Tuesday, May 01, 2007

secret identities

I've always loved having a secret identity.

In high school I loved moving between non-overlapping social circles--starting fullback on the soccer team one day, dark and brooding poetic genius the next (yeah, right...well, our self-image is always a bit off in high school, eh?) In college, I loved being a typical Harding student...while never attending a single devo that I can remember, and never joined a social club. When I was in Oregon, I loved being a Southerner from Tennessee--I played up the accent, called everyone hon, said y'all at every opportunity. Doing my M.A. at ACU, I loved waiting tables at Cypress Street, knowing that even though I was performing a thankless task for an unpredictable boss and a mostly snobbish clientele, I was in reality a super-smart theology student; I could serve tea and coffee, do a tableside flambe dessert of Bananas Foster, all the while contemplating how I would add to the accumulated wisdom of Christian tradition another definitive non-answer to the problem of evil. In China--well, who needs a secret identity there; being an American provides you with enough celebrity mystique to drive you nuts.

Here, I am super-mom by day, academic by night; and somehow--though not enough gets done on either front--being one makes being the other so much more satisfying.

Why?

7 comments:

carolyn said...

I am too boring to have a secret identity, but I love the idea of it. I think this is why we are drawn to superhero movies, perhaps? We all secretly want to be more than meets the eye.

Obviously I don't have much insight, but I had to comment because I really love Cypress Street. When I was at ACU it was THE place to go for special occasions. I think I have dreams sometimes about the pecan pie/ice cream parfait dessert thingy.

J. Brent Bates said...

I also dream about the "pecan pie/ice cream parfait dessert thingy." In fact, Jen laughs at me when I attempt to recreate it at home. A wine glass with layers of warmed bourbon pecan pie, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, and whipped cream, with chopped pecans on the top... Am I missing anything?

JTB said...

It makes the wine glass a bitch to clean up. Was true at the restaurant, too.

carolyn said...

I have never tried making it at home, but just thinking about it has me salivating. I would probably just use a plastic cup--no need for a fancy presentation for me. Plus more pie would probably fit in the bottom. Yummm.

jch said...

I think the secret identity thing is a huge reason for many who move to NYC. If so desired, a person can recreate their persona every day of the week. Because you see an entirely different set of people each and every day with little consistency at all, that is absolutely possible. New York City - the home of secret identities.

JTB said...

See, I totally belong there...

On thinking about this a little more, I think what I like about the contrasts between personas is that I can always feel super-competent. Carolyn's comment about the superhero thing is right on in this respect--regardless of what it is I'm doing at any given moment, there's another realm of existence in which I am AWESOME. Of course, the awesome realm is generally the one I'm not currently occupying...

Balthasar Gracian said...

when you've had students stalk you, you learn to adopt even more radical forms of secret identities.

indeed, the life of the academic is one where you will constantly be split.

some, and i find these the most boring types, overcome the problem by only having academic friends.

but, the late night business, it goes on and on into the future. my wife still, after 10 years of marriage doesn't know what it's like for me to go to bed at the same she does. i, on the other hand, don't know what it's like to wake up and have someone asleep beside me.

well, i gotta go get the food in the oven, before my wife gets home