Now here’s a guy who’s not afraid to make fun of himself.
Jay Maynard is a computer programmer and system administrator. But he’s most famous for the hand-painted spandex costume he created, which was inspired by the movie TRON.
He wore the suit at Penguicon 2.0, a science-fiction and Linux convention he attended. After some positive feedback from his fellow conventioneers, Jay decided to add a link his site, Tronguy.net, on the popular tech blog Slashdot.
He received hundreds of comments – most of them negative. "Ahhh! Fat guy in spandex!" Initially, Maynard was hurt by the comments, but he soon realised that there were a few people who saluted his fanaticism and maybe even empathized with him.
"I finally decided that if somebody's got a problem, too bad," Maynard says. "I'm going to have fun my way."
He also started receiving interview requests from radio shows and TV programmes. "They were approaching it strictly from the angle of 'Let's make fun of the geek,' " Maynard says. "But I think I won them over."
He appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and was such a hit that Kimmel hired him as a temporary on-air correspondent. As Tron Guy, Maynard interviewed people at a bodybuilding contest, a pit bull show and a screening of the movie Fahrenheit 9/11. Each time, he brought the conversation back to Tron.
"The biggest thing I've learned," he admits, "is that no matter what the opinions of the big, unwashed masses are, I'm going to have fun my way."
Jay registered the domain Tronguy.net and keeps a LiveJournal. Tron guy has appeared at many conventions and other public appearances in full costume, he’s stood up in support of issues like net neutrality and he’s done many interviews about his Internet fame.
He’s also been parodied on South Park, along with a whole bunch of other memes. Because he sees the funny side of his Internet fame, and plays it up, Tron Guy has actually become a well-liked character, with many people commending him for his courage for being himself.