This is Manuel Pampo. We go way back. I met him through Not Elvis's guestbook, but it's a bit of a misnomer to say that you've met Manuel - one day, he just appears in your life and, with a head this big, there's no way to stop him from becoming a part of it.

Not Elvis had a great, great web site and a thriving guestbook. In a guestbook, you can leave a text message for everyone to read or a link to your own web site; unfortunately, many people just fill other peoples' guestbooks with ads for their own sites (figuring that cheap advertising is all that stands between their creepy angel-themed/hard-twink porn site and greatness). Manuel, of course, is no such mundane creature. He took it to the next level. He didn't leave much of a message, nor did he leave a shiny ad for his own web site (although there was a link); instead, striking a blow against the depersonalized nature of online communications, he left this fucking huge picture of his head behind. In all its glory, and in this actual size. (I haven't blown it up at all.) For a moment, the world stood still as its web browsers staggered under the weight of displaying this immense fucking head.

What made Manuel think that anyone wanted to see his head, especially in such microscopic detail? No one knew. I mean, let's be honest. He's not a devastatingly handsome man. My initial reaction was not to wonder about the poetry that must lurk behind this smooth, hunky facade; actually, my initial reaction was one of gratitude toward the wise people who impressed upon me from an early age the notion that gnawing on power cords was not a healthy lifestyle choice.

No matter how we tried to forget it, the question lingered, much like the humongous head that inspired it: why did Manuel leave this picture in the guestbook? I and several other people went to Manuel's own guestbook and asked him, but our questions were always removed without explanation. We knew so little about him. We knew that he was from Hawaii, we knew his ICQ number, and we knew that he had what appeared to be a perverse obsession with water sports; we knew nothing else.

I have my own way of dealing with Manuel. I like to think of him my own personal Floating Jesus Head, that classic harbinger of spiritual madness updated for the digital age. Without warning, there he is, suspended in air, staring at you; there's no way to say what the hell it means, but when it suddenly appears there in front of you, there's really no way to ignore it. Just huddle closely to your nightlight and whisper "Heads aren't that big in real life. Heads aren't that big..."

Manuel has never answered any of my questions about his fucking gigantic head. Each year, though, I honestly still get Christmas emails from him. Say what you will about the man, but he knows how to network.

(photo: unknown)

Previous - Next