Since shortly after I started this blog, I have maintained the policy of allowing almost all comments, anonymous or otherwise, to pass through the filter of moderation. Once, a pretty long time ago, I refused to post a message that was both anonymous and extraordinarily critical of Freedom Scientific as I felt some of the comments in it made little actual sense and, Because it was posted anonymously, I didn’t want to accept responsibility for its contents. When FS was acquired by WAFRA, I censored all posts that, for racial or religious reasons, attacked FS or its new owners for their Arabic roots. Finally, I’ve censored a few comments that were obvious sales pitches for various AT products as this blog is no place for advertisements.
The other day, after posting my “Pissing in the Wind” article, I received a lot of comments both privately and posted to the blog. One anonymous post raises some issues about me and this blog to which I will respond. First, I wish the poster had the guts to use a real name rather than hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. Anyone making such statements and such accusations should be prepared to face the music but this obvious wimp chose to cloak his identity and avoid debate, thus, in my opinion, probably has little or no evidence for certain allegations he makes.
Anonymous writes, “Thus, I am going to offer you some free advice to help you get your life back on track.” I definitely listen to advice from people willing to identify themselves but why should I think lessons from a person who won’t even identify himself would be at all useful to me? The cloaking strategy seems to imply that this person may actually want to provide completely useless advice to me or post lies to the public without being questioned.
The initial bit of advice, “First, delete this stupid blog. Every potential employer is going to Google your name, read your blog, and move on to the next candidate. We all have our private demons; your blog shows that you are overrun with them.” This sentence has a number of issues I would like to address. Specifically, if employers, especially around the blindness biz, have such a bad opinion of me resulting from my discussing substance abuse and mental illness on this blog, how come I currently have more work than I can handle? How come I have a waiting list for my consulting services and a handful of full time job offers on the table if my blog scares potential employers away? I assure you that virtually all of the people for whom I work today and those who have offered employment and contract gigs in the future are regular Blind Confidential readers?
Next, prior to September 2006, about nine months into the history of this blog, drugs and other substance related ideas only appeared in the fictional stories written under the pseudonym, Gonz Blinko. People who actually thought that Gonz and his life were non-fiction needs more psychiatric help than even me. I wrote those stories as an exercise in writing entertaining stories in the gonzo journalism style first published by the late, great Hunter S. Thompson.
In September 2006, I wrote an entry entitled, “August 2005,” about an episode of my manic depression that landed me in a psychiatric hospital for a few days. About a year after the episode had passed, I went out to lunch with my good friend Ted Henter. Part of our lunchtime conversation included stories of substance abuse and mental illness. Ted told me that I am far from alone in the community of blind people with such issues but many others actually think they are isolated within a world governed by their demons. Ted suggested I write as honestly and in depth about my battles with these problems as possible so others may know they can have someone out in the world who shares issues regarding blindness mixed with depression, mania and substance abuse. In the 14 months or so since writing that article and others like it, I have received dozens of private emails from people asking for help and, in some of those cases, I think I actually helped some of these strangers along their path to recovery.
Finally, on this first bit of advice, I will add that all of the chatter about substance abuse (not the use of prescription medications) comes from memories of my fairly distant past. I have not had a sip of alcohol or even a pop of any illicit drug in more than ten and a half years. I’ve been through a lot of good and bad during that period but haven’t picked up a drink or found a blast of heroin to self medicate myself. I spend a fair amount of time helping other alcoholics and drug addicts find sobriety and such efforts are among the happiest parts of my life.
The next bit of advice that anonymous provides includes, “Although I will say that your description of your departure does not match what is now common knowledge in the industry – namely, that you were asked to resign because you had been stealing from the company,” comes completely from left field. I talk to a lot of people throughout the industry almost every day and hear lots of rumors about myself. None, however, have included theft or even an accusation thereof. I will happily join any FS official on a live podcast to recite my entire personnel file, including my resignation agreement and letters I’ve received from their attorneys and discuss all of them in a live forum and anyone who hears the entire collection of paperwork will hear nothing about stealing from the company but will hear lots of stuff about my very poor performance, my mental illness and my increasingly suicidal tendencies.
In the “Pissing in the Wind” article the other day, I stated without condition that FS had every right to fire me. I had grown into a manic state in which my ego grew too large to be contained in a corporate environment. I signed up for every conference I could find so I could enjoy the applause after my presentation. I neglected my department and Eric Damery did a lot to help manage my team. By the time FS sent me home, I was a certifiable basket case.
As, today, I have more work than I know what to do with, I certainly do not need to court companies who got a bad impression from this blog. For two of the gigs on which I am currently working, I did not do any courting, they called me and offered jobs. One even went as far as asking me to name my price and then matched it. If anything, BC has helped my floundering career.
So, if you plan on being a prick, please put your name on your comments so I can know who the meat heads are and avoid them in the future.