This morning I received an interview request from the Chicago Tribune.
Since I’m always in search of external validation I was excited that someone felt it was important to talk with me. About me.
If you’re not familiar with Chicago, the Tribune is our flagship newspaper and one of the ten biggest in the country. The have real reporters and probably an ombudsman. They’re the real deal. I announced at work that they sent me a message to interview me. Just the other day an obscene t-shirt manufacturer reached out to me asking to help promote their clothing line. They said to pick any t-shirt I wanted for free. I also had practically yelled this at work. Nobody was impressed.
In my hurry I had neglected to thoroughly read the reporter’s email. All I saw was “request for interview and “about meeting your girlfriend through your blog.”
To be more accurate that is what I thought I saw.
When I sat down to re-read the email I realized they wanted to interview me about how I met my ex-wife, not my girlfriend, through a friend. I didn’t even remember writing about how I met my ex-wife. Inviting my current girlfriend Jessica over to Thanksgiving at my parents’ house for our first date is one of my most popular stories. I get emails about it all the time from readers about it and it’s simply a funny and touching story.
I was confused. While being asked to get interviewed was exciting, talking about how I met my ex-wife (which is a really cute story) felt heavy and sad. We’re still friends and all, but there’s a lot of pain and sadness that surfaces. Remembering our first date brings up a tremendous amount of pleasure which then instantly fast-forwards through the devastation of divorce. It’s a complicated set of feelings.
When I spoke to the reporter at the paper I first pitched the more current story about how I met Jessica. I spent a good five minutes on the details trying to sell it. I hit all the jokes and she laughed the whole way. At the end she thought it might be a good feature for a Valentine’s story, but not a good fit for what she needed with this piece. So, I talked about the ex-wife.
I relayed how I met my ex-wife through a friend. I’ll leave the details out for now should the paper decide to include me in their article. I’ll post a link if it goes to print.
I was asked if the woman that had set us up would be willing to speak to the paper as well. I was sure that she would. This reminded me of another story – the time she tried to set me up with another woman after I was divorced.
Now, this story is newsworthy as the woman was batshit crazy. Our whole relationship had been one phone conversation and she became convinced on the call that I would passing mental illness down to her future kids. I have no diagnosed mental illnesses, by the way.
I had sent the friend that had set me up an email and copied the reporter asking if she would participate in the story. In the email I told her I spoke of the two matchmaker stories – how she introduced me to my now-ex wife, and how she introduced me to a psycho hose beast. When the friend had responded she replied both to me and the writer.
She said it was no problem to speak about how she set me up with Christina but that she didn’t want to talk about the crazy woman as she is a mom at her kid’s school and it could cause friction between them. Ah – makes sense. Then she wrote an unfortunate few sentences. Here’s what she wrote…
In her defense… you did tell her [crazy broad] that you have self-diagnosed ADD and manic-depression. You didn’t exactly sell your better qualities.
Okay, first of all, I’ve never diagnosed myself with anything except being really kick-ass. Second I have a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Turns out I have a little ADD and that’s it. I take a few meds for it, but it’s no big deal. No bipolar, no depression, not even a touch of the gout. I don’t even get colds, for chrissakes.
Now, I’m sure she was trying to be funny. And while I do appreciate the effort I felt the need to immediately reply to both her and the reporter.
Whoa! No manic-depression!
No depression at all. Just a little ADD and not self-diagnosed. I have a doctor. Ha.
I’m so insecure the idea of having an editor at a newspaper think I was a victim of mental illness was devastating. Here I was attempting to correct any misperceptions. “I’m not crazy! And that whole ‘methinks the lady doth protest too much’ doesn’t apply here!”
Oh, one more thing. When I was being interviewed I asked the writer how she found my site. Was I a big deal around the newsroom down on Michigan Avenue? Out of all the Chicago bloggers was I clearly the funniest? Turns out it was total coincidence that we both live in Chicago. She had just done a Google search looking for stories about being set-up and I showed up number one. I was a little bummed to find out she hadn’t ever read the site before. She promised, however, to keep reading.
All in all a fun day. Even if they don’t print the story I’m thrilled to have been asked. If you haven’t read my confession series one of the dysfunctional things I do is interview myself to myself all the time. I only actually get interviewed in real life once in a blue moon and in my mind it’s the greatest honor in the world. In a way, I sort of star-bang myself. I’m sure that’s not healthy. But, hey, someone’s got to.