and his imaginary little world comes crashing down around him

I dont usually speak about work here, but something kind of scary happened to me last week while I was in my office and I wanted to mention it to you.

I was on the phone with a local reporter. Wed been speaking for about fifteen or twenty minutes on the subject of my company and the different initiatives wed undertaken over the past year. The conversation was going well until the end, when she said, after a short pause, Now, tell me about the blog.

At that point, I felt the blood kind of drain from my head. I felt like Clinton must have felt when he was told that Monica Lewinsky had saved her Presidentially-stained dress. For a moment, I was just dumbstruck.

I must have considered saying, Whats a blog? I have no idea what youre talking about. That sure is a funny word. Instead, I stammered something like What do you want? Ill give you anything. Just dont tell. Please dont tell. I have a mortgage. I dont think I began to cry, but I can see how it would have been a good point to have done so If theres ever a film version of my life, this episode, Im afraid, would mark the point where the music picks up and things start to fall apart.

Do you remember the scene in Goodfellas where everything begins to unravel for Henry? Hes coked up, paranoid, and trying to stay on top of a number of situations that are all erupting; the girlfriend, the wife, the pasta sauce, the drug deal, the babysitter, the guns, everything all at once. The scene ends in his arrest. To me, hearing a reporter say the word blog over the phone was like hearing the opening strains of “Jump Into the Fire,” by Harry Nilsson, the song that heralds Henrys inevitable fall in Goodfellas.

In that instant, I pictured a front-page story, and the horrified faces of my co-workers. I imagined that there would be a few days in the office when all non-critical work would essentially stop as everyone read through the MM.com archives. I envisioned losing my job, wife, house, insurance, teeth, then ultimately my life, in quick succession as things spiraled out of control.

I considered calling up Linette and asking her to pull the plug on the site. I considered launching a pre-emptive attack and just throwing open my office door and yelling, www-dot-markmaynard-dot-com. Instead, I told the reporter that Id rather talk about work things right now. I said that, yes, I did have a weblog, but that I try as best I can to keep it separate from business. I thanked her for being a reader and told her that perhaps we could speak about it again sometime, after hours. I then politely ended the conversation and completed my work for the day. After that, I went home and considered, realistically, what might happen to me if this site were to be found by my co-workers.

As its all done after work, on my own time, I suppose not much could be done to me in a legal sense. As I see it, there are two things that could hurt me at my company though. The first is my stupid sense of humor, which I dont make much of an effort to hide here on the site. Im concerned that some of the things Ive said could come off the wrong way if taken out of context (i.e. my focus on ball shaving*). The second is my confession of having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Thats something that hasnt come out in my three years with this company, its not something that affects my work (except perhaps to make it better), and its not something that I believe should be made an issue. Perhaps nothing would come of it. Im afraid, however, that people would begin to see me through the filter of mental illness. I wonder why Mark just touched that door knob on his way out of the room. Maybe that was OCD.

I dont know what Im trying to say here. I guess the bottom line is that I dont want the perception that people have of me, as a good worker and valuable employee of my company, to be jeopardized by this blog. My hope is also that I dont have to make a choice between this forum and my career. I love them both.

At any rate, thats what Ive been thinking about this weekend, the possibility that I might, in a matter of days, be outed as a weblogger. Wish me luck.

And, yes, I probably knew this day would come eight months ago or whenever it was that I started this site. It is, after all, called MarkMaynard.com. I deserve every goddamned bad thing that happens to me.

* history lesson: For those of you who are new here, the theme of ball shaving dates back to our early days. There was a news story one day that I commented on, it had something to do with three Middle Eastern men being caught completely nude in an airplane bathroom. They were, according to the story, shaving each other completely bald. (I could never find follow-up articles on the men, or what they were apparently up to. It was, as I recall, however, a real Associated Press story though, not just an urban myth.) So, somewhere in the course of reporting on this I apparently used the phrase, ball shaving. Ever since that moment, Ive been getting lots of visitors through Google, people who had apparently been searching for stories concerning, or how-to guides on ball shaving. I suspect it was the single best marketing move I have made since the launch of this site. (MM.com, come for the ball shaving, stay for the OCD.)

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