Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Three Ugly Truths

Remember the first time you heard your voice on tape?  I do.
It startled me. I expected it to sound the way it did in my head. It didn't! 
That stupid sounding voice is me?I sound like a gray-toothed rube! And I'd  thought I was a normal kid! Oh, the horror.

The next ugly truth came a few years later.  I taped myself singing along to the radio.  I used an earpiece to hear the radio (and to make sure it didn't drown out my voice.)  Playback was revealing.
I sounded terrible!   Demented!  This was me singing?!   All this time I thought I was a normal singer.  Now I knew better.
The final horror happened when I was a young adult.  I saw- gasp- myself on videotape.   What a slap that was!  That's me!? I thought,  That fidgety, freaky, pale, high strung, lunatic was me?   And  I'd  thought I was a (semi) normal adult.  Now I knew better!
 I bet I'm not the only one who was horrified the first time they heard their voice or saw themselves on videotape.   Were you?


Mike Healy said...

When I was a young kid in the early '80s, my GE tape recorder was the best toy in the world to me; as long as I had plenty of blank tape and battery power, the world was mine. But when I'd pull it out to record my friends' voices when they came over, they would let fly with the filthiest language that would embarrass even the demon in "The Exorcist"!

As long as I kept the tape well-hidden (granted, it was hilarious stuff to a 7-year-old), all was well, but I could never figure out how or why the "record" button being pushed equated the language-meter going well into the blue.

GhostBuild said...

I've seen the same phenomena as Mike explained above.

I can relate to this entry Namowal, especially looking back at video taken at parties years before, or running across old answering machine tapes. Did I really sound like that?

Recently created some pre-recorded technical training... 30 mins of continuous talking along with death-by-Powerpoint. Had split my passages into segments for easier edits. Must have re-recorded more than half (sometimes more than twice)... never satisfied with the sound or inflection. Or am I just being picky?

Namowal said...

Having grown up with a brother and his pals, I'll have to agree that a tape recorder set to "record" summoned profanity from boys like no other.

Ghostbuild, I've done the same thing with answering machine recordings. I bet there's a part of the human mind that maintains the concept of "this is me," so when we see/hear something that's different than what we thought was "me," it's jarring.
Ever seen a photograph of yourself that sort of didn't look like you? It's happened to me. I think we consider our reflections as the base for "what we look like". The non-reversed version (a photo) looks a bit strange.

booda baby said...

ohmgosh. I'm still horrified. And apparently, horrify others while I'm at it, so we've got a club going. Ha. I do the voice overs for the little cartoons I make and just today, a lovely person wrote that she loved it, but thought 'the lady didn't read it right.' And I thought, oh if you only KNEW what it took to get THAT reading.

stray said...

Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing everybody feels this way about how they sound/look, so maybe other people don't notice us so much.

Namowal said...

Hi Boodababy,
Was your critic a client? Or just an observer?

Hi Stray,
I agree. The dichotomy (did I use this word right?) between how we think we appear and how we actually appear may be startling, but the rest of the world only knows us by the latter. No surprise revelations.

Sally said...

hysterical illustrations

Namowal said...

Thanks, Sally.
I had fun drawing them!