Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


This is my private life

Filed under : Life in general
On August 16, 2007
At 11:35 pm
Comments : 36

And now some talk about me. But not about me.

You will of course remember that I told you I was part of a clan. Not The Klan, just A Clan. Well, you might have skimmed past that in which case, welcome to the information that I have five million cousins! And I know all of them! I mean, Pi is like my third cousin once removed. Do you know your third cousin once removed? Maybe it’s second once-removed, who knows. Except… someone knows. A lot of people know. This is because lots and lots of people in my tribe have decided it’s imperative that we keep track of every member and document it all on spreadsheets and family trees and Internet sites. Can you tell I don’t have a lot of interest in this? It’s kind of like the letters I get from Johns Hopkins about reunions: if I wanted to be in touch with you, I would be. But it’s worse, really, because due to the plethora of family occasions I already am in touch with all these people. I don’t need a map to tell me how I’m related to them.

Yes, I’m going someplace with this. The other day, a cousin of mine signed me up for some website where family trees can be documented and connected. Being the control freak I am, I don’t like to be signed up for anything, so you can imagine my dismay upon hearing this from the same cousin who is responsible for 80% of the spam on my main account, resulting from the myriad 90’s coupon & savings sites for which he signed me up. But wait, there’s more! He uploaded pictures of everyone in the tree. See, it’s not that the picture was the least flattering one of me you can imagine (and it was), it’s just that most of you can’t imagine. Because as far as I can possibly control, there are nearly zero images of me on the Interweb, let alone one that is connected with my actual legal name plus my e-mail address, which could be searched by anyone. These three things are the holy trinity which I never like to be connected in any form.

I know, this is weird. Most people who have blogs (well, I have no empirical evidence, but most I’ve come across) have sites littered with their picture. Several of my readers have enthusiastically allowed me to post pictures of themselves and their families. And I’m pleased to do it. But it’s not me. As a matter of fact, many people I know from the web for years don’t even know my last name. Some of them don’t find out until we meet and at the end of dinner I hand over my credit card. And it’s not even an Age of Information thing, I have always been like that. If the busdriver asked me my name as a kid, I’d make up a fake one. Not that I needed to, I have like eight names, which is the “convoluted reason” I don’t use my name on my answering machine, as referred to in the last comment on this post. But I don’t like people I don’t know knowing too much about me. This may seem odd considering all I’ve revealed, but since no one can actually connect it to me, Becca Realnameburgsteinovich, I’m fine with it.

Recently, Arjewtino asked me why I set things up this way. I came up with some plausible reasons, like stalkers and the fear of being Dooced (fired from my job due to things I’ve said about my company on the blog), but in thinking about it I realized it isn’t really that. I mean, yes, I have had some wackos whom I’m pleased could not find out where I live. And no, I don’t know if my company would like me saying things about them, which is why I don’t, even though most of my readers don’t even know what company that is. But sometimes I have cool pictures which include me and I wish I could show them or that I could do something fun, like this “guess my age” thing J-F had up the other day which involved a photo. And I admire people like Esther Kustanowitz who posts under her real and actual name. But I can’t quite bring myself do any of these things.

To put it another way, lots of people want to be famous. I am not amongst them. I don’t really want to be known by anyone I don’t know except as Magic Jewball or one of my various forum screen names. Then I can keep my actual self squirreled away until I know you (and I know if I knew you, dear J-Ball Reader, I’d love you). When I was in a commercial in Baltimore and people at the mall looked at me like they knew me, I freaked out. When my voice was used on an Insane Clown Posse CD, my name was not involved. And I wouldn’t even let them use my voice at first. Then they offered to pay me and that made it all OK! But that’s neither here nor there.

So in the end, I wrote a frantic e-mail to and left several vehement phone messages for my cousin and he reacted in his golly-gee-whiz, “I was just trying to do something nice” way. But I didn’t mind. I don’t even mind that my picture on the family-tree site is now a black square saying “picture removed at user’s request” or that a group e-mail went out to thirty members of my family asking them to not post any photos tagged with my name. I don’t mind looking like a nutjob as long as I’m an anonymous nutjob.

Title comes from:

Oingo Boingo – Private Life