Sunday, December 26, 2021

Souvenirs are Receipts

It finally struck me (because I'm slow) that the penchant for selfies (and, in previous eras, shutterbuggery in general), is largely about proving you were there, or that you met or befriended or worked with or slept with so and so. The photo is your receipt, and it's purely defensive. They'll never believe it, so I'd better be ready to prove it.

I have a different attitude. I've won the moment anyone doubts.

What greater compliment is there than the proposition that whatever you did is so awesome that someone might pretend to have done the thing you did? The disbelief, itself, is the trophy. Proof is entirely unnecessary. Counterproductive. Petty, even. Accept your trophy and move on.

Whenever I tell someone I founded Chowhound - and in the odd event they know what that is - I invariably get the same response: "You founded Chowhound?"

Polite people try to control their impulse to contemptuously curl their lip. Ruder people throw in a nostril scrunch. This scenario could be viewed as an exercise in humiliation ("A haggard dispshit like you did something worthwhile?"), but I've rewired my perspective. I've reframed it.

If it's worth going out of one's way to pretend to be me - or to have done what I've done, or been where I'd been, or met, befriended, worked with, or slept with the people I've met, befriended, or worked or slept with - in order to impress, that means I'm the very definition of impressive.

I'm not often assessed that way. No one ever pipes up in the dentist waiting room to inform me that I'm "the very definition of impressive" (if they did, I'd probably move to another seat). So this is as good as it gets in terms of human tribute.

So I never take selfies. I eschew receipts. I'll thank you for the touching tribute you don't realize you've paid me, take my win, and scram, leaving you to curl your lip, scrunch your nostril, and harbor any doubts you'd like.

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