At an early age I realized people were laughing at me, so I decided what the heck I might as well try to be funny. In Jungian psychology this is “The Persona”, the mask or ‘front’ we put up when we interact with others. The Persona is neither good or bad, in fact it is both. We have many of them. At work I am in the Persona of Psychiatrist. On-line I am in the Persona of ersatz writer.

Sometimes I feel like a chimera viz. there is no Urs Truly but an amalgam of characters from my life I have cut and pasted into a clown collage that make up who I am. What is Ego vs. Persona and what is ‘me’ vs. channeling somebody else gets confusing. In a lesson in self-analysis (and to amuse Spo-fans) I thought I would drag on stage some of the clowns from the drama personae that I have incorporated into my psyche. Here are four of them:

My father. This persona often comes out when I interact with others in restaurants and hardware stores. His mannerisms, statements, and jocular banter are precisely duplicated. It is rather shocking how accurate it is. The primal scream of children everywhere is the dread of becoming their parents. Someone has remarked he doesn’t have to imagine what I will be like as an old man; he knows my father.

Dale is a friend who works as a therapist. I have never seen him angry; Dale is always patient. He has a whimsical friendly interaction and he frequently using puns. Whenever I need to keep calm with a patient I imagine what would Dale do? When I encounter a person in public from whom I want to gain something, I channel his friendly demeanor. Dale-energy works well at getting tables and processing over-the-phone problems. I leave out the puns.

Tom of Chicago   The late Tom of Chicago had a wit. He would make me laugh and he found humor in anything. Imagine the love-child of Charles Nelson Reilly and Oscar Wilde and you get Tom. Tom’s spirit comes out when I am in conversation and I suddenly connect the dots to make a clever or bawdy remark. These tend to come out in blurts – Tom likes to interpolate himself into things.

Noel Coward  I do this one consciously. I’ve memorized many of his songs and plays. If I want a witty or sophisticated persona he’s the one I like to channel. Unlike the others, people know Noel Coward, especially the gay ones. At times I get called out on these quips. A busted Persona is not a pretty sight.