Guess Who?


photo (15)Remember the game where you snuck up behind an unsuspecting individual, covered their eyes and shrieked, “Guess who?” If your tuna smelling fingers didn’t give you away, your friend could whip their face around, instantly revealing your identity.

But suppose you could touch someone while staying incognito indefinitely?

Anonymous has been a presence that’s figured prominently throughout my life. Here’s how:

  •  In 2nd grade, a pretty and popular girl in my class received cards throughout the school semester from “Your Secret Pal.” You know those cutesy, colorful ones with little kittens or teddy bears saying things like, “Although you may not know my name, I think you’re terrific just the same!” She barely stopped to read them before running off to play dodge-ball because she was team captain. “Your Secret Pal” was probably shy, couldn’t spell anonymous, and was always chosen last.

 

  •  In 5th grade drama class, an unsigned note was placed on the teacher’s desk nominating me for the part of Dorothy. The ruby shoes were too small, so alas that juicy role went to Becky with the petite feet.

 

  • In middle school, lengthy letters were turned into the principal’s office, citing full names of students who were smoking marijuana in the bushes after school. Anonymous obviously did not want to be known as a ratfink.

 

  • In a college suggestion box for the university’s literary magazine, two stories were submitted as “Author Unknown.” One was published without credit or a bio. Anonymous must’ve thought the writing was either too awful or too fantastic to attach a name.

 

  • In my early 20’s, various anonymous tips were given to the local police department. One led to an apprehension of the thief who abandoned stolen cars. Being a Good Samaritan was dangerous.

 

  • In my late 20’s, I volunteered on a suicide hotline. On my night off, my co-worker answered the phone to a depressed caller who described fantasizing various ways of dying. The call was lost before logging in a name.

 

  • In my early 30’s for three Valentine Days in a row, several of my divorced girlfriends received boxes of chocolate marshmallow hearts left on their doorstep minus a card. They were cheered.

 

  • In my mid 30’s, a bouquet of red roses was delivered to our home on my birthday. It was signed “From Your Secret Admirer.” After a jealous tirade, my husband took up the new hobby of finally sending me flowers. Daffodils were his thing. One year he forgot our anniversary, but when a heart traced into the dust on my car’s windshield suddenly appeared, he was jolted back into the routine.

 

  • In my late 30’s, Anonymous attended 12 step programs. There was one for Eating Disorders, Emotions, Love & Sex, Codependency, and Addictive Personalities. Anonymous sat in the back and rarely spoke.

 

  • In my early 40’s, a therapist friend of mine mentioned she got a frantic email from an account she didn’t recognize, confessing an inability to take care of young children properly. She considered calling her supervisor or a social service bureau but there was no contact information.

 

  • In my mid 40’s, before caller ID, a lot of my married friends received anonymous phone calls with eerie silence. Anonymous probably wanted to hear what went on in their household during the few seconds before they hung up. Or was curious if husband and wife would accuse one another of having an affair.

 

  • In my late forties, anonymous donations were made to various charities. Children’s organizations, animal rescues, breast cancer were a few. Or a local theatre because Anonymous seemed to support the arts. Perhaps Anonymous thought the amounts were embarrassingly small. Or was worried they were large enough that other people would ask to borrow money.

 

  • In my mid-forties, Anonymous left fliers under doormats on cul-de-sacs, suggesting someone start a Neighborhood Watch program. I guess Anonymous didn’t want to be that someone.

 

  • In my late-forties, our large city newspaper published some anonymous letters to the editor taking a strong stand on issues ranging from childhood vaccinations to guns. Anonymous hates confrontation.

 

  • In the last year, comments from “Nobody” have occasionally surfaced on my humor blog. They generally single out a line of dialogue that’s hilarious or refer to me as The Queen of Comedy. They are never EVER unfavorable.

 

  • Now that I’m 50, Anonymous feels the need to claim accountability for more things. A cleansing of the soul, you might call it. An owning up to the past. All things neutral, good, bad or just plain odd.

Anonymous is responsible for six children, an aging mother, a home, a dog named Lola, a car, and a writing career. It’s about time Anonymous took responsibility for herself, don’t you think?

 

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32 thoughts on “Guess Who?

  1. This was very inspiring to read.
    When I first moved out of home, somebody used to call my parents, without speaking, just listening, hoping they weren’t having loads of fun without me! 🙂

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  2. Anonymous hates confrontation, but anonymous wants to change the world, mostly 😉
    You write about anonymous, but in your own special way, you have spoken, I dare say, to each of us . . .

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  3. Wow…..so many ways the invisible woman has helped out in the world along her road……I’m so impressed and even more so that you’re finally confident enough to take credit/responsibility for all these things. You’re one amazing girl, aren’t you?

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    • You are so kind to have shared this the way you have. I guess people either recognize themselves in part of this or they think I am really odd. Like who calls other people and waits to see how they react if you don’t speak? Somehow I thought I’d learn something about their REAL personalities by doing some of those things! Ahhhh, but to come clean feels great. Thank you again, Joy!

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  4. Reblogged this on DrShapero's Blog and commented:
    Here is a beautiful writing which is fun to read and can make you think as well. Stephanie Lewis is a wonderful writer and very special to me. Please enjoy it and leave a comment with your thoughts.

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  5. There are so many good reasons to be anonymous and you have covered a great many as well as sharing some genuinely wonderful qualities about the uncredited acts of kindness. Without a doubt that special someone in your life is very fortunate, which is probably kept anonymous. This was a joy to read.

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  6. All depends on the reason for being Anonymous – and Anonymous is synonymous with hiding, isn’t it? I suppose there could be reasons for hiding but it must feel good to come forth and stake a claim.
    And then again, if it worked to get flowers delivered, this wasn’t a bad thing, was it? 😉

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  7. Sometimes being Little Miss Cellophane has its perks (lack or reprisal being the main one; getting insider gossip just because people forget you’re there being the other). However, when you’re as awesome as YOU are, then you should very definitely OWN it!

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  8. I think that being anonymous can have many benefits There are no restraints or worries holding you back, so you are able to say what you want without fear. This is pretty handy of you don’t want to get beaten up!! Being anonymous can be a wonderful way of pushing forward a suggestion or idea that gets a shy child noticed who is desperate, but unable to do it themselves.
    However, coming clean and taking responsibility can be very cathartic. Good for you for breaking free.

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