26 Feb 2014


I love rock. You know where you are with rock. What you see at one end of the bar continues right the way through, no matter where you break it or bite it. There's a consistency and knowledge of what to expect.

Some people are consistent like rock. They are genuine. Their words and their actions match. Their words and their words match too as the content of their speech is not dependant on the presence or absence of anyone. But we all modify our behaviour on occasion. It would be odd if we didn't- job interviews have a different set of rules than conversations with your grandparents. A night out with friends means a whole different set of social norms than a parents' evening or paying the milkman. Everyone knows this and we somehow adapt to fit in. We understand the rules and are grateful that they help society function. But at what point does over-thinking and moderating our behaviour become deceptive?

I can only presume that Danny, a character met by Dave Gorman at the end of his 91,000m Googlewhack adventure crossed that line (wherever it is) a long time ago. Compromising in a million different ways over time and cyberspace, Danny eventually finds himself with 2 completely separate identities, each tied to an aspect of his sexuality and both completely independent of each other:

Every year I go to the (Mardi Gras) parade with my girlfriend and every year I think: This is it. This is the day that my 2 worlds collide. This is the day my world ends. I see gay friends of mine in the parade and in the crowd and I see straight friends of mine in the crowd and I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who to be. I don’t know how to wear my hair, my collar, my jeans, how to behave. Which me do I be?

OK that's an extreme example, but Danny started somewhere. And employees of MI5 and everyone on the Witness Protection Programme aside, there are a whole host of small and subtle ways to compromise who we really are:

• Hiding texts from a partner
• Taking sides in office politics
• Tweeting/posting stuff to carefully reinforce an edited version of ourselves
• Downplaying or adopting a belief depending on company

The list could go on and on. I don't presume to know where the line is in every situation or necessarily think it's in exactly the same spot for each person - I just know it's not normal to bite into rock and find cola bottles.
Or porridge.
Or cabbage.
Edible, but unexpected.
(And may cause retching)