Perils of Publicity

I owe to bitchPhD the fact that I cannot get magical Trevor and his lyric "Where is the cow/Hidden [NOT Headin'] right now?" out of my head. Go check out Trevor, then read this post.

Today I experienced a certain uncomfortable lack of hiddenness of my own.

A couple months ago I published an article in what we'll call Culture Section of Major City Newspaper, which happens to be the local paper of Town Where I Went To College. Well, as it happens, a lot of inhabitants of Town Where I Went To College read Major City Newspaper. One of them was someone I never thought would enter my life again.

The summer after I graduated from college I worked at a number of different part-time jobs. All these jobs were odd, but the oddest was a word-processing job involving an obscure academic field, for a boss who was himself a freelancer -- let's call him Roger Bellik. Roger Bellik was odder than the job. He'd sort of talk and harrumph to himself as he worked at a nearby computer in the computer lab; he sometimes sort of smelled; and to top it off he, well, sort of kept asking me out.

Well, in early drafts of my Novel-In-Progress, Roger Bellik, a character inspired by the real-life Roger Bellik, not his real name, figured prominently. In an attempt at comedy, I exaggerated his deficiencies as potential boyfriend; I think the word "deliquescent" was used.

Well, you guessed it. Today I received a letter from the real-life Roger Bellik. A two-page letter in which he congratulates his former assistant on having made good, and gives various pieces of professional advice, mentioning that he thinks the piece was quite well-written, for a newspaper article.

I guess I should be glad this happened now. Who knows what would have happened if I'd published Novel-In-Progress under my real name with references to Roger Bellik, and his deliquescence, intact? Sooner or later would I find a guy with a whip on my doorstep, growling "Where is the cow hidden right now?"


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