Humor Non-Fiction posted July 31, 2011

This work has reached the exceptional level
Speculation on how much the reader really knows...

You Don't Know Jack!

by JBCaine

I am a Native American. Not just because I was born here, either. On my mother’s side of the family we retain just enough native blood to claim tribal affiliation. We checked when we were kids, and always thought it was cool that we could go be part of a tribe.

None of us ever took that step, probably in great part due to the red hair and light skin that runs through the family on my father’s side. Blood, or no blood, we weren’t really going to fit in at the tribal council meetings. Had we known we could be getting our cut of the current casino profits, things might have been different.

We did not become members of the tribe. We didn’t even go to the reservation other than around the 4th of July to get our fireworks. We didn’t even take advantage of the fact that we could have hunted and fished everywhere, for anything, in or out of season. In other words, I am not an Indian. My knowledge of that life is almost as non-existent as my knowledge of quantum physics. On my occasional visits to the reservation, I am not greeted as a returning member of the family, but just as another tourist.
And so it is here on FanStory. Other than those of you who are independently wealthy, there is a boatload of reading and reviewing required to attain the enormous sums of Member Bucks required to get a piece out there where it will actually be seen by someone other than your mom.

The reading and reviewing are very good training aids in making each of us a better writer. There is an additional effect that results from the reading, reviewing, and the subsequent message traffic that passes back and forth between the authors and the readers: I call it the Imaginary Friend Syndrome.

I have no idea if this is normal, or if I am the only person so afflicted, thus, I am posting this to find out.

So here’s the deal. As I read various stories, I sort of forget that storytellers are, by definition, incorrigible liars. This leads me to sometimes believe that the stories posted here are completely honest self-depictions of the writers and their personal real lives. In reviewing, I have a tendency to refer to the events of the story as factual real-life experiences, regardless of the “Fiction” heading at the top of the page. This is usually taken as a joke by the writers, although I do get the occasional response along the lines of, “It’s not a true story, you moron. I do not own a singing ferret. Furthermore, you are a wackjob, and even if I had one, NO, I certainly would not let you borrow it.”

This ridiculous gullibility has another byproduct for me, and that is: I start to think, just like I thought I might be an Indian, that I know who these folks are, that I am seeing into their lives, their feelings, their thoughts, their homes.  In short, I start to think we are friends, and that I know them well.

I ‘m going to use Captain Jack as an example, and do hope he takes no offense. I could use any number of the top 25 or so in the listings, but then my title wouldn’t make sense.

Captain Jack is very prolific, and tells many stories from the viewpoint of his own life, real or not. He posts about 200 stories a week, and since I have been reading his works, I have yet to read one that is not entertaining.

The reviews I send the good Captain are even more ridiculous than this piece, and he kindly acknowledges them graciously and cordially. (Although I suspect he has me on his Stalker Watch List.)

After writing a particularly rude review of a story he posted, and frantically looking for the “Unsend” button on my keyboard, a thought popped into my tiny brain. A wooden voice (perhaps from a small statue of Don Quixote) shocked my conscience, and rattled my soul. “You don’t know Jack!”

Chucking sanity out the window entirely, I began to argue. “Of course I know him. I can show you the message he sent me just the other day!”

“Really? What pray tell, do you know about him?”

“His name is Captain Jack…”

“No it’s not, Idiot. It says so right there in his bio.”

“He lives in Montana.”

“Does he? His bio says that, but it could just as well say he lives on the moon. Besides, his wife is Russian, and you should know that wouldn’t go over so well in Montana.”

“Hey, that’s not nice.  Montanans aren’t that close-minded. My sister lives in Montana.”

“Is your sister Russian? I rest my case.”

“Well, I know he has a talking statue of Don Quixote…”

“Puh-leeeze!  A talking statue? That part of the story was fiction, if not the whole thing. I repeat my original statement.  You don’t know Jack.”

It is a sad state of affairs when you actually lose an argument to a figment of your imagination.

Whether anyone else out there feels like they are friends with the writers whose works they read, I don’t know. I know that many of you out there on FanStory ARE friends, sharing messages and information about yourselves with each other unrelated to the stories being told.

Indeed, I have received extremely friendly advice, help, and inspiration from many of you. And while I appreciate it enormously, and consider your guidance and your insults to be generous and, dare I say it, friendly, I don’t expect we will be chatting over a cup of coffee anytime soon.

So, here’s to the Captain, and to all of you, whoever you really are.

I’m not an Indian, and I don’t know Jack.


If you think this essay is bad, you should hear my conversations with Jack Reacher... Don't know him, either.

I do NOT believe that TV is real, with the notable exception of Reality TV, which I wish were not real.
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