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i am what i say i am
deception and the brass ring
by jonas foster

Fame is fleeting.

I've been there.

If you asked me fifteen years ago whether or not I wanted to be famous, the answer would have been a resounding yes. Who wouldn't want to be famous? I not only wanted the main course, but all of the acoutrements as well. Fast cars, tons of drugs, leggy models, and a big fat house stuffed into the side of a mountain in LA. Or near LA. Wherever they shoot those movies with the big fat mountain houses.

Five years later, my thing was more of a well-if-I-have-to-be. Correct me if I'm wrong, but everyone was doing that back then. I kind of fit right in, but I really meant it. Having just started out on my road to mega-stardom, I figured the public would fawn over the guy who really, truly resisted fame. I assumed people would see it in my eyes, and I just let the truth take care of itself.

Today, if opportunity were to knock again, I would open the door immediately after the first knock and bludgeon him with a club. No, really. I've got the club right near the door. It's a seven iron.

That oughta teach him.

"Wait a minute," you're asking yourself (and you might even be calling me something along the lines of "tough guy"), "Who the hell are you? How come I've never heard of you."

Well, all right then. I'm not famous per se. Certainly not to the extent that the mention of my name should have allowed you to read and understand or at least empathize with my derision of the fame thing. That's not the point. The point is I've written fame, and in doing so, have been able to turn the old adage "write what you know" into "learn what you write." I've been cast into varying levels of fame on several different occasions, and each time I've handled it badly.

There was that time I was the drug-addled punk-rock-star wannabe who flamed out on a journey that roughly corresponded to that of the Sex Pistols. Jeez, I was a jerk. Then there was the time I was the low-level politician who opened a pandora's box by running on a ticket of apathy and anarchy and found it astoundingly more popular than either the current liberal or conservative platforms. I spent months in the hospital after that fiasco.

I am what one might call a method writer. It's addictive, drawing me in to and out of the very same worlds I get lost in when I read a particularly good book - only imagine what it's like determining one's own fate, rather than blindly following the path that the author has in store. The positive side of this kind of writing is the sheer escapism that you just can't copy in any other form of media. Sure, the Internet is interactive entertainment. Whatever.

The down side is that the deeper I get into it (usually at about 20,000 words), the harder it is to define where my protagonist ends and where I begin. I imagine it's much like having to live with Al Pacino during the filming of Scarface or Scent of a Woman. Those are two truly magnificent roles, but would you want to go to dinner with them every night for a few weeks?


If this is the grand fault in adopting some fantasy persona, it is also a reminder that perhaps some, maybe most, of life was intended to be this way. For the most part, we make a conscious decision about who we're going to be at most points during the average day, and certainly during the majority of important events. The rest of the time is spent doubting, mistrusting, or just plain apologizing for the real us that slips out when we're otherwise occupied.

So what if life was like this all the time. We could use our powers for good, sort of a "What Would Jesus Do?" approach meets a borderline Christ-complex persona. We could use our powers for ambition... which is more of a 'What Would Monica do?" thing (in actuality, there are far too many choices to insert into that joke, among them; Hillary, Hef, Regis, Madonna, you get the picture).

If we don't let slip that we're simply fulfilling a persona, we may, we just may, find ourselves with a little more control over our lives. Then again, before taking this experiment on, just make sure you're a good writer. You'd hate for your life to turn out like The Bridges of Madison County.


Having spent most of the eighties in and out of various colleges, Jonas Foster ducked the 9 to 5, wrote a book, and then made a mint selling the right information to the right people. He once dated a supermodel, although he refuses to offer which one, and now habitually combs Manhattan in search of the next.

more about jonas foster


jack bradley
10.18.00 @ 6:54p

Yanno, I had a similiar problem when I was writing the content for my website. I took on the persona of my hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier, Savoy, and then proceeded to write two dozen pages of text and stuff, interspersing every paragraph with the high energy expletives and tons of enthusiasm. I spent the entire afternoon "in her head," so to speak, and it took two days and half a bottle of Xanax to get me to stop saying "Hi!" after every sentence with a big stoopid grin on my face.

Sometimes, I just don't know the strength of my own mind.

Or would that be weakness?

adam kraemer
10.19.00 @ 9:14a

Well, something like 26 years ago, I started to pretend I was me. Never got over that one.

jael mchenry
10.19.00 @ 10:46a

Well, Adam, remember, there was that one Halloween party where you were Dave Backman.

Jonas, I believe the proper club for bludgeoning opportunity is a three wood. Also, careful not to accidently bludgeon the postman, but you should be able to tell him apart from opportunity because he'll ring twice. Always.

adam kraemer
10.19.00 @ 12:18p

I thought opportunity knocked. Wait, no, that was the engine of my '82 Toyota.

Oh, and apparently I didn't quite embody Dave well enough at that party, as I still managed to have sex that night. (Sorry, Wes.)

roger striffler
10.19.00 @ 6:42p

Um, Jack...refresh my memory...Except for the excessive "HI!"s, how are you any less hyper than Savoy?

Anyway, it's great to try on different personas for different situations, that way you get to try something new, and if it doesn't work, you can blame it on someone else.

jack bradley
10.19.00 @ 9:15p

Roger, I'm going to let that comment slide for one reason, and one reason alone:

You are now the sole reason that I have any seniority on the Intrepid Media staff.

Next time, though...I'm pulling out the blackmail info.

adam kraemer
10.20.00 @ 9:45a

Wow. Is there anyone on the staff who doesn't have either blackmail info on at least one other staff member or the ability to be blackmailed by someone else on staff? That's a little scary.

jael mchenry
10.20.00 @ 1:46p

Speaking from both perspectives, Adam, you're absolutely right.

roger striffler
10.20.00 @ 5:01p

Ouch! I've gone from the guy who introduced Jack to Intrepid, to the guy below (but not under) Jack, to the latest guy Jack's blackmailing. What a frighteningly quick descent...

I just don't understand why people blackmail each other, when there are so many more interesting things you can do with that kind of information.

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