Thursday, April 18, 2019

Being Human, Part Deuce

By Bixyl Shuftan

As most everyone who reads the Newser knows, most of the time I go about in a Luskwood red fox avatar. It's not that often that I change to a human avatar for more than a brief length of time. The first time I did was for a few weeks in 2011 for a "Bid Me" event for my Relay for Life team. A few years later in 2017, I was so for about a week in a similar fundraising event. I'd decided on a black human avatar partily to see how true were the claims of ethnic avatars getting the cold shoulder were, partially. But as I tend to stand out where I go anyway, I wanted to do continue to do so. And of course there was the "Blazing Saddles" humor aspect. For those who don't know, it was a Wild West comedy made in the 1970s by Mel Brooks in which a previously all-white town gets a black sheriff.

In 2019, I'd gotten a few requests to do another "Bid Me Human" event, and so I offered to do another for Rita. This time though, I felt the Blazzing Saddles joke was getting old, so I decided to get an avatar from another ethnic group, Asian. I didn't find much of a variety on Marketplace, and much of what I found was expensive. But I found an avatar that was a good buy, and one Asian-Americain friend thought was okay. So I went with it. Besides the ethnic difference, it had hair and was slimmer, less muscular.

So how has the reaction been compared to the previous human avatar? Once again, it's been overall positive. With the lighter skin tone, people have been slower to recognize it as Asian though, one saying the white fedora made him think of Michael Jackson. One person whom had liked the previous avatar wasn't so sure about this one, "You look like a college freshman." On the other hand, the one friend of mine who outright complained last time that the first was a poor match, this time didn't think this one was too bad, but still wanted me back as a fox. Also last time, there were a few jokes, friendly ones, from Europeans about the avatar's ethnic look then. That wasn't the case this time.

But one thing was the same as last time, the "Ahhhhhhhhh! A human!" gestures from my furry friends. Actually, that was the most visible thing. I was still interacting with my friends much the same as before, puns and all, and dancing with a few ladies. But as time went on, much like in 2011, the novelty with my friends wore off, and more openly looked forward to me being back to normal.

It's been, different, these past few weeks. I've missed being able to just up and change around. But the "Bid Me" restriction ends this Friday, April 19. And so I'll be back to foxy, or whatever else comes to mind.

Bixyl Shuftan

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