October 8, 2020 in Dag

I look like a muppet on Zoom – and I think that’s a good thing

I’ve been working from home now for just about 6 months. That’s half a year when I’ve barely left the house. Half a year when making the commute to work means walking to another room. Half a year when my closest work companions are my immediate family.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are pros and cons to working from home. I like the extra sleep-in time. I like the lack of commute, the more time I have to work on my writing, and the extra time I spend with my family. I struggle with the reduced demarcation between work and personal time and the isolation from colleagues. But I’ve just discovered one additional consequence of working from home. And I think it’s one I approve of.

Being in a job that requires me to work in a highly collaborative way, I spend quite a bit of time in online conferences. Mostly, we use Zoom, with the occasional Teams event as well. But the purpose of this post isn’t to provide additional marketing for software manufacturers (who are doing just fine as far as I can tell). There’s a far deeper message coming through here.

When a participate in one of these Zoom conferences, I can’t help but see myself in that funny Brady Bunch style Zoom window. I can see my face in all its glory. I can see the expressions that pass across it, and the reactions it makes in response to what other people are saying. But most of all, I can see myself as others see me, in real time.

And then it hit me. I received a truly earth-shattering revelation.

I look like a muppet.

It’s just something about my face. Something about the shapes I make with my mouth. Something about the way my eyes open and close, and my eyebrows go up and down. Something about the angle that I tilt my head. There can be no doubt about it.

I look like a muppet.

I’m still trying to work through the implications of this discovery. I think I’m ok with it. After all, muppets are amongst my all-time favourite things. I regard the original 70s-80s muppet show as one of the major inspirations for my writing. And it makes me most sad to know that in many English-speaking countries, muppet has become a derogatory term for a stupid or incompetent person.

I think I’m going to claim my status. I’m going to be proud of my muppet-hood.

From now on, every time I see my face on Zoom, I’m going to hear those timeless words – ‘It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights’ – and I’ll be happy.

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