Luke's mini-Catfish experience on PostSecret

My pal Luke Pebler was an unwitting PostSecret card, and he hopes the sender will get in touch with him.

201010151308On Saturday night, I received a frantic text from my wife instructing me to check "seriously right now." Although I was peripherally aware of the site, full of anonymous secrets collaged onto postcards, I had never visited.

Imagine my surprise, then, when the page loaded and the first postcard was me. Specifically, an old picture of me standing in my living room, wearing a Denver Broncos jersey and giving the camera a thumbs-up. The following handwritten secret had been overlaid:

To impress a girl

I rooted for the Denver Broncos

I hate myself for it

Over the next couple days I received many messages from friends and family, all ZOMGing over my appearance. The reactions broke cleanly into two camps — about half thought it was hilarious and assumed that I or someone close to me had submitted it as a goof; the other half were convinced that a stranger had used the photo, and found that bizarre and slightly creepy. My wife, a media scholar, immediately pointed out that I was a "creator" whose work has been "poached and reinterpreted."

I wasn't sure what to feel, at first. Tickled? Flattered? Sketched out?

The more I think about it, the more I believe the author must be a stranger with an earnest secret, and not a friend playing a prank. As unlikely as it would be for a random someone to find and use the old pic (public on Flickr since 2006), it makes more sense than someone trying to tease me, through a site that I never read, by suggesting that I faked Broncos fandom (Preposterous!) in order to impress my (NFL-agnostic) wife.

I'm fascinated by the idea of someone using an amateur photograph of a stranger in such a fashion, when most PostSecrets make use of professional imagery from print ads or magazines. This person went to the trouble to find my picture online, print it out, add their secret, and snail mail it to PostSecret — where it was rescanned and put back online, thus completing the social-media-compost Circle of Life.

I've gotten over my initial case of the willies. I'm dying to meet this person.

Which is, of course, antithetical to everything PostSecret stands for — but I don't care. If you're out there, sir or madam — I admire your sense of humor and taste in stock imagery. Please consider getting in touch.