surprise.

You may have already seen this picture on the Internet, but you haven’t heard the story behind it. Because I apparently wrote about it only on Plurk years ago.

This has to do with the startling notion that people you’ve never met might recognize you because they read your blog or follow each other on Twitter or Facebook. When it happens, it’s funny — and a little startling.

It’s happened to me maybe a half-dozen times in the last five years, but the first time was the best. I was sitting in front of a computer at the Carnegie Library in Oakland, trying to figure out if a CD I was looking for was out on loan. I was sort of in my own world, so I almost didn’t look up when a woman with an armload of books quietly walked up and asked:

“Excuse me — are you Uncle Crappy?”

The woman was Gina, and while I would have met her at some point, I was awfully happy she introduced herself that day. But when it happened, I was completely stunned that someone would have A) recognized me and B) had the guts to stroll up and say hi (although I know now that Gina pretty much has no fear about that kind of thing).

I’ve often wondered what my face looked like when Gina approached me in the library. I even mentioned that Friday night in the midst of a Twitter conversation that started with Michelle mentioning that she had accidentally worn her YinzTeam softball jersey — complete with her online name Burghbaby on the back — to a neighborhood block party. Michelle likes to keep her online stuff separate from her personal life, so, yeah, oops.

When I said I wish I could have seen my reaction to Gina, she disappeared from Twitter for a couple minutes — and returned with a version of the above drawing, an artist’s rendering of my face at that moment (actually, this version was her second shot; she added the jazz hands after I uploaded the first one as my new Twitter avatar).

Looks just like me, don’t you think?

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12 thoughts on “surprise.”

  1. I am clearly an artist at heart. It is a very accurate rendering. And I couldn’t draw a beer because you didn’t have a beer that day, but SOME PEOPLE *coughdougcough* don’t seem to understand the basic rules of the library, so I will go over them:
    1. Shhhhh
    2. No beer
    3. Shut the fuck up
    4. JAZZ HANDS!

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  2. Also – sugarmagna? WTF?

    And it was only slightly weird to approach you, and that is entirely because if I had asked a stranger, “Are you Mike?” it wouldn’t be a big deal, but asking a stranger, “Are you Crappy?” might have been.

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  3. The undisclosed part of the neighborhood reveal is that I *knew* there was a block party going on, but it was supposed to be two doors down. I planned to go straight into the house and change, but when I pulled into the driveway after softball, half of the neighborhood was standing in our yard. D’oh!

    Sugarmagna is one helluva great artist. You’re lucky she didn’t charge you a fortune for that masterpiece!

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  4. Well as a fellow resident of BH, I have seen you (I think) twice while walking my dog (you were walking too). I am NOT too shy to say – hey, are you Uncle Crappy? – it was more that the brisk walk in opposite directions didn’t lend itself to the task. By the time I realized I was half a block away. So imagine the encounters that haven’t happened. And yes, the picture looks like the person I saw, so it MUST have actually been you.

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    1. Kristen: Because there are only about 5,634 people who walk dogs on our street each day, it’s going to have to be up to you to say hi. I’m looking forward to it, though.

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    1. OK, this is one of my favorite comments ever – didn’t spew coffee but only because I wasn’t drinking any when I read it.

      And if you really want to, take out the beard, add a ponytail for hair, and probably you are pretty close. Minus the jazz hands but only because I am always holding the dog’s leash.

      But UC is right, there are many dogs and their people walking through the neighborhood, so it could still be tough.

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    1. You are truly an amazing artist. I love, love, LOVE it. He will not have any trouble recognizing me now. I will still initiate contact next time I see him, if only to be polite. Since he is the blog star and all, and I am blogless. {Well I have a domain name, but am too lazy to do anything yet. But I guess I have my first image, so may as well start soon (don’t hold your breath {but I am totally using that})]

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