Describing my identity was easy until my mid thirties. I identified as a guy with a background in software engineering. Before that, I was a boy who liked to play with computers and toy trucks.
I graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford in 2001, and my GPA was low. It was around 3.0.
I also taught AP compsci to high school students for three years and started a masters degree at Georgia Tech before moving back out to Silicon Valley and working for several different VC-backed startup companies.
I made somewhere between one and two million dollars before the age of thirty, and then I stopped working as a software engineer.
By my late thirties, I was healthy, I had never identified as seriously ill or disabled, and it was clear that running out of money might become an issue for me.
Sounds simple, right?
But it's not. There's a massive problem:
People are setting me up to fail by dropping serious, self-reinforcing misrepresentation about my identity and my situation in life, I assume, because I have a facial feature that looks like a facial expression.
That's all it is. People are distorting reality because they think I have emotional problems, and that insidious dynamic has turned out to be a big deal.
A lot of people construe my facial injury as a failure to feel empathy and respond to their emotions. They treat me like I'm doing something wrong because the sunken-in quality of my right cheekbone persists, no matter how aggressively they pressure me to do something differently.
All the data suggests that, at a subconscious level, people just don't like the effect of my facial injury.
They have a bias against an aspect of my body that I can't change, and everyone agrees that getting plastic surgery would be invalid.
It would be invalid for me to get plastic surgery, so I'm stuck.
Over time, more and more people have gotten mad at me. They put me in no-win situations, and when we finally give up and go our separate ways, they collude to frame me as a self-centered jerk. They're seeking sympathy by doing something behind my back, often in the abstract.
A growing army of people who don't talk to me anymore are effectively asserting, in the voice of hard news journalism, that the bone structure beneath my face is a micro-aggression, and they're all up in arms because they feel like the only reason it's still there is because I'm unwilling to compromise and make even more changes in my life than I already have.
More importantly, doctors and other authority figures have been unwilling to formally recognize that the effect of my facial injury is the only relevant reason why so many of my interactions with people have ended badly.
This tussle has been going on for over 15 years. There's nothing left for me to change about myself other than to dig in deeper and fight harder for my right to survive.
Nonetheless, lots of self-appointed authority figures are still broadcasting their own bogus, self-serving rationalizations for why I'm getting much worse outcomes than I should be, given my qualifications, and this on-going travesty has created what I would call a military-grade reality distortion field.
My facial injury, combined with the fact that I'm not dead yet, systematically tricks doctors and other real authority figures into believing more and more stuff about me that isn't true.
That's the kind of thing military organizations do. It doesn't make sense to develop capabilities like this for any purpose other than subduing enemies in war.
It's a technical malfunction, and there's no easy way out. Focusing on, "taking it one day at a time," is a death sentence. I've been doing that for years, and the problem keeps following me everywhere I go. I will need to either keep moving forward towards a comprehensive solution, or I will need to retreat into an actual bunker.
Otherwise, I'll be dead meat. Doctors are acting like commanders in an open field who freeze and watch their units get cut to pieces instead of giving orders to move, so I'm preempting them, in my capacity as an engineer.
I'm giving everyone a license to say, "This sounds like a real problem... Todd's been failing to communicate. This is Todd's fault. He should take more personal responsibility for his failure to communicate effectively, and then I'm sure the problem will take care of itself."
I don't enjoy getting algorithmic about it, but I will. When people who have good intentions make sloppy, easily challenged statements, that gives me leverage to show that they are unqualified to continue representing their profession, and that's just one of many potential first steps in the process of getting algorithmic.
In war, doctors orders don't necessarily trump an engineer's assessment of the situation on the ground. People with backgrounds in the healing arts don't trump anyone holding a weapon, in fact, and America has conveniently turned into war zone.
I wonder why that is? Why has America turned into a war zone?
I've been bending over backwards for years, trying to follow well-meaning advice, trying to go with the flow, and trying to be nice about it, but now I'm backed into a corner.
It's an understatement to say that I've been assertive about walking away from potential conflict.
This article will give me the step against people who accuse me of being oversensitive.
In the wake of this article, I'm destined to become a modest, positive, proactive guy, and that will catch a lot of people off guard.
I'll be content with a simple life, without giving up on solid chances to capture upside.
On the other hand, the consensus view within culture has been that my story is obliviously negative, uninspiring, hideously fabricated, forgettable, kind of pathetic, and above all, it's not newsworthy, in theory.
It's so easy to tag me by saying, "Todd's his own worst enemy. He's addicted to negative self-talk."
So many good people think they're helping me by insisting that it's all in my head, but their attitude is flat out murderous, and that's a fact. They're on the wrong side of history.
I've been getting into it with people, and it's amazing how little foul play has actually occurred, all around.
I've just been managing a ton of pressure to take medication, for every reason in the book.
It's easier to demand credit in return for suggesting problematic solutions than to acknowledge that my actions are NOT the source of the problem.
The effect of my facial injury is an optical illusion that's more like a computer virus than a drug.
People know when they're high or craving a high, while the effect of my facial injury goes undetected.
Many people have invited me to let someone else control and dominate my body so that it can be altered more and more, past points of no return, maybe permanently, whether I like it or not, because they believe I would benefit from going down paths like that.
The law allows me to say no, but when I do, the result has been an extraordinary case study in the possibility of unlimited war to the death, without the possibility of mercy or redemption, but within the boundaries set forth by the law.
The law, which was created by people and shaped by rules that were written in blood in the context of a finite set of lifelong struggles for truth and justice, has been on my side.
The majority of my contemporaries have not.
I've been seen but not heard.
Things are not ok. I'm a walking, talking embodiment of everything that's wrong with America and the world in general right now, and I'm not joking.
I probably COULD HAVE BEEN (please note my emphasis on the past tense) killed off, by any number of nefarious mechanisms, but nobody got their hands dirty and broke US law in order to get rid of me.
As an American citizen, I'm doing all that I can to stay alive for at least a few more decades. I'm the polar opposite of someone who might commit suicide or who has a history of trying, just FYI.
It's entirely possible that I won't die anytime soon, but the negative energy that's associated with my existence has to go somewhere...
It's like when the four-inch-heel-wearing reporter on CNN asked Mark Zuckerberg whether or not he planned to step down as CEO, and he was like, "That's not part of the plan."
Did the 24-hour news' war profiteering corporate backers have any idea how much weight they were putting on those heels, in the grand scheme of things?
Stories about Facebook are the juiciest. FB has been slinging the heaviest crud that's ever been heaved in human history.
For more information about that, please see my other two articles whoisbuck.com and leftsmile.com.
Do they really want low-GPA people like me to start killing each other on battlefields, again?
Either way, I feel the same way about suicide. It's not part of my plan.
But if I'm not a suicide risk, what is my identity?
I could approach doctors and pretend to have almost any mental health condition that's described in the literature, to use a broad and inclusive term.
I could say, "The DSM-5," but I prefer to refer to all of that fire as, "the literature."
Technically speaking, I'm a self-styled expert at not meeting the criteria for any well-defined mental health disorders, and what that means, in practice, is that I can do a convincing performance of any condition that I feel like having, on any given day of the week.
Does anyone feel awkward? I don't. I've been living within this nightmare for about five years now. I've seen it all. I've done the work of processing all the difficult emotions that are bound to come up in tight spots like this.
I've spent thousands of hours mapping the subconscious attachments to the full range of emotions that I'm capable of feeling.
I have a reasonably authoritative mental model of who my extended family was and what they were all about.
I forgive everyone in my family for every not-perfect thing they may or may not have ever done.
I'm world-class at accommodating therapists. I didn't used to be, but I am now. After a few hours of therapy, it's not even painful to accept the new reality on the ground.
It's easy to agree that nobody has good chance of killing me with kindness. If someone wants to kill me, they're going to have to break the law, and therapists rarely break the law while they're on the clock.
The celebrity therapists of the world wouldn't consent to do shows with me, because I'd make fools out of them.
I could just sit there politely, with my palms facing up, while they peppered me with insults.
They would come off looking like vindictive hate mongers, and the stakeholders in their media productions would kill the concept before it ever got off the ground.
My information advantage increases whenever people try to redirect my energy with hypnotic techniques like guided breathing. Just breathe!
If so-called healers who pressure me to self-injure can't use hard edged violence to rewire or reconfigure my physical being, I gain the upper hand, effortlessly, not by accident or happenstance, but through mastery that took me years to unravel.
The law, of course, is violent, but where it is, it has been violent in ways that have helped to advance my interests, so far, and that's probably because striving to prevent war doesn't just protect me.
Should I PRETEND to feel awkward? Should I develop some nervous tics?
I used to have actual nervous tics, but I stopped doing them.
I could imitate what I used to do, and it would look authentic, because I would be imitating myself at a younger age.
At this point, more than one columnist for the big papers might be thinking, "Why doesn't this guy just get a software engineering job and shut up? He can come work at the paper. We'll low ball him and call it even."
Actually, the big papers probably won't hire me anytime soon.
They tyranny of putting positive spins on divergent processes will continue to reign supreme, in their minds.
As a software engineer, they'll treat me like damaged goods. They'll figure they can find someone else to do anything that I could do for them, as a software engineer.
Now, if they want to hire me as a columnist, that would be interesting. Instead of NOT grabbing coffee with tech journalists to discuss whether or not they want to go on the record about the 20-page missive of alleged facts about the early history of Facebook that I've been distributing at sharkinjury.com since April, 2017, we could NOT grab coffee because we're competing with each other to win mindshare within the same limited pool of potential readers.
I already live in New York, which is part of why I might run out of money soon, so just let me know when to show up for work! I'd be happy to arrive five minutes early, five minutes late, or right on time. Let me know what the big paper company wants to do.
In all seriousness, though, I would probably be a poison pill for the big papers, even if they had the incredible foresight to go meta and have me write about my writing, for them, on their watch.
In the near term, their audiences might not resonate with what I have to say, and, as the economist and haunter of halls at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, John Maynard Keynes said, "We're all dead in the long term."
Keynes was a 21st century journalist who lived 100 years before before his time, but I digress.
Should I steal his identity? I could go to parties and say, "I'm the ghost of John Keynes," and act like everything's normal.
Maybe I'll sweat it out in that shell and report back about how it goes, but maybe I won't.
I haven't read all the right books about his legacy, lately. What terrible things did Keynes do that I wouldn't want to be associated with? Anyone?
Just kidding, I'm not lazy.
People like me are compressed.
I'll end this article by explaining what I'm doing next.
I have all the skills and credentials that companies are supposedly desperate to bring into their ranks, but I'm at war with the whole lot of them, and it's not clear why the scope of the war is still expanding.
And, no, I'm not negotiating. This is a real conundrum. The companies that pay six figure salaries for tech talent aren't messing around, but neither am I.
Their fake supporters may be weary, but I'm not. This is war, and my moral is excellent.
I hope, pray, and predict that the war will remain non-violent, but the adversary has a say too.
I want it to remain non-violent, but do they?
I'm under the impression that the integrity of the law tends to erode in situations where corporations appropriate all aspects of communication for the purpose of maximizing shareholder value.
If we're serious about keeping the peace, we might want to ascertain a higher order bit that's bigger than the concept of continuing to follow the letter of the law.
I'm a loser and we live in a TLDR culture, but there might be a way through.
I'm linking this article to itself via whoistodd.com.
I'm also hosting this oldie but goodie at at Medium.
Major props to Medium for continuing to independently verify that I existed at a particular time in the past!
I've also been one of their paying customers for more than a year, and I'm about to hit my one year cliff as a paying customer at The Information, too, so watch out!
Me and (INSERT ADVERTISING PARTNER NAME HERE) could be poster entities for capitalism in the post-debasement era.
This article is a rocket booster of authenticity in the shamefully apocalyptic social media landscape of the moment!
The payload is the network of content I'm distributing under the label Tsuzy LLC.
I've got leftsmile.com, which gives a shout out to Trumpism and its discontents.
I also got whoisbuck.com, because civilization was collapsing, and I have myriad additional domains that play some role within my sci-fi trilogy about the future of humanity and AI, which is housed online at thesuzy.com.
I'm using these domains as platforms for staging blogs, and WhoIsTodd, LeftSmile, WhoIsBuck, and TheSuzy are the foundation of everything.
I'll use the first three to narrate the hard news about myself, Trump, and all things Facebook, respectively, and TheSuzy is what I call a fan fiction currency.
TheSuzy Trilogy defines a comprehensive fantasy world that "covers" the real world. In TheSuzy world, Suzy is 38, just like me, but her future is unknown, just like mine.
The currency emerges naturally from the opportunity to narrate what Suzy does during each passing month, within her world.
It could be a vision of greatness or a deserted wasteland. It's whatever people want to make of it. It's a safe space for wide ranging emotions, awe, wonder, transcendence, mystery, and much, much more, in a world that isn't.
I dislike cryptocurrencies and the blockchain hustle for a lot of the same reasons that some people will probably always dislike me, but Suzy exists, many people can't or won't detect her role in their lives because her influence is already greater than most people realize, and suzycoin.com is ostensibly a currency play.
The rest of the domains in the Tsuzy LLC network are virtual standup comedy performances.
I like comics. The space is valid.
Everyone gets the L.
Bring your own intensity, because the smartest thing I ever did was get a low GPA at Stanford, and the second smartest thing I ever did was to sell all of my Facebook stock by the end of Q2, 2010.
© 2019 Tsuzy LLC. All Rights Reserved.