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"Anonymity"

Sorry my soapbox for this week is a little late. I decided to tempt the Fates and buy that $110 33.6 Cardinal modem. Yeah, I know Cardinal has a bad track record, but the deal was too good to pass up. I'm returning the modem tomorrow.

Some people are infatuated with becoming popular. Even though there are times I'd like to be a famous author or have Cool Site awards slapped all over my page, I prefer to embrace obscurity.

Heck, I did it throughout high school. I was that quiet guy who was neither really popular or really geeky -- I was just "that guy". This is a powerful position to have, you know. Later in class reunions, I can go up to people and immediately throw someone off guard by simply saying, "Hi, remember me?" At a party I went to on the last day of high school, I announced my single goal (hey, we have to dramatize some things) was to remain anonymous in high school. One girl later wrote in my yearbook, "You wanted to remain anonymous in high school, but I'll never forget you." Yeah, right. I've already succeeded.

I think after a couple years clowning around on the Internet, I've given up getting noticed. Sure, awards do great things for the hungry ego, but would I want to be the target of attention? Dave Siegel is known as one of the more knowledgable HTML folks out there, but the HTML purists tear him apart. No thanks. Popularity has its price...attention is a curse. Now I just do what I have fun with on the 'Net. I contribute my part to the Web in plenty of content and accessible pages. I help those who request it or who need it. Attention and destructive criticism are two things I really do not need.

The first step in any conflict is to know your opponent. But if you are secretive about yourself, your opponent cannot conduct even the basic tests on you. Having someone know about you can be dangerous, especially if it's an ex-lover or a bitter opponent.

Anonymity means you can get away with things. People who know you will notice if you try to slip a fast one on them. Those who don't know you may think your story about being late because your wife crashed your BMW is completely true.

Keeping the above in mind, why do people lust over being popular? I haven't really decided why, but I think part of it has to do with it being the easy solution. Our world's full of shortcuts and doohickeys that make our lives more simple. This pampering shortens our attention spans and mentalities. Trying to become popular is an easy goal to try for -- it's fun and it's, well, popular to do in our society. It's easy to say a celebrity had sex with you ten years ago. And damn, everyone wishes they had a story that hot so they could make money writing a book about it.

I'm not one of the people described in the previous paragraph. Remaining anonymous is much more rewarding and intellectually challenging for me. It's no easy thing to do -- one slip up and, uh oh, you're popular! Anonymity can become a well for self-confidence, much like virginity was Lancelot's source of confidence. Anonymity is power, my friends, so feel free to pass it by if you wish -- there'll be more for me.


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