Being someone else is self-defeating. Putting on a mask removes any and all facts of who you are. Unless it is Halloween, an alter ego is awesome in theory, but a mess in practice. If only there was a way to live a life of cartoon and video game logic. We all have fantasies of what our lives could be like if we were a different person, and fantasy can be a healthy form of imagination. Far-fetched as it all seems, here are five alter egos I wish I could be.
1. Joe Cool (Snoopy).
Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" was a Sunday Comics favorite of mine growing up. If not for the self-effacing humor and subtle acts of courage, I do not think I would be inspired quite the same way without it. The character I am talking about here belongs to Snoopy, the pet who is his own owner. The famous newsprint dog has one of many alter-egos but the one that stuck out the most was Joe Cool. He may be a dog, but he sure is a cool cat that is so laid back he does not have to bend over heels. Not that he ever would because Joe Cool does not go head over heels for anything. He keeps his cool, even if it is counter-intuitive. I wish I could be cool enough to wear a t-shirt with my own name printed across it while wearing Ozzy Osbourne's rounded glasses.
2. The Mask (Stanley Ipkiss).Giphy
Based on a comic book of the same name about a mask that forces the wearer to pursue his or her deepest desires, this role was a regular Tuesday for Jim Carrey. Watching Stanley Ipkiss as a kid was like looking back at a mirror. I too felt like the nice guy, pushover that everyone took for granted. With the power of the mask, all that could change. None of it would be natural but it would feel natural nonetheless. I have never let loose or had times of debauchery. I have never shown how I felt in a raucous and cutthroat way, especially in close quarters with someone. "The Mask" would be my awakening, for everything I dare not test fate with. Or I could just watch the movie again.
3. Batman (Bruce Wayne).
A billionaire playboy and socialite by day and a vigilante hero by night. I have hobbies but none of them could be as helpful as cleaning the streets of Gotham. Not to mention, the ability to live twice as much; it is the ultimate bachelor's life. Of course, the childhood trauma is to be considered or ignored if I choose to be Adam West's Batman. Either way, if I had the choice to be myself or Batman, I will always choose to be Batman. I am vengeance, I am Batman, I am the night!
4. Tyler Durden (The Narrator).Giphy
"The things you own end up owning you." Tyler Durden is his own individual, he is the farthest thing from being a consumer. His views on capitalism as a domineering system that restricts identity from ever being discovered can be seen in the willingness of people who buy into brands and franchises. This is efficiency at its worst, where everything holds a singular purpose. To find more meaning, people buy more than one thing that they think completes them but again restricts them. Any form of control, self-control even, or inkling of going your own way is escapism but also "a copy of a copy of a copy" that is at the root of consumerism. A sameness we find solace in for a time until being different is more attractive; a recycling society that does not know what it wants half the time. Solipsism and nihilism against capitalism and fascism fighting it out? Yes, please!
5. Any comedians or actors who dress and act as a woman.
Would not it be nice to learn how the opposite sex's mind operates without them knowing you were pretending to be their sex? Only n a perfect world. For comedic effect, it certainly sounds convincing. Take Tyler Perry's Madea. The unrelenting strength and vernacular of the elderly black woman is believable and hits home in more ways than one. Martin Lawrence tried the same thing with his Big Momma series, and again, it was absurd but somewhat endearing. Who can forget Robin Williams' Mrs. Doubtfire, the crown jewel of old ladies being played by a man. Others introduced the Shakespeare gender-swapping genre earlier such as Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage and Flip Wilson as Geraldine Jones, and it has lasted for reasons that both sexes can appreciate.
Alter egos can be fun and uplifting, if not sporadic and ill-advised.