Embrace The Glorious Imperfection

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

We all take plenty of bad pictures. Thanks to the digital nature of most photos these days, it’s easy to delete the images where someone blinked, sneezed, or just looked really dumb. However, I want you to consider another way. We should embrace our glorious imperfection, as exhibited by the inherent truth of a bad photograph.

Background

The genesis of this philosophy began over a decade ago, when my pal Merlin showed me his truly fabulous Costco membership card. Please enjoy this terrible photo of a terrible photo, courtesy of the original iPhone and a dimly lit bar:


Having no idea what information on this ID might be useful, I’ve blacked it all out.

Years later, when signing up for Costco myself, I kept Merlin’s example in mind. Where he went with a diabolical genius laugh, I aimed for more of a deer-in-the-headlights look. Here is a very high-quality photo of a terrible photo:


Costco really does not use good printers for this.

While this sort of clownery is unlikely to fly on a driver’s license or passport, there’s nothing stopping you from looking intentionally ridiculous in other identification documents. Go on, live a little!

Fun With Your Address Book

Of course, IDs alone aren’t enough. In an effort to push the world beyond its vain ways, I have also expanded this philosophy to my contacts. Fair warning, if you’re a buddy of mine, I have likely set an amusing picture of you as your contact photo. That’s just the price of entry into the wonderful circle of friendship.

Every so often, I’ll take a moment to really notice one of these pics, and have a good laugh:


Scott finally proved them all wrong.

And if, god forbid, you call me? Well, the awfulness of using my phone as a phone will be lessened by seeing something like you cuddling up to Danny Devito’s sweaty, naked ass:


The explanation for this photo is, in a word, complicated.

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Of course, I’ve shown many of my friends the ridiculous contact photos I use for them. As a result, the practice has spread. Many of them share screenshots of my own contact in their address book, as seen in the examples below:


You may recognize that picture from this March post.


That veggie sausage was moving toward my facehole at a high rate of speed.

For this to work, we must all be willing to allow the spread of less-than-flattering photos. As my Instagram feed can attest, I practice what I preach, and I’m quite willing to post ridiculous photos of myself for comedic effect. Please enjoy these three examples. If you’ve got me in your contacts, I encourage you to use these pictures, or others like them.

Lean In

The real world is not what we see through Hollywood’s Vaseline-smeared lens or the false curated perfection of social media. The real world is a mess, and if we can’t laugh at it at least a little bit, we’re all lost. Embrace that terribleness. Lean in to it. You’ll have a lot more fun.


If you enjoyed this post, get updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.