… IN A BLAZE OF GLORY
Today a coworker said to me a series of words I’ve long been dreading hearing. The words, in no particular order, were:
“Jerry” “website” “your” “I” “found”
It didn’t happen quite the way I always imagined it would. I kind of expected I’d be summoned to a dark room, the door would be closed, a security guard would be waiting and soon after the fateful words were uttered, the office manager would click a stopwatch that would count down the five minutes I had to gather all my belongings, turn in my security card and disappear forever.
Thankfully, the words were said in a friendly, conversational manner, from a well-meaning source. They were also said quite loudly and openly in the hallway, where many other people could hear. I quickly gave the coworker the “Shhhhhhh!” motion, she responded with the “Oh, I’m so sorry!” pantomime, and then she whispered to me that, now that she knew it was something secret, she’d keep it quiet and never, ever go back for a closer look at what she’d uncovered.
Of course, if it were me, I would’ve said the exact same thing. And then I immediately would’ve gone back and read every single word, pausing only for the drive home, after which I would’ve logged back on and read late into night. I believe my coworker to be an honest, sincere friend who respects my privacy, but I’m aware that there’s a chance that simple human curiosity may bring her back to this site at some point. And of course, there’s always the chance that one of the, oh, ten million or so people who overheard her might have thought, “Jerry has a website?” and immediately tracked me down through Google. (I once lived under the safety of sharing my name with a famous lap-dwelling TV personality of the past, who is so beloved by Google that any website actually relating to me was buried down in the thousands in any search for my name. Thanks to an article I wrote for a particular online zine which rates high with the search engines, the real me is now much easier to sort out from my wooden namesake. Oops.)
My first responses to this disturbing development were all gross overreactions. I wondered if I’d have to take the site down altogether. Or maybe I could switch to pseudonym mode and hide this blog somewhere else on the WWW. “Porque, Javier, Porque”, perhaps? I never thought about murder, but now that I think about it, I’m a bit surprised that I never considered that option. (That’s a joke, coworker, the kind I often make on this site. See, not funny. Not worth reading, right?) Finally, I settled on another, much saner response:
It’s okay. We’re all friends here. You can go on like normal and pretend like you never saw this, but my site meter will give you away. (Yes, it’s true. Because we share an IP address, I’m going to know every time you come to this blog and exactly how long you stay.)
I assure you that nothing I’ve written here is really all that interesting, but yes, I have posted a couple of anecdotes about our office that you’d probably enjoy. Today’s post was going to be about the coffee machine showdown. You know, how they decided that the fancy coffee machine we had wasn’t fancy enough, so they ordered a super fancy one to replace it? And how my boss was pissed off that he wasn’t included in the decision, so he cursed the new machine (which really is extremely nice and has little packets of chocolate flakes for cappuccinos and everything and which everyone else loves)? And how he claimed we deserved better and pouted until they ordered him a super duper fancy coffee machine from Starbucks? And how we now have two brand new coffee machines battling it out for supremacy in our kitchen? And how my boss thinks he’s a hero because he brought Starbucks to our office, but everyone really thinks he’s even more of a bozo than ever? I really wanted to post the whole story, but you can see how something like that, if people from work were reading it, could get me in a lot of trouble, right?
So I make you this offer: read away! If you want, I’ll even give you a list of the posts where I bitch about work and call my boss childish names (I know you hate him as much as I do!) so you don’t have to scan the whole site looking for them.
JUST DON’T TELL ANYONE ELSE.
I can’t stress that enough. I know that other people from the office might get a kick out of learning that I’ve been trashing my boss for a small internet audience for almost a year and a half. But you know how things like this can get out of control if they get passed around. Let’s just keep this our little secret, okay?
Someday I will leave this company. (I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s going to be soon.) But even then, assuming that this blog** is not the cause of my demise, as it may well be, I ask that you keep this to yourself. Yes, my boss deserves to have his lunacy exposed, but I believe karma will catch up with him one way or another, and his embarrassment doesn’t need to come in a way that makes my life more difficult. I’m just a guy who likes to share little stories of his life and who falsely believed he’d have all the anonymity he needed while doing it.
Since that anonymity is pretty much blown now, and since there may be a part of you that’s still wondering whether you’ve got the right Jerry at all, since my last name is (cleverly) nowhere on this site, I’ll leave you with a message from my heart:
You’re a good friend, and I value our relationship. I know I can count on you to keep this to yourself.
Jerry A. Schwarzenman
* Your name concealed for your protection. See, aren’t I a nice guy?
** I realize you may not have seen a lot of blogs before, or even heard of them. The term “blog” is short for “web log”, and lots of people have them. If you want to read some more, check out the ones on the left side of my page. They’re all really good.