It reminds me of a tale about someone playing a prank on some of the members of the British Parliament. They simply sent an unsigned note in their mailboxes that said, "The police are watching: act normal." According to legend, three members fled town. couldn't corroborate this story, but I did see that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle claimed he one sent five or so important people a telegram reading "ALL IS DISCOVERED - FLEE AT ONCE." According to Doyle, they all fled the country by the end of the week.
This is the trouble with blogs where I really want to vent, but I don't want to give away any incriminating details. This started with me with convention reviews where I'd post something like:
Innocuous Friendly Line in my Blog: Jane, I stopped by the video room to say hi, but I didn't see you. :( Catch you next time!
Blog Commenter: That's because Jane was negligent in her duties, left the video room unattended, and is a complete flake.
Jane: I AM NOT. PUNKIE, WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO ME??
Ugh. Many years ago, I was part of some unknown drama when the owner of a BBS thought I was sending mysterious signals to other members claiming things she never did explain except to say that my mysterious code "got it wrong." I always imagined this happened:
Me [being literal]: Last week, I went to a Chinese restaurant in this dying shopping center in Reston. The waitress was really rude. I hate it when people SEEM sarcastic, but you can't really tell because they have a poker face, but you feel like they are insulting you, but you have no proof. She was like that, and I really don't think I am going back.
Her: [thinking] He's talking about Ling Choo, one of the moderators on Forum Q, I bet. He's friends with Anna Banana, and Anna and Ling are fighting.
Her: [in email] Look, if you have a problem with one of our moderators, don't be posting all over your blog something that's not your business!
Me: Uh... what?
Her: Your blog. People read it. It's not funny.
Me: Um... what are you TALKING about?
Her: You heard me. "Chinese restaurant" and all. That's racist. You have no idea what's going on, STAY OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S BUSINESS! It's not your fight. You have issues with one of my moderators? Talk to me directly instead of making veiled threats.
Me: What post? I was ranting about a sarcastic but poker-faced waitress at this run down Chinese restaurant in a dying shopping center near my house. That's not racist. I didn't even say if she was Asian or not.
Her: Yeah, I am sure... I am watching you...
That's not the exact line of what happened. In fact, she never did point out what posts she was talking about, but the whole thing stank of a giant miscommunication where I only had a small accidental part of a much larger story.
Sometimes I want to vent, like "I was at a con last week, and boy, the guy running registration was a jerk!" but unless I am willing to say it to his face (and to the face of all his friends), I can't say it. Hell, I might even unintentionally involve Katsucon in the fray if I am not careful. "The Vice Chair of Katsucon said BlahblahCon sucks!"
As I have gained Facebook friends over the last few years, I have had to remove some incriminating childhood stories about people. Funny anecdotes to be sure, but sometimes they have disastrous consequences. Years ago, I wrote a blurb about a friend who by age 13, she was already addicted to heroin. Long story short, her transgressions were uncovered. There is a LOT I am skipping of this epic story about someone who was a dear friend of mine and how she recovered from some of the worst of conditions. That friend found my blog entry and politely said, "That part of my life is over now. I'd appreciate it if you would remove it from the Internet." That's fair. Or the one where I mentioned a childhood friend was a kingpin in an impromptu shoplifting ring. Or the guy who was a cokehead as a teen and is now practicing law. One of my former bullies is a police officer.
I also had a friend who is now a religious-themed schoolteacher where I only mentioned briefly she was my friend in a few entries, but she had changed and didn't want to be associated with "what you have become." "You are no longer part of my life and wish not to be associated with you," she said. "You have a very colorful memory and you are very creative and a talented writer. Your liberties with the memories of others, however, does not do you credit, and I respectfully request that you stick to fiction and stop posting elaborate and fanciful Internet musings of a past that involves a great deal of underage drinking. Please remove the following posts out of the respect of my family..." I never know if they think they are being diplomatic by essentially calling me a drunken liar in fancy words, but I almost replied:
I have removed the links you suggested, and took your advice and written everything I remember about you and your troubled past as part of a work of fiction in an upcoming novel. This allowed me the freedom to add more to the story, including adding more realistic sense of environment without being curtailed by any truth I might have been bound to by stating it in public. I respect your personal methods of the abnegation, and I am delighted that you used generous and loquacious terms to describe what essentially, was an accusation of intentional and selective senility. You have inspired me, and those friends you have also forgotten, to jointly celebrate your former youth and the person you have hidden behind the knots you cannot comb out under that fancy Sunday bonnet.
And in the future, before you accuse someone of an alcoholic sense of horizon, keep in mind I turned down every bottle, every shot, and every toke you offered me, no matter how numerous, no matter how many other offers you said would go with it should I decide to be more "loosened up." I was sober when you were most certainly not. And it was the joint sacrifice by us, as a more sober peer group, that made the fake calls to your mother while you were at a friend's house emptying the colorful contents of your stomach into their guest toilet because of your excessive recreational pharmaceutical ingestion. It was your best friend who was grounded from attending her prom because she lied to save your skin, knowing full well you would be arrested if you did not have a fake alibi top prove you did not try and steal that pregnancy testing kit (congratulations on the negative result, BTW... all of them). We all make mistakes and we all have youthful transgressions, which is why I removed those stories, but you have a lot of nerve saying they are lies when they PALE in comparison to what we could have posted you doing. And some of us have the pictures to prove it. I am glad you have found God and laid down your sword and proselytized yourself in the name of Lord Jesus Christ the Savior and Dessert Topping, but when it's all over, and you are laid to rest in that fancy dress your well-meaning grandchildren picked out for you, you will meet God. You will see Him, and all truth shall be known in His light. And you'd better be wearing a BIG bonnet when that happens.
However, I did not, because that would have been immature, childish, and just made things worse. And the funniest part? It wasn't even about her. It was about someone else years after high school. I had made the story pretty generic about someone else and she sent me an e-mail tell me to stop posting lies about her. I hadn't even HEARD from her since 1985, and the story clearly came from the days I was in Prune Bran.