This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Story of Pocahontas

This is not the story you may think it is about. This is not about the Indian princess who helped John Smith at Jamestown.

Well, not entirely.

The animated Disney movie Pocahontas came out in 1995. At the time, I worked at Burroughs Wellcome (now Glaxo Wellcome) in Greenville, NC. I had no interest (still do not) in seeing that movie but a "friend" of mine had seen it. This is how I found out, and how it all started.

Monday morning, breakfast at the cafe with co-workers...friend-who's-name-I-can't-remember (FWNICR) starts a conversation:
FWNICR: We went to see Pocahontas this weekend.
Me: Really? Why?
Someone else: Was it good?
FWNICR: I would have it enjoyed it more but Pocahontas reminded me of CINDY that it drove me crazy!
Me: What? What does that mean? Just because she's brown and I am, you think we look the same?
everyone else: Haha! That's funny!! She does! She does!!

So I thought she was my friend. But the tone of her statement was not much of a joke...and eventually, I detected something in her approach to me that I hadn't detected before. I had been oblivious. Even though I had been to her home, had breakfast and lunch with her often, etc., I apparently never saw the animosity she had for me until that day and that statement.

Sadly, she went away but the comparison to Pocahontas never did. Sure, I laughed it off...sort of...but I wasn't really humored by this because it had such a negative connotation.

First: the whole "Anything cartoon that is brown looks like Cindy". I found that pretty ignorant.

Second: the fact that someone who I thought liked me really did not.

But the jokes continued. I tried to twist it and see if I could make money off of this by acting in a porn titled "Poke a Hontas".

And I kid you not, one day, Tim and I were at the theater while Pocahontas was still playing, and I happened to be standing near a sign of the movie and I swear to god, little kids were staring at me. Maybe I was paranoid but I felt like they were wondering if I was really HER...

When I left Burroughs Wellcome, my co-workers and pals greeted me farewells, along with Pocahontas paraphenilia: pencils, pictures, etc.

I left those in the boxes at home.

And I thought I left this 'legacy' behind.

But a couple of months into my new job at IBM (in RTP), a manager came by and started with this story...and about a quarter way into it, I knew the horror that he was about to reveal:
'You know, over the weekend, I was opening the cupboard to get a cup for my daughter. The cup had a picture of Pocahontas on it and I thought: that looks like Cindy!'

Ah-hah...hahaha. He continues, 'Did anyone ever tell you that you look JUST LIKE HER?' I think to myself "She's a fucking cartoon. I don't look JUST LIKE HER" but out loud I said something like "yes."

He was so happy about this discovery and soon, others around me heard this revelation and found it funny. I rolled with the punches, because that's just how nice I can be.

Then it went a bit too far. Another friend of mine brought up a proposition at one lunch meeting: she wanted to hire me to dress up as Pocahontas for her 8 year old son's birthday party.

She had been telling me for some time how much I looked like Pocahontas and how much her sons LOVED the Indian Princess.

But this took the cake. She was serious. She would pay me to come over for her son's birthday party if I would dress like Pocahontas. I found this really disturbingly sick.

But money was tight...

Just kidding. No way. I didn't do it. I wouldn't do it. I was now tired of the Pocahontas reference.

Tim still calls me that every once in awhile. That, or the 'old german woman' but that's another story...

And some of my friends from those Pocahontas days might bring it up. But for the most part, I try to ignore it. Mainly from the first two issues. Yes, it's funny but seriously, is it because I really look like her or because we have the same color skin? Probably both.

But I decided for Facebook's Doppelganger week - where one changes their profile picture to be the picture of someone famous who people have said you looked like - that I would bring up the Pocahontas thing again and use her image as my profile picture.

For a split second, I thought about being ironic and finding a picture of someone totally the opposite of me: white, blue eyed, blonde hair and the biggest boobs I could find...but I figured I'd be the only one to get the joke. This way, being Pocahontas, everyone could laugh freely and be in on it.

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