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Davis, California

Monday, November 29, 2021

Variations on a Theme

As much as I’d like any readers out there to believe in the warm benevolence of my smiling picture or the cheeky, scintillatingly witty words of my ever cleverer columns, I’ve always been kind of a bad liar, so I will go right out and admit it: I am a shy person.

I mean, sure, I’m relatively friendly and stuff, but I’ve had more people comment on my shyness than I think necessary. Just a couple pieces of evidence to attest to my reserved nature: I hate eye contact, I prefer my small but hella tight social circle (oh hey friends!) over big groups and I’m more likely to pull an ostrich move and stick my head in the sand before I say hi to that person I only kind of know, but since we’ve only met once and they’re not looking right at me, it might be weird, so I won’t, you know?

And when you’re an introvert like I am, it’s easy to fall into a number of unflattering descriptionsanti-social or socially awkward, snobby and self-absorbed are just a couple of the negative characteristics that come to mind when it comes to us reserved types. (Whether or not any of these apply to me shall remain a mystery to those of you who don’t know me.)

Even so, I realize that misguided pigeonholing comes with any disposition, reserved personality or not. Then it dawned on meif Garth Brooks had the fictional character Chris Gaines, Eminem had Slim Shady and Beyoncé has the aptly named onstage persona Sasha Fierce, then why shouldn’t I be entitled to a couple of my own alter egos?

Being somewhat small but definitely physically unimposing, I’ve never been able to get my way through brute force or sheer intimidation alone. Bruce Banner turned into the Incredible Hulk whenever he got angry, what if I were to turn into a big, bulky green she-man whenever I got ticked off? Instead of cursing under my breath and privately calling peoplechode when they got in my way at the Coho, my menacing size would be warning enough.

And although I’ve always prided myself on having a heart of gold, there are times when I wish I could be the commanding, demanding, bitchy boss ladynamely, the cold-hearted editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Then again, I can hardly begin to imagine what the workplace would be like if I were the ruthless, power-hungry Ice Queen of The California Aggie editorial board.

Furthermore, even though I do certain things like set the volume only at odd numbers, put in my left contact before my right and flip the light switch on and off with my left hand five times before I go to bed, I still like to consider myself a reasonably laid-back and mentally well-balanced person.

This leads me to my next alter ego: The neurotic artist/genius. Any anti-social tendency I had could then be attributed simply to the intensely devoted creative process of my work, and no one could be offended by said tendencies, because only douchebags complain about good art. I could then use this obsessive nature as an excuse to do annoying things like listen to the same song for days on end and insist that the reason I haven’t cleaned my room for weeks is because I find the mess truly inspirational.

Still, even having the coolest of alter egos has its downsides: Clark Kent could never admit to being Superman, clumsy Serena could never live up to Sailor Moon and even Miley Stewart opted for a normal life versus the glamour of Hannah Montanaand I like to think that I’ve modeled myself after my number one hero.


RACHEL FILIPINAS has a new alter ego, one that gives her bad eyesight and makes her download songs by Taylor Swift. Keep her in check at rmfilipinas@ucdavis.edu.


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