Dear, readers, I recently had a chance to interview Troy Headrick, blogger here at Pointless Overthinking. The transcript of our conversation follows.
TLH: While preparing for this interview, I read your brief autobiographical blurb on the PO “Our Team” page. The accompanying photograph got my attention. You seem to be grinning from ear to ear in the pic. It suggests that you are very happy. Are you?
Troy: I took that picture not long ago, back when I used to shave my head bald. It’s a selfie, actually.
The whole time I was holding the camera in front of my face, I could hear my wife’s voice speaking to me (even though she wasn’t actually present). She was saying, “Smile, Troy. Smile.” So, I suppose I was subconsciously trying to make her happy and do the right thing—have the right sort of face, I mean.
Frankly, there’s nothing more stressful than being photographed. It seems that those pointing the camera have such high expectations, and I mostly fail to meet them on most occasions. And I really hate disappointing people. So, now, when they say smile—or when I hear their voices reverberating in my head as I prepare to photograph myself—I give them the biggest one I’ve got. Very recently, several friends have advised me to smile more naturally when my image is being captured digitally, so I’ve been practicing my natural smile a lot. I sometimes stand at the mirror and work on it for whole minutes at a time. Actually, I think I’m getting better at smiling naturally. I feel good about the progress I’ve been making.
TLH: Your answer to my question about the photograph suggests that you might be someone who overthinks things. Is that true?
Troy: Well, what does it mean to overthink? Is it possible that a person can overthink given the world we inhabit and the stresses we’re under?
I feel like I want to go back and talk about that photo again. It’s got me thinking more and more about all sorts of things. For instance, have you ever looked at really old studio photos taken of family members and such, the ones in black and white? I’ve got quite a few such pics—ones of relatives dating back to the earliest parts of the twentieth century. Invariably, the people in those portrait-type pics are not smiling. They are dressed up in old-fashioned clothes and sitting ramrod stiff. The men have huge whiskery growths of hair on their faces and the women look so strait-laced and buttoned up and formal.
So, here’s where I’m going with all this. Why are none of the people in any of those old pics smiling? Why didn’t the photographer say “smile” like everyone tells me to do all the time? When did portraiture change from everyone being allowed to have regular faces to having to have smiling, happy faces? All interesting questions worthy of pondering.
But I see I haven’t answered your question. Do I see myself as the sort of person who overthinks things? No, not really.
TLH: Final question…
Troy: Really. Are we coming to the last question? I’m really enjoying this.
TLH: Yes, last question. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?
Troy: You’re only giving me one word! Really!
TLH: Yep. You’ve only got one word.
Troy: Well…That’s a hard one, a real stumper. I guess that word would be “normal.” I mean I’m not a genius, but I’m not a dummy either. I don’t hate people, but I like to keep to myself a lot of the time. I might be a little politically extreme—extremely progressive, I mean. But in most cases, I’m sort of like, well, like middle of the road, I guess you’d say. I’m not extraordinary. I’m normal. Yes, normal. Not too much this and not too much that. Except I have had a whole lot of failure in my life. Shoot, I may have to change my word. Can I do that? Can I rethink this? I may need to choose differently now that I’m digging a little deeper. Oh, well, I’m not for sure. Let’s stick with normal but put an asterisk next to it.
TLH: Thanks for your time.
Troy. Thank you. It’s been a pleasure!
Note: At the conclusion of the interview, both the interviewer and interviewee smiled, shook hands, spent a few minutes chatting about a variety of inane topics, and said their goodbyes, each heading off in a different direction.
Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found here.
If you’d like to see some of Troy’s art, have a look.