Dorman Downer or Smilin’ Todd?


I received this e-mail from reader Jim Mead Thursday morning:

Todd,
I finally figured out why I so often skip your column. It’s your picture! I look at your face and think oh, it’s going to be a column about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket and there’s nothing we can do about it. And then I’m pleasantly surprised when I do read a column that you do have a sense of humor and a sense of proportion. You need a new picture, one in which you look happy, or mildly amused, or something. You’ll figure it out.
Cheers,
Jim Mead

I can’t say I disagree, Jim. Although clearly, judging by the sheer size of my large head, proportion has been a lifelong problem. But thanks, I think.

It’s true, my column photo does look a bit dour, as if I’ve just watched someone kick my dog or thoughtlessly grab my last beer. Perhaps I do need a more positive, sunny image, a la John Tesh.

It’s a conundrum. I’m interested in feedback from you, the reader. Does my photo depress you? Would your life be just a little brighter if Smilin’ Todd replaced Dorman Downer?

I’m waiting for your verdict.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Dorman Downer or Smilin’ Todd?

  1. Drew Miller

    I think you should do a really exaggerated wink, with your mouth open. My first picture at the Iowa State Daily made me look like a serial killer though, which makes me think it might be dangerous to roll the dice on a new photo.

  2. Take the same shot as above, but wear a beret.

    Barring that, I do think a smile would be good. If you want to go smileless, the banner shot for 24-hour is a huge improvement over the stock “serious newsgathering agent” photo that the paper slaps up. It is much more inquisitive, welcoming, possibly amused without being dorky.

  3. Bob Huffman

    Your columns make me smile… you might as well join me.

  4. Martha Troxel

    I would try a new picture with the option that if it looks as bad or worse , you could pitch it.At least , it doesn’t look like some company id’s I have seen.

  5. snapper

    I like the idea of a Munchausen handlebar and an eye patch – no one will notice if there is a smile, it will simply be assumed that there is one by proxy.

  6. Steve

    My favored online photo of myself is BLANK, I never recieve any comments positive or negative about my looks, and if I break any copyright laws they won’t have a photo for the wanted poster. Since I don’t push the pencil with my face, I figure the public’s need to know what I look like, would crush them. It is the same as finally connecting with that radio “personality” of your dreams and finding them to be four feet tall and five feet wide with skin the color of typing paper from hosting all night call in programs. If you change, go blank, otherwise tell them it isn’t you, just some clown you shot on the street with lighting flashes as a back light.

  7. John

    I’ve always thought it looks “thoughtful.” Not depressing by any means. I don’t think a smiling picture would fit with all of your columns, you know? I like this one.

  8. Junie

    Yes, you look way too serious in the photo, please change it (since you asked). I personally don’t like the one of you grabbing at your hair either. I think a picture showing you a little more relaxed would be good!

    Thanks for asking.

  9. Jim Mead

    Todd,
    I vote for a smiling Todd. Show us some enamel.
    Oh, wait, you already know my opinion.
    Jim Mead

  10. Martha Troxel

    I liked your picture on Sunday. I was suprised to see a happier Todd!

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