Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ed Gruberman (Moving Days P)

As is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of words that comprise this blog, I've never lacked for material to write about. Oddly, this used to frustrate me in the early days when I was attempting more of a real time blogging structure and would often have so many blogworthy events occur on a given afternoon that running multiple posts for that day seemed the only proper way to handle it. Eventually, though, I got over that. As in newspapers, with my particular blogging subject most of the blogworthy events had a pretty long shelf life and did not have to be posted immediately. There was, therefore, very little reason to blog in real time unless events in my life called for it. So I swiftly developed a backlog (backblog?) of material which I was able to parcel out, rewrite, refine, and often discard. I've been able to take entire vacations and continue to post on a week-daily basis.

It was because of this backlog that I had no fear about running out of material during our big move into the new building. What I was concerned about was whether or not to mention the move at all.

When I first began the blog, I didn't really care if people who read the blog knew who I was in real life. My thought was that anyone local who might not like what I was writing was unlikely to stumble upon the blog, but if outsiders traced it back what did it really matter? I even used the real last name of the now pseudonymous Fagin Family for a very long time claiming I didn't care if they found it because we had so much dirt on them that they'd never dare sue. And, by and large, this was not a problem for me for the first couple of years of the blog. As the old saying goes, though, it only takes one bad asshole to spoil the bushel. This being the internet, of course, the assholes did not come in single servings.

Keep in mind, when I say "assholes" I'm not talking about readers who've disagreed with me, who don't like the blog in the first place, who think I'm whining and aren't afraid to tell me in the comments or in an email. That kind of thing comes with the territory and I've always made it a point to publish such negative comments and to address issues made via the occasional negative email I've received. No, the assholes I'm talking about are those souls who have seen their way fit to drop pebbles into the pond of my real life. There have been quite a few of them and until this moment I've made it standard operating procedure not to mention their assholery because it seems unwise to give such behavior publicity. However, just as a for-instance, I will now break that rule twice..

Instance #1-- A gentleman phoned my "liberry" workplace, asked a co-worker of mine if he could speak to me, using my real name, and when I came to the phone he screamed, "This is Mr. Stanky! I love your blog!!!" at the top of his lungs. Then he hung up. (And with all the similar assholes I've dealt with, the level creativity never has never risen above the bar set by this guy.)

Instance #2-- This one was not so much an asshole as someone behaving unwisely. I received a phone call, again at work, again using my real name, from a lady who claimed to be calling from another state. She said she was doing research into the geneal0gy of the aforementioned Fagin Family (only she used their real name), being as how she too was named Fagin (again), had read about them on my blog, knew exactly where I was located, was pretty sure a branch of her particular Fagin clan had made their way here at some point in the past. Naturally, she wanted to know what I could tell her about the local crew and their origins. (This person also expressed confusion as to why I no longer used their real name when referring to them on the blog. She'd searched and searched but could no longer find the original reference.) I started to point out to her that anyone who'd read this blog for the length of time she evidently had should have long ago realized that there is no room in my heart for helping my OWN patrons with geneal0gy research, let alone out-of-state strangers calling me up out of the blue and interjecting themselves into my real life in an effort to get me to do geneal0gy research into the single most-hated family our county's library system has ever known. Instead, I politely explained that, other than their long-standing penchant for thievery, I knew very little about the Fagins and would therefore be of no help. I also pointed out that calls like hers were precisely the reason I no longer used the Fagins real name on the blog.

So because of instances like those above as well as some other minor online irritations, I dialed back the openness of the blog. This amounted to removing a few telling entries, moving all my graphics off of my personal website and setting up some security features that pretty much put a stop to the more troublesome online interactions. Was it perfect? No. But it did result in quite a few less pebbles in my pond. Documenting the big move, however, seemed like it might have the potential to produce rocks of a larger sort. With the backlog that I had at hand, however, I knew I didn't have to make any decisions on this for a while.


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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.