I am better than my reputation.
One year I had a job conducting seminars in public speaking. A speaker who is attempting to convince others will face three different groups of listeners: those who agree, those who disagree and those who aren't sure. Those who agree will continue to agree, those who aren't sure can be convinced, those who disagree will probably continue to disagree but they might be turned into those who aren't sure.
One inharmonious fact of life is that the moment you put yourself out into the public, to any degree at all, you will create those who disagree, and sometimes that disagreement can be very damaging. Other than the degree of exposure, it doesn't matter whether you are an Internet blogger or the President of the United States. As soon as you put yourself out there you will be under attack, either by anonymous trolls or life threatening assassins. And character assassination is one of the cherished forms of offense by the offensive.
What does DB stand for? Desperate Bachelor? No. Dumb Bozo? Maybe. Deep Brain? Possibly. Dear Brother? I hope so. Dilapidated Bum. Most likely. When people learn my real name I advise them not to Google me because they will probably read all sorts of things about me that aren't true.
I was never a star. I never hit the pages of People or TV Guide. But I had a public face as all performers do and had to read and hear the gossip surrounding me from those who could only be described as enemies.
What causes that enmity? Envy, an inferiority complex or it's opposite, judgmentalism, orneriness or the absurd notion that if you're out there somehow they own you. I was on the air one night when a fellow called and told me he had opinions about my work and since I was a public person he could say anything he wanted to me. He really believed that. I politely cut the conversation short.
Some people think they have private information about your secret life which you are trying to hide and which they can "leak" to the press. And, of course, the press will eat it up whether it's true or not. They can always publish a disclaimer later. But in the meantime it has become legend and part of your archive and reputation.
The only way to avoid falling into the talons of such predators is to become a complete hermit. And there are a few people who have done that, I guess. I like living alone most of the time, but the hermit's life is not for me. I enjoy knowing other people. And if anyone wants to know the deep, dark, mysterious secrets of my life, they can ask me. And I might tell them. Or I might tell them to mind their own business.
In the meantime, eschewing the false faces pasted on my reputation by those whose lives are hollow otherwise, I remain:
(This is not a contest.)
Given the resources and opportunity, what one thing do you want to do in 2010 that you've never done before.
You have all Winter to answer. Answers will be posted on the first day of Spring.
15 responses so far.
DB - The Vagabond