Granted, most cartoon characters only have four fingers on each hand and wear the same outfit everyday. So in that case, none of us (assuming…) could be a cartoon character, accordingly. But with action figures, it’s a whole different story.
Since the 7th grade, I haven’t been able to commit to a haircut. I am constantly growing my hair out to a new hairstyle until it eventually gets too long and I start back over again with a buzz cut. There is a progressive series of hairstyles I go by that has been subconsciously modeled after Jewish actors (I have an Asperger-like obsession with all things Jewish; most people have learned to overlook it by now). I start with the David Schwimmer, then Zack Effron, next Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then David Arquette/Bronson Pinchot, and lastly, the Zack Braff. But it’s not just the lack of a consistent hairstyle that prevents me from being a cartoon character who looks the same day after day, throughout the years. I’ve got three different pairs of glasses, though often I don’t wear them at all. Plus an enviable collection of hats, from ball caps to fedoras to “old man caps”. Sometimes I grow a beard for a week or two. I’m just not a physically consistent kind of guy.
Last week, I went back to the Nashville Chocolate Kitchen after having visited there for the first time a week ago, and when I walked in, the staff remembered me by name (which in addition to their unimaginably awesome gourmet sweet treats, is one of the things they are known for). I was impressed that they recognized me since the first time was I there, they met the “glasses off, hair pushed-to-the-side” version of me and this time it was the “glasses on, hair pushed back” version. I felt compelled to explain my change in appearance to them, but I refrained since they obviously could handle it.
I just think that I particularly don’t have what it takes to be comfortable in being physically consistent regarding my appearance. Like The Boss says in his 1984 hit “Dancing in the Dark”, “Man, I’m just tired and bored with myself… I want to change my clothes, my hair, my face.”
But my realization is ultimately that I am not an easily recognizable person, in general. My hair, clothes, and accessories just simply help distract fro my indistinguishableness. I am a default-looking man of classic proportions; like the host of a show on The Food Network or HGTV. Since being featured in American Baby magazine this month, I’ve had more than one person tell me they didn’t realize that was me until they saw my name- the picture didn’t clue them in at all.
I try to imagine if I was an action figure based on a fictional character, who I would be. Throughout the past decade, countless people have told me I look like Clark Kent. And I see that, but the problem is that Clark Kent was already a large muscular man in a business suit, before turning into Superman. At 5’ 9” and weighing in the low 150’s, I have a frame similar to Bruce Springsteen or Greg Kinnear.
So maybe Peter Parker (Spiderman) is the best option. Though I could be Dexter (played by Michael C. Hall). Or Bruce Banner on The Incredible Hulk TV series (played by Bill Bixby). Or Maxwell Smart of Get Smart and/or Inspector Gadget (both played/voiced by Jewish actor Don Adams- surprisingly, I have also been told many times I look like both). I would totally make a better action figure than I would a cartoon character because action figures typically have several different versions of themselves: There’s He-Man in his robe (Adam), He-Man with the revolving chest as it gets damaged (Battle Armor), “Flying Fists” He-Man… But cartoons typically never change. (Maggie Simpson is like 21 years old in human years, “but in Simpson years”, she’s still a baby.)
I am easily disguisable. Coincidently, it’s in my nature to be a chameleon; not only in appearance but also in personality. I would make a great spy. If nothing else, I can very easily get away with going back every five minutes to get more free samples at grocery stores.
Unsurprisingly, I enlisted the help of facebook friends by asking them this question: “If I was an action figure based on a fictional character, who would I be? In other words, which action figure would you choose to best represent me?” Interestingly, they mostly named powerful intellectual mutants. I’ll take that as a compliment. But it’s funny to see how their perception differs from mine. My choices were pretty much normal men without superpowers or super strength.
Who others said should represent me as an action figure:
The Beast from X-Men
Leonardo, the leader of the Ninja Turtles
- Captain Planet (nice underwear!)
Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic of The Fantastic Four)
Maxwell Smart, the only fully human action figure any other person said I reminded them of
Who I said should represent me:
Peter Parker (before he turns into Spiderman)
Sam Witwicky (played by Jewish actor Shia LaBeouf in the Transformers movies)
Bruce Banner (before he gets P.O.'d about Nancy Pelosi and turns into The Incredible Hulk)
But really… I’m just glad no one said Pee Wee Herman!