The Virtually Naked Skeleton
On June 1, 2017, I busted out the walls of my cramped avatar hole on a quest to get up close and personal with Medium folk.
Going rogue was absolutely splendid!
If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you.
I don’t think I would’ve had the cojones to take the leap if it wasn’t for my much more brave, much less fleshy persona. (Wish I could take credit for him, but he was born from my daughters’ imaginations. The socks were mine though. Meaning the socks were my idea. Meaning those socks aren’t mine. Not that there’s anything wrong with pink socks. Dammit! Now you think I have a problem wearing pink, don’t you!?)
While the special effects in that original post were mightily impressive, I felt somewhat limited.
Basically, I could recline with an open jaw and that just smacked too close of real world.
So I funneled all my artistic skills into cartoonerizing myself.
Ya know something? It’s a cold, hard day when you serve yourself Exhibit A in the case that your drawing ability plateaued in kindergarten.
So, drawing (hee) from the well (i.e., stealing from my daughters again), I opted for a digital rendition courtesy of a PC game my kids enjoy.
Sure, it took effort and upper-body strength to pry the laptop from their selfish fingers, but I had a Frankensteinianian ambition to give my skele-self more life.
This was the result -
Yes! Just like in Ready Player One or Tron or Walker: Texas Ranger, I’d found a way to create a virtual character capable of moving and conversing within a cyber-construct.
The results were so impressive, I enticed some of Medium’s glitterati to agree to cameo appearances.
Things got absolutely crazy when I was contacted by Pixar Studios who’d been noticing my work.
They were in post-production for a movie called Coco and needed help with some skeletal consulting. (For a kiddie flick, the movie has a lot of dead people.)
I was skeptical but I just had to accept their offer. (I love Shrek.)
They flew me to San Mephisto or wherever on a private jet, gave me a quick tour and showed me the folding chair that’d serve as my office. I was also introduced to Nestor, an intern from University of Phoenix, who’d be my assistant.
It was awesome!
Each morning, I’d leave the Super 8 and get to Pixar HQ super early.
The security guard was cute cuz he dressed as Buzz Lightyear. I’d wave my pass at him, find Nestor, and we’d get right to work.
My official title was Head of Bone Operations (H.O.B.O). My first assignment was to “skeletize” the movie’s title character.
Piece o’ cake!
Nestor had a bunch of techno drawing tools and Star Trekkie tablets for the job, but I told him there was no need. We’d be just fine using Google Images like I always did on Medium.
So after about five minutes, I finished the project and spent the rest of the afternoon playing on Snapchat with Nestor.
The next day, I gave my presentation to studio leadership -
They didn’t say much which led me to believe my vision was spot-on.
The next day, security told me my access was denied.
I became a bit irate.
“But I’m the Coco HOBO!” I shouted over and over.
Interesting tidbit: If you ever visit Pixar, Buzz the Security Guard’s fake wrist laser conceals a very real taser.
I remember waking up on a Southwest flight descending back into the Chicago area.
Pixar ended up giving my job to Nestor who won an award for his more comical version of the Coco skull. Good for him! I almost hate myself for mailing that anonymous letter detailing Nestor’s vicious peyote habit.
I’ll always remember those three days of fame. Especially the all-you-can-eat waffle station at the commissary.
Back home, I decided to commit to writing on Medium.
I began introducing my skele-family and took a lesson from Nestor by taking a less traumatizing route.
First, with my lovely wife.
Then, with one of my daughters.
They were welcomed into the community with some real nice comments.
And that’s my skele-tale after one year.
Hope I get to tell you more.
Of course, I wouldn’t even have a tale to tell if it wasn’t for a great group of friends.
Excuse me while I switch on my sarcastic jokester filter for a second.
This website, blog, platform or whatever you call it has allowed me to get to know you. Even though I may poke fun at Medium Staff, I’ll be forever grateful to them for making that possible.
The stories you create make me laugh and wonder. They inspire me to be a better writer.
Sharing heartfelt and well-meaning words with you has been a genuinely enriching experience.
And Stephen M. Tomic — bless you for rocking such a solid publication. It’s been an honor being featured in the same room with legitimately talented authors including yourself. The Junction is a great home for creators seeking to amuse, lift and challenge.
Stephen, my next assignment is editing some of your more *cough* risqué posts. You know, the ones you write while wearing nothing but your lucky freaky chaps. (Confess!)
To all my friends,
Your skeleton was built with a smile.
Let it show!
Your smile. Not your skeleton.
OK, I should have thought that through a bit.