I mentioned to Neil Remington Abramson that the photo in his faculty profile seemed to have disappeared, and then reappeared. He commented as follows:
I don’t know if my Beedie profile has a photo. I never look at it. I know I am supposed to brush it from time to time, like a woman arranging her hair in a mirror, or a peacock preening its feathers.
Somehow, I have never been attracted to self-idolatry. I’ve always thought statistical social invisibility was the best policy, insofar as possible. Less possible if one is the president of the faculty association and, at 6’9″, a standout, at least physically. People know me when they see me, rather than the more usual seeing me if they know me.
As I recall, I developed this preference considering my father’s circumstances. It’s better to not stand out. It’s better to not distinguish yourself in ways you may later regret, since tastes change and even laws (e.g. marijuana) may be set aside, depending on collective will.
I’ve never put much stock into what I looked like. I developed an image from time to time, but mirrors provided eternal disappointment. I’m always too big, towering over others. I don’t usually notice that, without the visual aid.
I suppose it’s the same as if I were a black among whites, a white among yellows, a woman among men: sticking out, when harmony hopes for the smudging of difference.