I have lately been called out for fictionalizing aspects of this blog.   One of my friends lately inquired after the identity of my bottled water friend.  I explained that he is, in fact,  a composite of two very real, very selfish people whose identity I combined, mostly so our mutual friends who may read this blog and who inexplicably don’t think these people are assholes won’t be inclined to kick my ass.   My friend seemed sort of, you know, annoyed by this slight of literary hand. The people without running water, though, are real.  More’s the pity.

Yes, yes.  We all know there are a host of ethical issues attendant to blogging about people other than yourself.   I have ethical misgivings about this whole blog and my tendency to dedicate it to the criticism of a certain kind but clueless clergyman.  And yet I write it.   Probably because this little valve keeps me from bursting with frustration.

So today, just for the hell of it, I’m going to fictionalize everyone in an obvious way.  I’m going to make them circus people.

To wit: a tightrope walker is walking a tightrope in the church foyer right now.  She keeps mislaying her parasol and wheelbarrow and keeps wandering into my office to ask if I’ve seen them, as if I have a tidy pile of the sorts of things found in imagist poetry sitting on my desk.  When she’s not doing that, she’s trying to convince me to ask her gay son out on a date or asking me to admire her tightrope walking or wondering when I’ll next upload pictures of her act to the church website.

I have a terrible tendency to meddle.  It’s probably part of my ultimate fate to be a crazy old maid aunty.  But I like to think we have a responsibility to one another. A responsibility that’s difficult sometimes to define and to apply practically.

A month or so ago, a couple of my friends–let’s call them a fat lady and a strong man–looked like they were about to start dating.  I thought this was, literally, the most terrible idea either of them had ever had, because they’re both the kind of crazy that’s toxic in combination.  Since they’re both friends of mine and not of each other, I knew things about them that they didn’t know about each other.   Perhaps I should’ve left well enough alone here.  People date one another all the time without knowing all one another’s dirty secrets.  But the idea of them dating really troubled me.  I wasn’t the only one troubled: one night another mutual friend and I sat in a bar and toyed with the idea of calling up either the strong man or the fat lady and explaining why they should stay far, far away from one another.  We didn’t do it.

Instead, I casually mentioned to the fat lady that the strong man’s barbells are actually balloons with numbers painted on them.  This is true, by the way, and the sort of thing she could figure out for herself and would’ve eventually.  He has such toothpicky arms, a girl should be suspicious anyway. As a fat lady, she has a real preference for strong men who are, you know, actually strong.  Her interest in him waned.  I felt like kind of an ass for this stunt, in large part because I’d hate it if people went around telling each other negative things about me. Like the fact that I am not an actual church rat. I just really like cheese.

Yesterday the strong man, who has since found out about the fat lady’s crazy, mentioned how glad he was they never went out.  I feel a bit prouder of myself than I should. In fact, I really shouldn’t be encouraged in this kind of meddling. Shame on me. Shame, shame on me.