Why does your picture always look like you’re stoned? And what’s up with that pencil? Are you a Luddite, or have you simply not updated your photo?

—Curious, But Not in That Way

For four years, I have borne the above illustration with the closest thing to good humor I can manage, which happens to be surly grunting. (Not to be confused with Surly Grunting, the minor recurring character in the works of Charles Dickens.)

This depiction could be considered flattering only if I were, in real life, literally a bucket of buttholes. When I first saw it, I was miffed: After all, I wasn't completely bald. My hair was not white. I did not wear glasses. And most glaringly, my penis and testicles did not grow out of the middle of my face.

However, I re-examined the picture today and felt a coldness trickling down my spine that was only partly due to having just removed my head from a bucket of whiskey. I realized that I am gradually coming to resemble the picture.

Freelance illustrator Hawk Krall apparently has some satanic, precognitive ability to depict his subjects, not as they are, but as they will become. I tried to track him down to ask about it, but I was unsuccessful—probably because he is currently vacationing in the future.

Like some inverted version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, the sins of the portrait are gradually being visited upon my own suffering visage: I am, now, pretty bald. My fringe is definitely graying. And I now have glasses—with clear frames! That's practically white!

Thus, Curious, your surmise is correct. I have not updated my photo—my photo has updated me. All I can do is sit here, wait for the end and touch my nose periodically to make sure it doesn't get bigger when I rub it.

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