I'm very aware of the fact that, living and working in a socially conservative community, one where even the bulk of supposed progressives are nothing more that Limousine Liberals with doctorates and a crumbling Ivory Tower to shield them from reality, there are numerous folks who find this blog scandalous.
There are people who cringe every time they read, afraid of what dirty little secret I may post about, downright terrified that I may write about some skeleton in the closet.
I'm not talking about my personal life here, either.
* * * *What if, for instance, I ever get around to writing a post about the prevalence of drugs like OxyContin and cocaine in the local Higher Education Underground?
I've met students, off-campus and outside of work, who are more than willing to volunteer information about their estimates of usage. I have yet to experience a weekend during the school year where I don't run into at least five or six hardcore drug users - and that number almost always includes young white women from affluent families.
Pot? Please. That's as ingrained in Higher Ed culture as overpriced textbooks. But drugs like "hillbilly heroin?"
Hell, I once found an eight-ball of meth outside of a bar, laying on the ground. I'd watched as a young woman accidentally dropped it while digging through her purse. One of her party told her she's dropped something, and the girl, looking down, said loudly, It's only an eighth.
Only an eighth of Tweak? Wow. (Flushed, by the way.)
Now that's scandalous.
* * * *Or what about that post I could write about the so-called Landis Affair. Back in 2004, a male student went on trial for the rape of female student - after he'd been allowed back on campus and the Local U. "accidentally" failed to notify campus residents that, well, there was a convicted sexual predator re-enrolled at the ol' Public Ivy.
No clue why students and local residents would suspect a cover-up. It's not like there's a letter from U.S. Department of Education from ten years ago floating around on the Internet, documenting a history of "accidental" failures to adequately document crime statistics or anything...
In all fairness, the Local U. has taken steps to address this issue and, thanks to initiatives launched by a new administration, there could be at least a glimmer of hope ... for the Class of 2017.
* * * *I once learned from a blog reader that they'd overheard colleagues gossiping about the ol' blog and how potentially dangerous I am because of how I live my life and what I post about on this silly thing.
Wanna talk dangerous?
Here's a figure from the offline world of Oxford Fucking Ohio's dangerous blogger.
Privately, I've heard as many as 10 tales involving suspected acquaintance rape a month since I became more open and public about my blog persona. I hear similar tales offline as well.
Rape Culture? Lord, given what I've heard, we may be building a Rape Civilization. A while back, while following Cooper's stellar commentary over the Duke Lacrosse scandal, the first thing that came to mind was it's not a question of if that could happen here, but when.
It's been two months since I received the last one. While I'm hopeful that this may be an indicator of a decline in the violence against young women - and men - in this community, I'm not holding my breath.
Because of this, I keep contact information regarding Oxford's Community Counseling and Crisis Center, the Local U.'s Women's Center, and various other community resources handy at all times.
And, well, don't get me started on the recent closing of the local Planned Parenthood.
Fortunately for those local residents with access to transportation, there are still clinics in the area. But for the community's poorest residents, the ones without cars or who are too young to legally drive, well...
* * * *
Recently, several readers and blog friends have inquired about my employment status.
There's apparently a rather malicious rumor floating around town, one where I've been summarily fired from my position because of this ol' blog, a rumor that speculates that I've been forced out because of the sometimes controversial subject matter.
Rest assured. I'm still here in Oxford Fucking Ohio.
Actually, I just accepted a reappointment for a fourth year at the ol' ZenFo Pro Library.
But that acceptance is not without controversy. Friends are shocked that I'd voluntarily choose to turn down non-librarian job offers, all of which involved more money, to continue living in, as my own mother describes it, a pitiful excuse for a college town.
I had an ex who, upon learning that I'd turned down an offer in Los Angeles for almost triple my salary, sent me a rather long email detailing her belief that I've completely lost my fucking mind. One friend accused me of settling for babysitting rich kids rather than risk a job change.
So why would I choose to stick around for one more year, anyway?
Here's a hint. It has nothing to do with the job.
* * * *
Rather than come up with some lengthy explanation, some pointless diatribe about some mystical dedication to Higher Education and scholarship, I'm going to do something a bit different.
For those who've emailed me at any time over the past, oh, six months, you may have noticed a rather substantial delay in my response time in regards to anything related to this blog's content. That's because I prioritize responses based, first, on a reader identifying themselves as either a local or "regular" at my library, followed by fellow bloggers that I've known for a while, and then by random lurkers or commenters.
I've tried to figure out some way of demonstrating the kinds of communiques, via instant messaging, texts (for those who have my personal number), email, and even random Post-its left on my office door or my truck.
I recently realized that I was keeping too much blog-related ephemera, a violation of a personal blogger philosophy dating back to the days when I actually had time to do Zenformation Mail posts.
While deleting, overwriting, and shredding the various notes, I collected a few samples to provide folks with a sampling of the kind of "mail" I've received from Local U. readers since the beginning of Fall Semester 2006 (I apologize for not correcting typos):
If I had teachers like you when I was a student there I wouldn't have transferred. But they fire all the good ones. What up dude?
Every time i read this thing i get pissed. i seriously want to kick your teeth in. fuck you.
Thank you so much for helping me with my capstone project last summer. I know you're not [student's subject specialist] but I just thought you could help because you seem to know what its like to be a student. That's awesome. Never change!
i hope they fire your sorry ass and your sucking dick down with the niggers in Cincinnati fucker.
I just wanted to say hey and make a suggestion. Somebody really needs to talk about women's safety here. I love your style and hope the boneheads here don't give you trouble in the bars in uptown.
...when i came to college i was expecting to do like my brother and have a chance to hang out and socialize with my professors outside of class. but they don't do that here. it should be against the law to teach and then fucking blow off students. i can't even get in to see my adviser but shes a bitch anyway...
hey r u gonna talk about how fucking retarded it is that ppl won't shut the fuck up in the quiet study in [the ZenFo Pro library]? i'm sitting here trying to write a paper and i'm about to choke these chicks next to me...
go shelve sombooks or something. the library is stupid. and all ya'll that work there are gay.
How do I file a complaint about being charged for a lost Ohiolink book? hello! beer money :)
hey j. um this is stupid but theres a guy who works for you that my roomate thinks is totally hot. could i get his number or would that get u in trouble?
Okay random question. Is it true that all guys like anal? i've been seeing this guy for a while and i want to try it but he says that would make him gay. Is that true?
when are ya goin to post about all the other shit? my friend [NAME WITHHELD] said she talked to you about sexual assault and how ppl think they cover it up for enrollment. whats up?
hey we met the other nite. can we hang out or will you get fired?
DRUNK BITCHES KICK ASS FAGGOT
Dear Zenpro :) I just wanted to say that after I had some problems last semester reading your blog really made me feel better about being different at [Local U.] I don't know if you care or not but I am a rape survivor. u can share that just don't use my name. It was so hard just getting through that and I just wanted you to know that you make me laugh sometimes and the thing you wrote about standing up for those high school girls really hit home for me...
Hi. Are you an alcoholic?
FK U BLOGBOY
Dear Zenformation Pro: I graduated from [Local U.] in 1996. I can't tell you how much my wife and I enjoy your web site. It's a much needed source of information for alumni who remember when student life in Oxford Fucking Ohio was so much different than it is today. I'm actually glad the students have someone like you to remind them that college is only part of life and that the world doesn't revolve around them. Keep up the good work.
Hi and thanks for responding so quickly. Will I get into trouble though if i request the book? i know you say i won't but i don't want people to make fun of me who work there.
what the hell do single guys do in this fucking town, man?? If i don't meet a normal girl in the next week i'm gonna go blind. you know what i mean.
Fuck those drunk Northface bitches. you need to date a western girl.
I often have folks ask me if I'm ever worried about retaliation for some of this blog's content, or if I'm concerned with pissing people off to the point where I could end up hurt. In all honesty, I worry about offending people in real life more than I worry about offending local blog readers.
The ones I've met in person, at least these days, are really cool about the whole thing. Often, whenever I post something about life in Oxford, they're the first to IM me, usually after last call at the bars on Thursdays or Fridays, asking me if I've gotten any negative feedback.
You know, it's amazing how many students are damned shocked to discover that I'm still up past last call and, hell, I'm usually just getting back home myself at three in the morning on the weekends...
* * * *
And if you were to ask me who reads this thing, what type of local fits the Zenformation Professional profile, well, your guess would be as good as mine. I'm constantly shocked. There isn't a profile, really, though I will go out on a limb and say that, well, they tend to be more responsible, well-rounded, and intelligent that the stereotype of the Local U. student held by many people in the region.
Hell, even the Townies from the various surrounding townships are way too hot and friggin' smart for their own good.
* * * *
Recently, I even guessed wrong when I assumed that someone I just figured fit the profile read this thing.
I ended up giving her the URL and, lord, I hope to God she's not judging me too harshly.
A student employee at my library. She'd made a few comments about my personal life that, well, kinda led me to believe that she was a lurker...
Dammit. She fit the profile...
* * * *I also discovered that a young woman who spends an ungodly amount of time in my library, who I've seen almost every day for two years, reads this thing. I caught her just as she was closing her laptop as I walked by this morning.
I asked her, point-blank, why she was bothering to read this damned site, why she wasn't off being a supermodel or something. To be honest, I don't think I've seen a patron turn that red in a long time.
But, hey, she looked like the kind of woman the world needs as a supermodel - surrounded by stacks of books, decked out in sweats and a ratty tee shirt, and, well, looking like a real, un-artificially tanned human being.
That's called learning, kids. And learning is pretty damned sexy.
Anybody remember that Information is Power poster?
Made my friggin' month.
She said she liked it. And I'm funny. And real.
I left it at that, but told her she could always stop by my office if she needed some help. And to not spend so much time sleeping on the couches on the second floor, to get out and suck the marrow out of her college experience.
Information overload's a GPA killer. Trust me.
I'm not only a blogger; I'm also a real, honest-to-God information professional.
* * * *There is a dark side to being an "outed" blogger in a small college town. Fortunately, its not the blog readers and its not my colleagues, who've been more than accommodating in terms of my rather, er, interesting writing style.
Why am I still here, anyway? Why not just leave, or do like most educated people who work here and choose the hour's commute from Cincinnati or Dayton over life in Oxford Fucking Goddamn Ohio?
I guess that I just don't like the idea that there are people who believe that I can be chased out of anything, simply because I choose to live (and document) my personal life as I see fit.
I realize that there are folks who loathe this site, who wish I'd just go away, or that I'd turn this thing into a "Hi my name is Jason and this is what I did at work today" kinda blog.
Feel free, however, to hold your breath, organize a mass suicide in protest, or to, well, kiss my ass while you're waiting for hell to freeze over and for me to change who I am to accommodate a few critics.
I'm sticking it out in Oxford because, well, I can do whatever I want. It's a free country.
For one more year, at least, you'll be dealing with one dangerous, scandalous librarian who blogs about anything and everything, live from a tiny little town in southwestern Ohio. And it probably won't be pretty, either.
Hell, I readily admit that my personal life's a car crash in a lonely desert, a regular bitch and a half. Trust me, that's more than can be said for half the "grown-ups" in this town. I refuse to live in a world of whispered secrets, one where maintaining an image is more important that being one's self.
Somebody's gotta be the scholarly troublemaker. And what's a small college town without a heapin' dose of trouble, anyway?
I kinda like being considered one of the most dangerous people in this here corner of the middle of fucking nowhere.
Just for being my normal, everyday, tequila-swillin', chainsmokin', chatty, flirtin', punk music listenin', guitar-pickin', bloggin' librarian.
That's fucking badass.
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