Monday, January 24, 2011

Let's Give Them Something to Talk About

When I was younger, I lived in a much smaller city.

A smaller city with a lot of big mouths, or so it seemed to me.

I kept hearing gossip about myself, and it started to get on my nerves. Instead of starting a fight with someone, or trying to combat whatever was being said about me that was not true, I decided to liven things up a bit. I started saying crazy things to plant seeds that would cause rumors. I wanted to see how long it would take to get around, and how much ridiculousness people were actually willing to believe (and repeat!).

The one I remember most clearly and found the funniest? That I had a three year old daughter named Sophie.
I made her a Myspace profile, and placed her at #1 in my top friends, and friend-requested a couple of my friends. I posted comments on her wall from my profile, and vice versa. I started making random comments about her, in mixed company. I started conversations with my friend who knew the inside scoop, talking about the complications of motherhood, loudly enough to be overheard. Most people were too caught off guard to ask me any questions about this directly. They started talking amongst themselves.

When anyone did get brave enough to say something like "I didn't know you had a daughter!" My responses were intentionally vague, and I feigned discomfort talking about it, implying that there was some underlying conflict. I filled in the blanks at my leisure, saying whatever came to mind. I didn't really have to make up much, because people starting piecing their own work of fiction together. No one seemed to think it was too unbelievable that they had known me for years, but I had a 'secret' daughter that they had never seen or heard of. I believe the story ended up being something along the lines of that I had little Sophie young, so she had gone to stay with relatives (or her "dad", or something, who knows?), but I now felt that I was in a place where I was able to care for her myself (or something?), so I had gotten her back. I heard second and third hand accounts of people stumbling upon Sophie's profile, being baffled, and then checking with someone else to see if it was true. I swear to you, almost no one contacted me directly to see what was up. Not a single soul told me that they didn't believe me. There were a few people that couldn't tell if I was messing with them or not, and kept asking 'if I was serious,' but if they left the conversation not believing me, they kept that to themselves. Or at least kept it from me...and probably told ten of their friends.

At some point, my mother got a phone call from someone in the family, asking how they could not have known I had a child.

The pictures I put on her profile were baby pictures of myself, as well as some random products of internet searches, including some girl's pregnancy photo (A girl I used to be in guard with said she 'wasn't sure if it was real or not, but as soon as she saw the pregnancy picture and looked closely, she knew it had to be, because those were definitely my hands.), someone else's ultrasound, and a random marker drawing. One person that saw the profile and was immediately certain I had a child, to the point of arguing with my then significant other about. She said, "Did you SEE those pictures? That little girl looks JUST LIKE her!"
Eighties chic. Not sure how no one seemed to notice that. Kids don't really dress like they did 20 years ago anymore...

Eventually the talk of this died down, but I went to absolutely no effort to dissuade anyone from continuing to think Sophie was real. My close friends all ended up in on the joke, and most of them helped me with it. I am pretty sure there are still people out there that believe in little Sophie, who would now be seven, I think.


  1. I do actually remember hearing this when I first joined guard. I think my reasoning for not really believing it is that Lynsey would have kicked your ass if you got pregnant while you were in guard. Although I was definitely too scared of you at that point to ask you directly!

  2. Hahaha...sometimes I forget underclassmen were afraid of me.
    Correct, I don't think KF's staff would have been thrilled with the idea of a pregnant girl marching.
    Not to mention the fact that Sara probably would have been really pissed. Can you imagine? "I swear, you're the father."