"No, really, I'm fine!" (long and a little weird)

Last night, about 10:15, I was lolling in the tub, reading, when the phone rang. Figuring it was too late for telemarketers or whoever – and knowing that Bachelor #1 sometimes calls a bit on the late side – I hopped out of the tub and, dripping wet and covered with bubbles, answered the phone.

It was C., a friend of mine from grad school. Okay, a word about C. He’s a little older than I, and an Orthodox Jew, but we somehow forged a genuine friendship during that time. It was mostly about shared intellectual interests – we also had the same advisor, who was a wonderful woman who was the perfect academic mentor. Anyway, so we were friends in grad shcool, would occasionally have coffee or a meal together, etc. Not a close friendship, or an intimate one, but an important one. In the 20 (yikes!) years since, we’ve stayed in touch, mostly through a letter or two a year. I left academia in '87, so there’s not a huge commonality there, but we maintain the connection. The last time I saw him was maybe 10 years ago, when an academic society he belongs to met here in Philly – there was talk of getting together when he brought his son to visit the Franklin Institute (science museum), but that fell through.

Anyway, so I’m dripping bubbles, and C. is on the phone. “Are you all right?” “Um, yeah, I’m fine.” “Are you sure you’re all right?” and I’m trying to think “well, I had the flu for a couple of days back in May…” because honest to god I’m healthy as a horse (knock on wood).

Well, C. had just gotten back from the annual SSSR meeting (Society for the Scientific Study of Religion – it’s the society all the sociologists of religion belong to, and the annual meeting is the numero uno occasion for meeting, greeting, presenting papers, networking, etc.) – and someone had told him I was very ill. He told me the name of this person once, but was so flustered he wouldn’t repeat it – so it was a name I recognized, but I’m not sure I can place this person. It’s possible she’s someone who got a job later at a place where I’d had a one-year gig – or came and gave a seminar there? Not someone I know, though possibly someone I’ve met.

Anyway, this person, whoever she is, told C. I was seriously ill. (I’m getting the vibe from C.'s flusteredness that we’re talking either a brain tumor or a nervous breakdown.) WTF? And he believed her and got very upset. And apparently ran around the SSSR trying to find someone who’d have the real scoop, thereby additionally spreading this rumor.

Now, question #1 – and make of it what you will that I’m posting on this before emailing C. to ask question #1 – is, who was this person and exactly what did she say?

Question #2 is, don’t these people have anything better to do at SSSR than gossip about someone who dropped out 15 years ago?

What’s weird is this is the second time I’ve encountered a person from my past who reports to me a rumor that I’d gone seriously off the rails. When I was on “Jeopardy!” ten years ago, one of the people who contacted me was a friend from elementary school, who told me that the rumor had gone around that I’d ended up in a mental institution. :eek: This could be traced to a conversation another person from elementary school had had with my brother – who presumably knew better – when they encountered each other on the train between DC and Philly. The timing of the conversation was such that it might have been a reference to the fact that I entered a hospital to do treatment for my alcoholism in '85, but who knows.

So question #3 is, what makes me so effin’ fascinating that these baroque rumors spring up around me with people from my moss-encrusted past?

Yikes. Off to email C. and find out what’s going on.

So then the tale of you keeping a stable of well-oiled, scantily clad young studs in your attic is just a rumor??

Of course, you’ll tell us what you find out, won’t you?

If it’s not a rumor can I come visit? :smiley:

Me too? I need solace at the moment! :smiley:

On the advice of counsel, I am neither going to confirm nor deny the truth or falsity of any such rumor.

I will say, however, that if such a group were to exist, and if one of the young studs were named “Sergei,” that particular individual – who may or may not be living in my attic – is not available to attend to the, uh, needs of any visiting Doper Wimmin.

But of course – as I indicated in the OP, sharing this info here is my first priority. And what a sad commentary that is.

Me too? I need solace at the moment! :smiley:

Ahhh, they’re 1920’s style “Death Studs”.

You know, I can’t help but be a little hurt that y’all are more concerned about the alleged existence of the stud squad than the fact that I may be teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

You’re more concerned with what’s going on upstairs than, well, what’s going on upstairs. :frowning:


But, indeed, if this were the case, it would prove beyond all doubt your mental health is intact:)

I have no answers, you eastern folk have always baffled me a little. It does sound as though the tale carrier has some mental health issues of his/her own.

I thought SDMB is only available to residents of mental institutions.

Or is that just what it seems like? :wink:

It’s not just a rumor, I just escaped yesterday. It was horrible I tell you, sex day and night. And when there was no sex we had to work out. She even made us shave our bodies! I barely escaped with my life.

Oh and I hope you got better.

As to why all these folks are spreading these stories about you: Who knows? Something half-heard or imagined grew all out of proportion. There were probably assumptions and speculations and the next thing you know, you’re institutionalized… or rich… or married to Elizabeth Taylor… or juggling naked in Times Square on New Years Eve.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d have a laugh over the whole thing. Ya gotta think those who spend all their energy telling tales about you must not have lives of their own. As opposed to those of us who go online and make smart-ass comments about stables full of studs…


Damn. I was hoping to keep the Liz Taylor thing quiet. It was just youthful experimentation, honest!

I would start spreading really odd, strange stories about yourself in passing to people you still are in contact with and see how long it takes for you to become the ONLY talk at these meetings.

Besides, it seriously sounds like the person spreading these stories is the one who has the issue…not you.

I would be like you…WHY are these people talking about me after I left 15 years ago?

In fact, you might even take it as some sort of twisted compliment. :smiley:

You know, this thread could be considered an answer to your question ‘how do rumours get started’ :slight_smile:

Okay – here’s his answer, in its entirety:


Actually, though, it occurs to me now that I’m going to be up in that neck of the woods (north Jersey) Sunday, to go to a wedding – which I’ve been dreading, it’s a former underling, I won’t know anyone, but I felt compelled to accept the invitation – so maybe I’ll set something up with C. This will also give me a good exit scenario – “yeah, I’d love to stay another six hours making small talk with strangers and listening to this shitty band, but I have to go meet a friend…”

And hey, it’s all just good fortune for me.

I’m not aware of anything (in the Jewish theology I’m familiar with) that says that rumors bring good fortune. Lashon ha-ra, the nasty tongue, is a pretty bad transgression. So I would have to call for cite. (Unless zev can enlighten us?)

I can somewhat sympathize with you, twickster. I left a group (and changed cities) over 10 years ago, and only last year found out that someone made up out of whole cloth a highly nasty reason why I left!

I don’t understand why some people have to invent a bizarre explanation, when truth does a better job of explaining the situation. Moreover, I don’t understand why people would be talking about someone who hasn’t been around in years.

I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that this misunderstanding was created by a well intentioned friend who felt a veiled illusion to the nuthouse was better than one to alcohal rehab.

Any takers?

You know, after that very long “A” thread a few months back, I thought we had developed the type of relationship such that you wouldn’t exclude me and swampbear from stables of well-oiled studs. sigh

I bet stuff like this happens all the time, we just don’t always hear about it.

When I was in college, I’d go home during the summer and wait tables or sell cars or whatever. Just about every summer it would get back to me that someone saw me at work and then told everyone that I dropped out of college to wait tables or sell cars or whatever.