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1.16.2003 | link |


i first noticed the two identical flyers a few weeks ago. they’re taped to the carpool sign on the freeway onramp, one on top of the other. two black-and-white, photocopied flyers with only a picture of a floating head. an average-looking guy, probably in his early 20s. no words. no message. just his life-sized face grinning back at me as i’m accelerating or changing lanes.

i’ve thought endlessly about the possibilities. about why this self-satisfied smirk is taped to a post on the onramp. every morning, as i check to see if he’s still there, his gaze seems to follow mine like the mona lisa.

perhaps he’s found the answer to an age-old human dilemma and is challenging others to do the same. perhaps it’s the average man’s rebellion against averageness. his grassroots attempt in asserting some kind of celebrity. he doesn’t have to be exquisitely handsome or exceedingly wealthy. he doesn’t have to make blockbuster movies or become a nobel laureate. he just has to do something—in his case, tape up homemade flyers of his body-less head—so that his ordinary face is no longer anonymous to most of the world.

so he self-starts his own cult status. it begins with one city. then two. then, by those who delight in the unexplained flyers’ oddness, his face gets copied at kinko’s and spreads to ten, thirty, two thousand cities. his face—once only recognized by around two dozen people, including his grandmother and the guy at the corner 7/11—becomes recognized everywhere from minnesota to malawi. a sighting of the quirky floating-head flyer becomes an anecdote told at the dinner table, mentioned to co-workers in lunch rooms, or written about in blogs. his face transforms into a cultural icon. and as a result, he achieves a minor triumph over normalcy. or perhaps, over even his own mortality!

but. it’s probably just a promotional flyer for a local band.

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