At my writers group on Wednesday evening, one of the members told me a funny story. She was doing a Google image search for Goofy–you know, the Disney character–and what showed up in her search results for the term “goofy”? A picture of me. Google made some changes to its search engine a while back that allows for integration of your social network within your searches and it was in this part of the search results where I showed up.
This morning, on a whim, I tried the search and indeed, that very same picture showed up in my results as well.
By now you are probably wondering what the picture is and why it would show up under an image search for “goofy.” Well, jump behind the cut and you can see the picture for yourself–and get the story behind it, too.
Here is the goofy picture of me:
Yes, that is me at age 5, something in 1977. Let’s ignore the haircut for a moment (goofy enough in itself; and what am I looking at?) and focus on the real issue at hand. What the heck kind of smile is that?
Around that time, I used to smile with my mouth closed. I guess it wasn’t the right way to smile and people would tell me to show my teeth when I smiled. Okay. I was five. So when the school photographer was taking pictures of my Kindergarten class and asked me to smile, I remembered the ukase about showing my teeth and that is exactly what I did. Thus the picture you see above. Now let me point out two things:
- No one ever said which teeth to show. They only said “show your teeth when you smile.” I did my best, and if I was a smarter five-year old, maybe I could have figured this out. The goofy smile, therefore, is on me.
- I cannot conceive of anyone but a sadistic photographer who’d shot one too many school photos and was sick and tired of putting up with squealing five-year olds who would actually take this photo and then print it.
Now, it was 1977, there was no digital photography to speak of. Perhaps he didn’t know this is the photo he took. (I’m assuming it was a man, because my weak recollections of that day tell me it was a man.) But come on, seriously. He’s looking through the lens and he sees this goofy smile and he doesn’t even try to tell me to fix it. It would have been easy. “Hey kid,” he could have said, “stop smiling.” I was five, I would have listened. And a picture of me not smiling would have been sufficiently less goofy and might never have ended up in Google search results for said term.
But then again, if it never happened that way, I might be out a humorous, self-deprecating photo for a Friday morning.