A Shameless Little Con
Life is about blending in now, an impossible task for someone who has more notoriety than Monica Lewinsky. Shame is a booming industry, one with capital and debt, profit and loss sheets, one that trades in the hard currency of humiliation and intrigue. My ringing phone would be a constant reminder of my ongoing debasement, so I turn it off. Pretend there is no sound.
Pretend in order to function, because if I let myself receive a notification every time someone mentioned me, I’d be buried in cacophony, shattered by so much noise I would dissipate, particles of Jane Borokov in the air everyone breathes, and we can’t have that.
If I did that, I wouldn’t exist, and right now my best defense is just existing.
No one believes me.
And as time passes, I see that what people actually believe doesn’t matter.
It’s what you can manipulate them into feeling that counts. Media reports about my so-called heinous actions last year are all about stoking the furious fire of public anger. Get them outraged. Get them frothing. Pitchforks and torches are so twentieth century.
Now you tar and feather people with a Share button and a Like. It’s so easy. Read the words, feel something, then tap. Click.
Move on to the next scandal.
It’s all part of your life, right?
Until you are the shame sacrifice of the day. Week. Month.
We’re trained to seek high rewards, but the internet lets us do it with low effort. Got to get that dopamine fix somewhere, right?
I start, spilling a bit of the crema from my latte on my hand. The perfect heart at the center of the foamy milk on the surface of my coffee turns into a mangled, jagged mess.
“Jesus! You scared me.” I keep my voice to a low hiss, mortified by all of the layers this interruption is breaching. I refuse to look at him, because if I look at Silas Gentian, my newly assigned bodyguard and babysitter, I’ll see disgust.
And while I’ve gotten used to it from everyone else, I still can’t stomach seeing it reflected back at me from him.