1. I lie on the internet. Some of my tweets are exaggerated versions of actual events, and some of my Facebook statuses are completely made up. If I worry about people believing me, I’ll post it to BU Confessions. I am not myself on the internet, but a cleverly constructed persona. My online persona features none of the insecurities and mundane fears of my flesh and blood self. Part of that stems from my realization that no one wants to read that stuff, but there’s certainly an attempt on my part to shape my image. So I magnify what little confidence I have in reality until it becomes the confidence I wish I had.
2. Swinging through your town like your neighborhood Spiderman. I often think about comic books I never read. I like the idea of comic books, but not enough to spend money on them. I imagine that a number of readers wish that they could slap on a mask and spandex and completely change their identity. I know that’s what appeals to me, though the spandex could be spared. It’s why I enjoy blaring Wu-Tang Clan (at reasonable volumes) through my headphones while I walk down Comm Ave: because it makes me feel ever so slightly cooler than I am. It’s an audio mask. It’s no coincidence, in my opinion, that they all rap under (multiple) stage names. They were acting too.
“Look! On the sidewalk! It’s, it’s…”
3. I don’t have a clever name for my Wu-Tang superhero alter ego. That probably should have been step one. The Wu-Tang name generator provides me with “Misunderstood Commander,” but that doesn’t feel right. A name, as this girl and that guy from The Crucible can attest, is a pretty big deal. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Since 7th grade, my friends from home have called me by my last name. It’s made me keenly aware of the differences in how my two names make me feel. My internet persona is named Brister.
4. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” With all due respect to Kurt Vonnegut, whom I normally hold as an authority on the way life works, I disagree. I am not the person I pretend to be, though I wish I was. That’s why I pretend.
5. Anonymity is the best mask of all.