An everchanging identity: UK freshman creates characters in costumes to amuse those along Rose Street weekly

Every Tuesday psychology freshman Jason Baker dresses up as different characters just for fun. Photo by Roy York

Jason Baker has multiple personalities. So far he has been a monk, a hula girl and a baby. And that’s all in just one semester.

With the help of his friends, the psychology freshman has taken it upon himself to dress up as a different character every Tuesday and Thursday for the entertainment of fellow students.

Baker chooses from a cornucopia of ideas  when he attends class. He receives a multitude of stares and even more laughs.

Many UK students interacted with Baker on Thursday when he dressed as a baby, complete with a diaper, pacifier and a bib that read, “I love my daddy.”

Standing in the crosswalk on Rose Street outside the Chemistry-Physics Building, Baker asked anyone passing by if they were interested in blowing bubbles. Many people took him up on his offer, but far more stopped to take pictures.

“This is the best (costume) yet,” said pre-med biology freshman Austin Stratton. “The other ones were just kind of thrown together. This one we actually put some thought into.”

The whole concept began when Baker and his roommate were running late for class one day earlier in the semester. He overslept and only had a short amount of time to get ready.

“I jumped out of bed, put a Snuggie on and went to class,” Baker said.

The rest is history. Since that day, Baker has dressed up as cotton-eyed Joe, a “Hawaiian guy,” a rabbi and now a baby.

When Baker dressed as a monk last Thursday, he stood in the Rose Street crosswalk with a broom. Whenever someone walked by with his or her shoes on, Baker would sweep after them. If the person removed his or her shoes, however, Baker let them pass unharmed.

When Baker dressed up as a rabbi Tuesday, he decided to climb a tree. He greeted fellow students with outstretched arms and even whistled at a few girls.

“Don’t act like you’re not impressed,” Stratton yelled to people watching.

All seemed well until two UK police cars pulled over. The officers, however, exited their cars with muffled laughs and asked Baker to come down from the tree.

“It’s just not appropriate behavior on a college campus,” said Officer Steve Dishion past a smile.

The three officers asked for Baker’s identification and left him with a warning.

Baker said he has become pretty familiar with UK Police. A few have told their fellow officers to come see him on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the future, he said.

Baker often goes to his Introduction to Psychology class in costume, but his lecturer Arthur Beaman said he doesn’t mind the attention Baker draws.

“I haven’t thought about asking him to stop,” Beaman said. “ … It’s a lot less distracting than those g** d*** cell phones.”

When Baker dresses up, he said many people ask him if he is pledging to a fraternity or if he lost a bet. Beaman said initiation rights often drive pledges to perform outlandish actions, but even he has no explanation for Baker’s antics.

“I have no psychological interpretation,” Beaman said. “I thought at first he was pledging to a fraternity. We know from cognitive dissonance that … the more you suffer for a goal, the more valuable the goal is.”

The mystery remains as to why Baker continues his grand charade.

“The main reason now is just to get people’s reactions,” he said. “I like making people smile.”