I am a fellow, a professor of sorts, who is doing work under an anonymous guise and I have just finished reading your book "Kill Yourself! The Terrible Things People Say and Do When They Aren't Themselves." Now, before you start to usher a reply, I am not writing to disagree with you.
My complaint is that my real name is very plain and I prefer to have a fictional one. You don't seem to suffer this problem, since your real name is quite fictional-sounding on its own.
I do realize that having a fictional name makes me a bad person, but how bad of a person does it make me? Please rate on the scale of John Q. Public to Mister X.
Also, is it too late to be real?
His reply came in a few days:
Yes, it's true! I know your real name! I asked a few of my experts to trace back the little e-mail you sent and it lined up with the coordinates of one Pirate O's General Store in Draper, Utah. It seems that you composed the e-mail while you were plugged into their connection, enjoying a Sangria Senorial it seems. A quick call to store owner Chase McGuinn sorted all of this out. Now
Many, many years ago, so long ago that it's a real stretch to find anyone else who can remember this, on the old Oprah show, she did a feature on individuals who had left society and, in the process, had eliminated every trace of themselves. She had like three or four guests up on stage, if I recall correctly, and they had all gone back and diligently destroyed every little bit of information previously known about them. Burning birth certificates and ID cards, canceling bank accounts. Stealing photos out of family member's albums and destroying them. They had hired hackers to break into schools and erase their records. In fact, each of these persons had done such a bang-up job that all that was know about each of them was their social security numbers. (Although Oprah's researchers were unable to say which social belonged to which person; these numbers were only know because of the noticeable gaps that were left in the government's records.) On the program, these people sat in the dark, nameless and unsorted. No one know who the were.
The audience laughed, female laughter. Incidentally, the videotape of this program can be seen at http://youtube.com/watch?v=ShpcjWG_Me0. (I don't know if it is proper to
dump a YouTube address here. It feels like I have maybe just gone ahead and ruined what I am writing by doing that. Has all of this writing lost its timelessness, to have this relic here? But maybe this link will never break, maybe it will stay there for all time. Maybe it's me. I'm a relic which is already out of his time in the present age. Maybe I am what is holding things back, maybe I am already not of any relevance. Good things to consider.)
Allow me to leave the jerktoasters on Oprah's darkened stage while I drop a name. Any of you happened to read the work of Dr. Emery Pestus? I can't go on with this story until you've read him, he's a big name in -nymity. Knows everything about it. Naturally, he goes on about all the things you know already: that anonymity obscures the truth, that it opens a vent for hatred, basically that it turns people into vile and slanderous beasts. But too often we let disguised persons slide when it comes to little poems or donations.
On that point of Anonymous donations, he writes:
Where one sees Anonymous etched, one witnesses the spoil of all the other names etched on the stone beneath it. In many cases, the gift of each part is the same, but the gift or Anonymous seems somehow the more virtuous. This lie speaks to the cynicism of our time! Where is the real man in all of this? Where has he hidden? We hate the man who is good and who is himself.
It's a little taller, but it still looks like an o to me. If you go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShpcjWG_Meo it says "This video is unavailable", which means that a video did exist at some point at that URL.