I always hoped to be a silver fox. But I’m a pug. I guess people like pugs.
I’m looking at my face in 20 years–myself at age 52–because for whatever self-loathing reason, I was compelled to take part in this strange “Futureself” promotional campaign by UK telecom company Orange, created by publicis conseil and jam3. So I looked into my webcam, hit a button, watched as all sorts of calculating polygons run over my photo, and–like a very low budget Back to the Future reboot, I came face-to-face with a moving, talking, 3-D representation of future me.
Did you know I’ll have a British accent? Apparently those Dr. Who marathons are really paying off.
Yet I can’t really bring myself to chat with future me–not because I don’t want Dr. Who/life spoilers, but because I’m too busy staring at this weird alternate self.
It’s a horrible likeness. Downright silly, even. For one, my face is all scrunched like some toy dog, while my forehead is elongated a la Herman Munster. My nose ends up looking quite smashed and wide, when really it’s a ski slope off of my face. These aren’t artifacts of aging. They’re just weird errors.
From what I can tell, the web app is taking my real eyes, nose, and mouth, then augmenting their geometry through some sort of aging filter and squeezing the results on a one-size-fits-all head. In this case, it has compressed my face onto a model that doesn’t quite fit the real shape of my head, and the result is a bit of a pug Munster.
I call my wife, a portrait artist, over to the computer. She has a good laugh. It looks nothing like me, she says. The jaw is all wrong. “The eyes are a total caricature.”
Her soothing words, of course, have the exact opposite effect on me. A caricature? So…this guy does look like me in some way? Then I start looking into those eyes. They do look a lot like my eyes, especially, I imagine, as my skin begins to sag. And if they got the eyes right–oh wow, that is sort of my nose at a head-on angle, and that’s my poorly trimmed mustache that sits like a jester on the throne that is my beard. And my beard! It’s splotchy! Do I go beard-bald?!? Is that a thing?!??!
But before I begin typing “beard bald” into the blessed Google search bar, before I head over to Amazon to search for “Rogaine of the face,” my wife chimes in with one resounding bit of reason:
“Mark, you won’t look like this,” she insists. “You know who you’ll look like? You’ll look like your dad.”
And I can live with that.