very important things from that person about themselves, due to the phenomenon of self-projection*******
- A new familiar face, here at WordPress, Russ Towne — who has a wonderful blog named “A Grateful Man” and a self-disclosing avatar — wrote this to me recently:
I love your new photo! It brought a big smile to my face.
Case closed! (For now, anyway.)
Thanks to Russ Towne, Ada, my son, my father, Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain (for creating “I’ll Be Seeing You”), Billie Holiday, Michael Bublé, tigers and experts everywhere, people who make choices every day about what to disclose about themselves, and to you — of course! — for reading today.
* The word ‘wont’ means “having a tendency to do something.” That word reminds me of an old familiar face from college — my roommate, Nancy. We used to listen to this routine from “Beyond the Fringe,” where the word ‘wont’ gets a big laugh. Now, that routine also reminds me of another familiar face: my son. Thanks to Nancy, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett.
** “The Old Familiar Faces” is also a poem by Charles Lamb, which — considering where I went to school — I should know more about. Nope, wait! I’m letting go of SHOULDs! Better. And now that I’ve done that, I can tell you this: it’s a wonderful poem and it’s here.
*** found here on YouTube
**** thanks to wellingtonpub
***** And if you get my posts via email, you may need to click on the title of this post, on the top of the page, to do that.
****** Called a gravatar, here at WordPress, a name I don’t like, because it reminds me of the word “grave.”
******* Called “transference,” in the psychotherapy biz.