It’s late at night, and I oughtn’t be writing. I ought to be sleeping. But I have something I need to say. Please forgive a post written in haste and not in the least polished.
I was leaving the YMCA parking lot a few months ago, and I put my little token into the machine that lifts the barrier to let me out. To my surprise, the machine returned my token AND lifted the barrier. Score – one dollar saved.
But, then, I started to think about it, and I realized that I had taken a dollar from the coffers of the YMCA, and there is probably a special circle of hell reserved for those who do such things. So, the next time I was in the Y, I gave the guy at the front desk a buck and explained the situation. “Wow,” he said, “thanks for being honest.”
“Dude, when I sell out my integrity, it is going to be for a lot more than a dollar,” I replied.
Of course, I don’t really have a lot of offers to sell out for more cash. I am sort of a nobody. I am not a government official, a celebrity, or even particularly good-looking. No one particularly wants my honor.
And, so, when someone commented on my last post, “Have you really taken the pledge? Because you are exactly and clearly the kind of person who doesn’t even need it,” I am forced to admit that she is right. I would like to take it as a compliment, along the lines of: “You are so darned honorable that you don’t need to pledge to remain so.” But the fact is, no one is offering me much to compromise my integrity in the first place.
I have, what, a few hundred readers? Considerably fewer if you subtract my husband’s nine gazillion relatives who so supportively read my blog. I am not the chick the marketers really care to get their hands on. And, yes, that makes me sad, because I like to think my writing is good and people want to read it. But the fact is that only so many people have found me, and most of those are people I read in return.
We are a community, and that part I do like. But, I am wistful and wish that I could be one of those people who folks read just because they like my work. I do wish I were reaching thousands, not hundreds. I wish those thousands were flocking here because they like what they get.
And what they get is honesty.
Now and then, I am contacted to attend an event or get something free. The problem is, when I go to an event, I feel obligated to write something positive about it. I feel like it is part of the bargain, and I feel terrible about letting my side down. But then, I also feel like a shit for selling something that I might not myself have purchased.
OK, so part of my problem is clearly that I have Jewish guilt. My grandmothers would be proud.
The other part of my problem is that I want you all to know, as my kids know, that what you are getting here is pure honesty. I am more or less a failed writer and a SAHM. I have little to offer the world: I am not helping pay the bills, I am not feeding starving children, I am not solving the healthcare crisis. I’m not even entertaining a large audience. All I have to offer up to the world is my honesty and my honor.
And, so, yes, I did take the pledge. Because yesterday’s post was hard for me to write. I was grateful for the invitation to the event and I felt terrible being in any way negative. But, the minute I start glossing over my thoughts and reactions, then this blog loses the only thing it has going for it.
That badge is there because, despite the fact that few people are approaching me with free stuff, I want to make it clear where I stand. If I go to an event, if I accept something free, there is no commitment on my part to try to sell something to my friends and readers. This may be why, by the way, I get so few offers…
When the time comes to sell out my integrity, I am going to ask a hell of a higher price than a free DVD or tickets to the circus.