What a dirty, dirty trick for someone to choose such a complicated and tough to blog word for the Blog-Off.  With this one, I really struggled.  With privacy, I really struggle.

I am a big old ball of irony when it comes to this stuff.  Here are the facts:

  • I can not keep a secret.  At all.  Ever.
  • I regularly post my innermost thoughts on a public web page.
  • There is nothing in the world that I hate more than the feeling that someone knows too much about me.

It’s conflicted, I know, but for me there is a fine line between an acceptable level of sharing and too much.  Above all else, it’s probably a control issue.  It doesn’t ever really throw me for a loop that somebody knows something about me unless it’s something I know I didn’t tell them.  To me, gossip is the most severe assault on privacy.

I don’t think I know anyone who is comfortable with the idea of being talked about.  No one likes to know that others are entertaining themselves at their expense.  And really, why would they?

I work in a building with hundreds of other people every day.  A combination of shifts and versatile training puts us in contact with most of those people at one time or another.  For those reasons, privacy is something that is very hard to come by.  It was through my job that I first discovered my issues with privacy.  Say one thing (ONE THING!) and it’ll come back to you within a matter of days.  Exciting or not, folks are going to repeat it.  And that sucks.  What was a remarkable discovery for me was the fact that once you sacrifice your privacy once, it almost becomes the ownership of someone else.  As soon as you’ve given up one (however minor) secret, it’s expected that you’ll forever share your most intimate thoughts and activities.  The other key to having your life completely invaded is to add a dash of celebrity.

I’ll give up information freely, but only to the point when it occurs to me that someone thinks they deserve to hear it.  In fact, probably the best advice there is, the key to getting me to talk is to never ask me anything.

This is probably the reason why I was so damn pissed about the story I am about to tell, even though it happened months, if not the better part of a year ago.  A little background: I used to a date a guy who is in a band and is what you’d call a local celebrity.  It’s been years since then and we are rarely keep in touch anymore.  I understand that it’s to be expected that, as someone basking in the limelight, you have to count on sacrificing some degree of your privacy.  That’s not to say that I think it’s right, it just is.  I can accept that (although given that acknowledgment, I wonder why anyone would want to be famous) and, in fact, I’ll admit that sometimes I even indulge in reading the odd obscure personal fact about my favourite celebrities (nothing too personal, though… too much detail creeps me out.)

Anyway, the story:  At some point last year, somebody told me a
story that involved this ex.  This person had met up with someone who works at the pharmacy where the ex has his prescriptions filled.
It seems this person had their laughs at the expense of my ex
when they shared some information about a drug that the ex
takes for a condition that they all found entertaining.

I was livid.  I doubt anyone had expected me to react in the way that I did.  I quite seriously launched an investigation into finding out who this person was, looking into any kind of Code of Ethics they might have and busting their sorry ass.  It just seemed so ultimately sleazy to me.  I never found out who it was, but don’t think I’ve forgotten.  I’m still on the case.

Privacy for celebrities takes on a value that I don’t think I’ll ever, nor do I want to, know.  When all that mess was going on with Britney Spears, I couldn’t help but feel absolute pity for her.  It’s one thing to experience something like that, but to do it with the eyes of the world on you?  Unthinkable.  I didn’t even tune in to hear the latest because I just couldn’t.  I guess it’s like a car wreck: some people won’t turn away, while others can’t bear to look.

Like so many thoughtful ramblings, this one left me asking one thing: With privacy being something we are so passionate about protecting, why are we so quick to eradicate it for others?


11 Responses to “Privacy”

  1. Courtney Says:

    I run somewhere in the middle. I’m not really great with secrets, though I keep the important ones. I’m a huge gossip and that’s something I really struggle with, but at the same time I would be devastated if I found out what people say about me- and it’s human nature to gossip so I *know* things are being said. I don’t know. But I do know, that like you, I only felt pity for poor Britney. And I’d be enraged over the pharmacist thing- that’s a huge violation of the ex’s rights.

  2. Grady Says:

    “With privacy being something we are so passionate about protecting, why are we so quick to eradicate it for others?”

    Many reasons:

    1) People love to expose others’ secrets to feel better about themselves.

    2) It’s dramatic and so much more fun to talk about the than the weather.

    3) It’s a really easy way to have something in common with someone. When you talk about somebody that you and another person know, it is common ground.

    I am not saying it is right. I am not very good at keeping secrets, but I am not a gossip. Someone tells me something, I might tell one other person; I won’t broadcast it to the entire world.

    Just something to think about, if this were in the US, that person could get fired and the pharmacy could get fined (about $100k) for divulging the information he did. This would be a gross violation of the HIPAA statute.

  3. Evey Says:

    Once again you and I complain we have nothing, yet we find a way to entertain the masses 😉

    Privacy WAS a tough word to write about. It took me forever to end up writing the post that I did.

    The whole celebrity thing is crazy. Like you I do sometimes have interest in what my favorite musician or actor is up to. But when it comes to the point of supporting the lies that are spread about I just can’t be part of it. Britney Spears has definitly gone off the deep end but can we all really blame her. If she sneezes too loud people are all up in her business. People can say all they want about “they choose this life so they need to deal with it.” I think that is such bullshit. If someone has a passion to act or sing or perform on any level should they give up their dreams because the rest of the world is too ignorant to see and realize they are people too. They poop just like the rest of us. It bothers me so much that we think it is our God given right to know what goes on in peoples lives just because they have some level of status in the celebrity world.

    I am going to stop myself now because I could go on forever about the subject. So I will leave it at that.

    Great post yet again, you always get the wheels in the old noggin turnin 😉

  4. kelly Says:

    Wow – for someone that had a hard time with the topic, that was an interesting post!

    I feel sorry for a lot of celebrities when they get bad publicity but at the same time, how much of it is just for the entertainment? I mean really – when was the last time Britney did anything to earn money? She had another baby, is getting divorced, parties nightly with Paris Hilton and is basically all washed up in her 20’s – she needs attention. How do you get it? Shave your head in front of the paparazzi and have a meltdown. Check yourself into rehab a few times then you have something other than yourself to blame it on.

  5. dawmarie Says:

    When I heard what some of the words were, this was one of the two that almost made wish I was participating.

    I had a lot more to say, but I lost it and I don’t want to re-type.

  6. Tara Says:

    This was a hard topic this week and can relate to your three points.

  7. mrsmogul Says:

    If someone tells me a secret, I will keep it!

  8. Kristin Says:

    No matter how wrong it is, maybe because it IS wrong, gossip just FEELS good. That is just the way humans are made. I have become a much worse gossip since I have been a SAHM. Nothing better to do sometimes.
    I think the story about your EX is AWFUL. Good for you for being outraged.

  9. flap Says:

    I really can’t believe the whole prescription story. I mean, who does that? People are just horrible sometimes. That person at the pharmacy should be fired.
    I totally agree with Grady about people talking shit about others because it makes them feel better about their own lives.
    I have really made a conscious effort to try not to trash anybody else, no matter how I feel about them. I think I am making some progress, but it is hard and I am not always successful.

  10. Dex Says:

    …because we are all deeply insecure individuals.

  11. durante vita Says:

    I have to disagree with the question you left us–I don’t think people are as private as they make themselves out to be. But that is another blog entry.

    Good stuff here!

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