By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer
Anonymity’s a conditional thing, I’ve come to find. When I’m running errands and nobody tells how good my columns, photos and news stories aren’t, anonymity’s a good thing. On the flip side, anonymity is a bad thing when it comes from my best friend’s parents.
What follows is a true story of fighting negative anonymity. To protect the innocent, names and places have been changed (Note: This also protects the guilty).
My friend Dorothy was recently in Portales with her parents, who had some business in town. Once the business concluded, we had lunch at a local restaurant where at least a half-dozen people waved to me and addressed me on a first-name basis.
None of those people were Dorothy’s parents. They asked who I was and what memories I was discussing with Dorothy during lunch. With some of my friends’ parents, this wouldn’t bother me. But I’ve known Dorothy for seven years and her parents for more than six.
Dorothy took my side, to no avail.
“How do you not remember Kevin? He helped me move three times, and you were there for two of those moves. He’s been to our house.”
“I’ve been to the house numerous times,” I interjected.
Dorothy continued, “He’s picked up my mail for me when he visited you guys in Roswell. He’s never missed a Christmas or birthday present for me. He talked to you guys during my college graduation. Dad, he helped me with the university game night when you visited and played chess with everyone. Mom, we went out to eat after he helped me at my Peanut Valley Festival booth. I hugged him and called him my best friend right in front of you.”
Her father looked blankly, while her mom said, “No, doesn’t really ring a bell.”
Dorothy didn’t mention I purchased items from her mother’s nutritional supplement business. Or that I tell them what I do every time they visit — and her father still wondered aloud how he could get a hold of the next day’s newspaper without staying in town.
It was almost like Mr. Burns never recognizing Homer Simpson, despite the countless times they’ve paired up for a storyline in “The Simpsons.”
“Sir, that’s Homer Simpson. He reunited you with your estranged son. His family sued you when you ran over his son. His daughter helped you recoup your business after you ended up penniless. You had dinner at their house as a publicity stunt during your gubernatorial run.”
I whispered to Dorothy that we could get married and it would change nothing. “Mom, Kevin’s my husband. Dad, you performed the service. Mom, we hosted the reception at your house. You’re each wearing the shirts Kevin bought you from our DisneyWorld honeymoon.”
“No, doesn’t ring a bell, but we love the shirts.”
I had anonymity assured, and I thought, “How can I destroy this?” My opportunity came when they discussed their cats. Having been to the house, I know her family is full of cat lovers.
“Cats are great. I love them,” I said, and I was in their good graces until I unleashed my punchline. “But man, do I hate cat owners.”
Something tells me they’ll remember me next time, marriage or not.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist with Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be reached at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: