I staggered out of the back bedroom, feeling for all the world like I was about to explode. Either from the feeling that I was about to vomit or from the feeling in my head where I'd been hit. Probably both of those things were a factor, it is hard sometimes to keep track of what's going on in a moment like this one I found myself deep into.

After some time, it occurred to me that I could not quite remember how long it had been since I heard any screaming or those other, more frightening sounds that had been coming from the back bedroom, where Bubba Hightops was presently about his own business, I supposed.

When I finally turned, after carefully weighing my options and balancing my desire to run full speed away with the desire to see who was still standing in that bedroom, all I could see was Bubba Hightops himself and alone standing behind me with a wicked evil grin on his blood-smeared face and what looked to be like more fingers in his hand than he had on his own personal self's hand.

He also seemed right pleased with himself and I didn't want to ask questions right then. I was busy trying not to bleed on the carpet. Or vomit on it. I was raised better than all that.

We left the house, quietly, wondering what was in that bag that them two fellows had been very against us taking away with. Bubba felt certain it was gold, or - if not something of monetary value - certainly something more tangible to some of his more, well, earthly pursuits.

Presently, we stumbled upon Quiet Simon. He had apparently found his way down from where he had left him, which as you recall was unconscious by the front porch of the Jones house on the hill around the far bend, and he was mighty glad to see us. It turns out the Joneses have a rather nasty attitude towards even shy people like Simon sleeping near their porch. They also breed angry dogs.

So, Quiet Simon, Bubba, and I slipped back into the night. I still couldn't quite figure what I was more concerned about: what was in that bag we had just stolen from those fellows back there or what plans Bubba had for those fingers he was still clutching like presents from one of them carnivals that blow through town just often enough to make you forget how much you hate them.

No real news on the depression front, which if you're depressed you'll know is usually not a good sign. As I mumbled in the catbox somewhat flippantly, I can check myself for various Signs of Depression. Tonight - Ocean's Eleven for the Nth time on the TV, two (and two too many) servings of mint chip ice cream, dark living room. Yep. Trifecta.

I've been reading about the 'Nymwars' which is the latest front on the never-ending war between liberty and security, broadly written. On the side of liberty, people want the right to define their own identities, now in the online arena. Some want the right to pseudonyms; some just want the ability to express their names in their native languages, systems and scripts without having to shoehorn themselves into a Western-centric naming model for the convenience of the other side. I think I need to rant about that sometime, but not now. The main point for the purposes of this discussion, though, is that there is a vocal group of relatively smart and eloquent people arguing that they want the rights to use a pseudonym so that they can be more themself than if forced to use a 'real name.' The right to establish a long-term, stable pseudonym allows them to express views, preferences, personality traits that they cannot or will not express under their 'real' identity. This, they argue, is a freedom, and a precious one.

I agree with them. Generally, I don't worry about that kind of thing much, because I am fairly well known (in my 'Real Identity') for just not giving a fuck what people think about my behavior and personality. But in recent years I've been pretty lax about maintaining a barrier between this identity and my real one - to the point where it would take any reasonable Googler maybe four seconds to link the two.

I guess that's OK, because there's nothing in my 'real life' that I have explicitly hidden from this one and there's nothing in this identity that I've needed to hide from the other. But, see, eventually, that falls apart.

I've realized, in recent months as I've been writing about my depression, that there are things I need to censor. Mostly because they involve other people in real life. Not because I want to talk about them here but don't want them to know, but because there are things that I don't talk about with anyone, on or offline, usually because I've been entrusted with information or am in a position to violate confidences, and that's a big nono.

And, really, I've reached a point where there are things that are probably somewhat relevant to my depression which I realize I can't talk about. Not because I'm ashamed of them, but because they involve other people - and involve things those other people may or may not know, and/or things they may not want discussed. And because my two identities are now easily linked, I can't in good conscience talk about them, because whether or not the people in question read E2, this is The Internet, and that shit will just exist, forever, indexed, searchable and associated with both my identities.

It's not a really big deal. It just means I can't write about some of the facets of my depression.

But that's grating. It's annoying. If I had maintained actual anonymity - separation from my real identity - then I would be easily able to write about these things without them being identifiably linked to those other people.

I can't do that.

What those things are and who the people are are things I haven't ever written about here - and there is enough of my life that that's not enough for anyone who matters to figure out what I'm talking about. Some who know me might guess, but that's okay.

It's just...I don't know.

I feel myself sliding down the slope, you know? Not that fast, but with a certain iron momentum. Do you hear that sound, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability. i don't know how to slow or stop or - abstract fantasy - reverse it. Actually, fantasy is the wrong word. A fantasy is an imaginary desirable state. While reversing the slide would certainly be desirable, I can't imagine it anymore. I can't fantasize about being better. All I can do is express a desire for the abstract concept. In some philosophies, or martial arts, there is an importance of the concepts of getting there and being there. Imagine where you're going or what you're trying to achieve; hold it in your mind, and know you're getting/going there- and soon enough, you'll be there.

I can't do that, anymore. It's one of the things I lost, somewhere.

When I was a kid, one of the things that I've lost now that made my life workable was the confidence that there was an answer. There was always something that could be done - that I could do, or that someone else could do, that could fix most any problem short of incurable diseases or trauma beyond a certain point. I don't know if you know what I mean, but let me try again - if I wanted something to happen that didn't involve a violation of physical law, all I needed to know was what the cost would be, and the willingness to pay that cost. But the bedrock certainty was that the path or action would be knowable. The cost might be hard to tot up; the price might take a smaller or enormous sacrifice, but there would be a process that could be followed, a path that could be taken; Getting There.

What I lost, I think, was that certainty. I live, now, in a world where things are broken - not things in The World, but things about me; things are wrong with me, with my behavior, with my actions, with my health. And some of them I certainly do know the path to fixing; some of those I can't or won't pay the price for, and some I can and will. But other than that, there are now things that I have no map for; I wouldn't know who to pay, let alone how much, and I wouldn't even know what I'd need to ask them to do. There are things I can guess that I need to fix, myself, but I don't know how. I don't know how. This is not something I was accustomed to, in my arrogant youth.

But here I am.

If you happen to follow the standard american system of representing calender time for numbers, today is 9-1-11 which in numerology means absolutely nothing.

9 + 1 + 11 is 21. Divide that by 3 (because there are three terms added) and you get 7.

9 + 1 + 1 + 1 is 12. Divide that by four (because there are four terms added this time) and you get 3.

Or, instead of dividing the sums, add the digits of each sum and they're the same.

By most accounts, three is a good number.

 


Today in my email I received notice that one Kai Nagata, former Canadian television reporter, has updated his personal blog. He's interesting. Very dynamic. Purports to be unemployed and an independent voice. Employs his alleged insider=>outsider p.ov. to examine the news media machine as a whole as well as the economy and the interdependent nature of Canada and the US. Worth googling to read and/or convince him to node.

 


Like the Custodian, I've been thinking recently about the nymwars. I have not been reading too many of the arguments on either side tho because it seems like the only new thing about the debate is the term referring to it. Seems pretty clear to me that sites like this where one may adopt a persona independent of their Real Name will become more and more rare. Because of the internet, anonymity in the truest sense of the word is only possible now if you don't drive a car, don't email, have no health insurance, only ever use cash and get paid under the table.

Even then it likely won't last long—not because anyone will be looking for you, because they won't—but rather because the way we compose our thoughts is as distinct as our handwriting. Anne Rice gave up pretending not to be A. N. Roquelaure and David Foster Wallace didn't last long as either Willem R. deGroot or Elizabeth Klemm. Joyce Carol Oates has a few words on the subject.

Anonymous is a lie.

As a culture we are still learning how to conduct ourselves within the context of a universal and lasting index of our acts and thoughts. We probably always will be, until the time when bar codes are assigned at birth or we greet death.

The places where we can rest easy, safely pseudonymous are so few. So—don't let me know who you are now.

Unless you really want to.

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