I spend a lot of time trying to avoid misunderstandings. I repeat dates and times back to people to make sure I've got them right. If I think a text message is being interpreted wrong, I call the person (usually to their annoyance) to sort things out. If a movie plot is based around a misunderstanding, I have to leave the theatre. If an episode of a show ends with a misunderstanding and a "To Be Continued…" I spend all my time until the next episode worrying about the characters. (This is also why I don't watch many TV shows.)
Why all this? Misunderstandings lead to awkward situations, and if my life gets any more awkward, I think I might just explode. I consider it a personal accomplishment if I don't end up on the floor twitching by the end of the day.
I thought I've been doing a good job avoiding misunderstandings in my videos, but a few comments here and there have lead me believe that there are, in fact, some misunderstandings going on. Is this the viewer's fault? Nah, these things just happen. Do these misunderstandings matter in the long run? Nah, not really. But that doesn't keep me from lying awake at night stressing over the fact that somewhere, someone out there has the wrong idea about me and that just makes my skin crawl. (I realize I'm crazy.)
To clear the air (and my mind), I decided to sort out a few of these minor misunderstandings in this post, followed by (what I consider to be) a somewhat larger misunderstanding that nearly sent me into cardiac arrest.
The minor misunderstandings I can typically deal with quite well. Some even give me a chuckle. Based on a few comments over the past few months, some people seem to think I'm no longer "disneykid1" on YouTube. Hilarious, right? I'm cacklin' for sure. I can assure you this username is as inescapable as the masked dude in the Scream movies (and I'll probably end up like those victims, too).
The fact is, I simply merged my Google+ account with my YouTube account and now appear as "Joseph Birdsong" in the comments. My URL is still youtube.com/disneykid1, and I will always be "disneykid1," whether I like it or not. Can you really blame me for distancing myself from the username a tiny bit? I'm twenty-five now, and it makes me feel like a creep. Let this be a lesson to all you little nuggets with usernames like "babyprincess69xo." Before you know it, you've got a few hits and a few subscribers and people are calling you "babyprincess69xo" until you're six feet under in a fucking box. I mean, "disneykid1" will always have a special place in my heart. (Can you feel the warm fuzzies?)
In another video, I made a comment about drinking that somehow lead several people to believe I'd stopped drinking completely, when I was actually just apologizing for not having been drinking in a few previous vids. I'd like to stress that people were getting feisty with me for not drinking. It seems my viewers are a bunch of enablers who thrive on witnessing my downward spiral into alcoholism--which is totally fine with me, I should add. Seriously, as if I would stop drinking.
Like I said, these minor miscommunications haven't really bothered me, but this final misunderstanding is so complicatedly layered and mind-boggling, it initially caused me to writhe on the floor for several hours, foaming at the mouth and screeching prayers to Hilary Duff. Thank God I had my Life Alert pendant or I might still be down there. (Note: I don't have a Life Alert pendant.)
I recently did a "Draw My Life" video in which I describe my life as a jellyfish.
"Wait, Joseph," you say. "You're not a jellyfish."
Right! Gold star for you. You're one of the clever ones. Perhaps it was wrong of me to assume that other people would realize this as well.
To the credit of the viewers, I don't think any of them actually thought I'm a jellyfish, but several people seem to believe they have uncovered hidden metaphors within the video when absolutely no metaphors exist at all.
I'm not entirely sure why these people have chosen to suddenly start taking me seriously with this particular video when I don't exactly have a track record of being serious. Previously, I've posted videos with my Furby, which I claim to be my daughter. I went on a ghost hunt with a Louis Tomlinson doll. I even did an entire segment about being obsessed with "Fergalicious." And, in the video in question--let me repeat this again--I claim to be a fucking jellyfish.
A misinterpretation here and there is nothing to get your tentacles in a twist over, but a few people took their metaphors a little too far. Let me post a comment:
"So, you were touched by a jellyfish, which turned you into a jellyfish. Obviously the "jellyfish" aspect is the fact that you are gay. Which is not a very good message. You were touched by a gay man who turned you gay. :C That's awful, Joe. Just awful."
This comment is not even posed as a question. Instead, it is being presented to me as a indisputable truth about my life, and is based on a video in which I, once again, claim to be a fucking jellyfish. The use of "obviously" especially pisses me off. The only thing "obvious" here is that the commenter is an assumptive idiot. There. I said it. It's out there and now we have to live with it.
Not only has Mr. Commenter conjured up this elaborate metaphor from a video listed in the "comedy" section of YouTube, but he's graciously decided to fill in some pretty graphic details about my life as well. Wow! How sweet. It's like I didn't even have to live my life, myself. Thank goodness this stranger is here to create my past for me. He even lets let me know I'm an awful person (or jellyfish) and that my message is awful as well (all of this, again, being based off his personal analysis). This probably wouldn't upset me so much if I didn't try extremely hard to always say and do the right things in videos because I'm overly aware of my audience. Can I just reiterate this entire misinterpretation is stemming from a video in which I claim to be a fucking jellyfish? Is there some sort of Oscar or Emmy for the most ridiculous misinterpretation of anything, ever? Because you, Mr. Commenter, deserve that award, and so much more that I don't think I can legally say on the Internet.
You want to know the truth? I was literally stung by a jellyfish when I was eight years old. No, the jellyfish wasn't gay (that I'm aware of) nor was it a male human. Furthermore, this event did not "turn" me gay. I'm pretty sure I flew out of the womb riding a unicorn on a rainbow while a Madonna song played in the background. There are no hidden metaphors in this video. I should probably be flattered people think I'm deep enough to create something like that, but I'm not. I was simply trying to give people a break from all the other mega-serious "Draw My Life" videos that have made me want to roll in front of a train. My bad.
Whew, I'm getting a bit jittery just thinking about this again. Is it just me? Am I nuts for thinking this metaphor is such a complete stretch and that this guy is bonkers for taking me so seriously? Am I crazy for getting a little upset that a stranger has conjured up an entirely false story about my life, presented it to me as fact, and then proceeded to tell me I'm an awful person based on all these assumptions? I mean, I definitely think I'm crazy, but not for these reasons.
Or maybe the guy was joking and I just spent way too much time and energy writing about this and the joke is now on me. The shame and public embarrassment would be too much and I'd surely have to return to the ocean and spend the rest of my days bobbing along mindlessly with the waves.
I just hope writing this has finally gotten it out of my system. It's 2 a.m. as I'm drafting this, and I would really like to lie in bed and get some sleep without twitching my tentacles too much from thinking about how somewhere, some guy is fuming over some assumption he made about me that lead him to believe I'm an awful person and the whole thing is based on a video in which I claim to be a fucking jellyfish. This is precisely the type of movie plot I'd have to leave the theatre for.
Wait, did I say "my tentacles"? I meant hands. Or arms. Heh..yeah, I'm not a jellyfish. Right?