All this time I thought my One Man’s Rant column was appearing in a couple of “local, small-town” weekly newspapers, the Chino Valley Review and the Prescott Valley Tribune. That was plenty good enough for me, but I’ve received emails in response to the column over the last six months that make me question the “local” part of this arrangement.
A few months ago, I heard from the editor of the International Lions member magazine, The Roar, who commented on a column I’d written in late 2016. This editor is based in Chicago. The one in Illinois. I was amazed that a magazine editor 1,741 miles away found out what I was saying here in little old Chino Valley, Arizona.
More recently, I heard from a 1992 Olympic Silver Medalist in men’s figure skating — who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just for the record, that’s 2,033 miles from the center of downtown Chino Valley! I was gratified to be contacted by an Olympic Medal winner, but how the hell did he know what I was confiding to local readers here in Somewhere, Arizona? Can’t anybody keep a secret?
My respiration was just returning to normal when another email pinged its way into my computer — from Gig Harbor, Washington. This one was from a publicist for individual Olympic skaters. I don’t want to sound paranoid, but shouldn’t what is said in Arizona stay in Arizona? Hey, if that little slogan works for Las Vegas, how about a little love for us in Chino Valley?
I’ve heard that leaks in the White House are a constant threat, but I hadn’t thought about the dangers of leaks here in my own high-desert burg. Following a final article on the Olympics this year, I received yet another email, this time from Tuffy Latour, the director of Sporting Operations for the US Bobsled Federation. He has quite an active history in Olympic bobsled and skeleton competitions.
I mean, come on, if these columns reached folks in Chicago, Charlotte, Gig Harbor and Lake Placid, New York, I’m afraid that my previously published opinions on goat heads, gophers and weather forecasters may have fallen into the wrong hands God knows where. I’m already making arrangements to go underground for the safety of my wife and two black labs. I’ve called up the website for the Justice Department’s Federal Witness Protection Program, but none of us have given damaging testimony about any crime dudes. The US Marshall’s Service offers a Witness Security Program, too. If these options don’t pan out I’m thinking of digging a cave in the backyard large enough to accommodate a refrigerator, a flat-screen TV for NFL games and a kitchen with plenty of microwave popcorn and peach pie fixings. And a bathroom. And plenty of toilet paper.
But wait, I think I may have solved the mystery of how my One Man’s Rant scribblings may have caused a personal security challenge. It’s called Google Alerts. According to the online instructions, I can be alerted any time anyone mentions a selected topic. This is outstanding. If I want to know everything that’s being said about Beyonce, Sebastian Stan, Tyler Glasnow, or Prince all I have to do is list them and I’m golden.
Since I don’t care two fig leaves and a raspberry about any of these people, I probably won’t set up the alerts, but I suppose it’s comforting to know that I could.
It’s also comforting to know that I’m not being followed by dark, unknown forces just because I express my point of view in my local weekly newspapers.
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