One of my less-explainable traits is my ability to fixate on individuals with whom I will never, ever have any sort of connection, something I developed at the very beginning of grade school and never entirely outgrew. Thinking myself brighter than I actually was, I proposed to a classmate some sort of time-sharing operation with which we could monopolize the time of that pretty blonde in our first-grade class. He wasn't particularly interested, and once presented with the plan, neither was she.

Inevitably, I suppose, I end up fixating, not on the individual herself, but on an artificially constructed image, one I've assembled out of the factors I find most appealing. Occasionally I have played with this tendency in my pony stories. In chapter four of The way she used to be, Twist has to remind Broken Spoke that he'd fallen hard for an eleven-year-old filly, and, well, now she's fifty-one and very different. The most blatant example, of course, is the entirety of the TwiBrush Tales, focusing on the relationship between Twilight Sparkle and a human turned pony; it's not impossible to see some similarities between said former human and your humble narrator. And while this Twi is indeed drawn from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series, she departs from canon in precisely the way I need her to in order to make the stories work. This is presumably okay with Tara Strong, the speaking voice of Twilight Sparkle: "It's ok to be in love with an animated drawing," she says, "as long as you understand they cannot put out." That's fine. I have no expectation of return on my emotional investment.

Similar conditions obtain with my headcanon version of singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, though some of the modifications were obtained from a third party: the person who in April 2014 began a Twitter account called @SwiftOnSecurity, with this admission the following month:

[T]he account is written from the perspective of its subject living both her life and that of a legitimate professional in Information Technology/Information Security. The position and treatment of women in this sector is a common discussion point and open to criticism. Emphasis on femininity being a distraction or primary theme is something that doesn't fit in this climate. First and foremost she is a professional, but one with a public image to play off and make references to. This keeps the character a good place to air my own musing on information security.

After a couple of months of this, I had pretty well merged Taylor Swift and @SwiftOnSecurity into one person; it is much easier, for me anyway, to assume that Taylor Swift, a legendarily security-minded individual, actually would have a side career in InfoSec, and that some of the same beliefs that inform her life and her artistry would of necessity inform her approach to secure computing.

It didn't occur to me until this week that both Twilight Sparkle and Taylor Swift have the same initials. (Swift in real life has the middle initial A; some fanfic authors have given Twi a middle initial, though I haven't.) After my usual spate of egregious overthinking the matter, I decided to do a Compare and Contrast.

Twilight Sparkle Taylor Swift
Age About 23 26
Height 10.5 hands 5 feet 11 inches
Home Ponyville New York
Hair/mane color Blue with red/purple stripe Blonde to, um, less blonde
Legs 4 2
Singing voice Rebecca Shoichet Her own
Education Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School
Squad members 5 (plus Spike) About 20
Representative song "Find a Way" "I Knew You Were Trouble"
Have I any chance? Not really Not really

Well, so much for that idea. And life, I admit, would be so much simpler if I could keep the fixations down to a mere two. (I am a firm believer in monogamy, once the relationship is established; in neither case here is a relationship within the bounds of possibility.) Still, if the world ever demands a treatise on Worship From Afar, I've got chapters — indeed, chapters upon chapters — to contribute.

The Vent

  17 December 2015

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 Text copyright © 2015 by Charles G. Hill