Saturday, November 3, 2012

Dealing with my inner Jenna Maroney (Or: Do I have to be hospitalized again to get my readership numbers back up?)

Yes, Jenna Maroney is part of my psyche. Not that I'm proud of it.

One of things I'll miss most about 30 Rock when it goes off the air after this final half -season is the opportunity to watch Jane Krakowski portray Jenna Maroney, the staggeringly mercurial actress/singer/comedienne whose life is a constant, desperate quest for fame, money, and (above all) attention. These tendencies lead Jenna to make all kinds of terrible decisions, and the unfortunate people in her life have to adjust their own lives to accommodate her. In a weird way, though, I can identify with this woman's problems. You see, readers, I sort of am Jenna Maroney.

Not the complete picture.
Yes, yes, I'm also a scared little turtle hiding in his cozy turtle shell. Let's say that's 70% of me. The other 30% craves the spotlight and demands attention and praise. The 70% and the 30% do not get along well, let me tell you. You may have gotten the impression from this blog that I am this meek, passive guy who's been trampled on by the rhinoceros of life. To an extent, that's true. But there's also an egotistical, spotlight-hogging side of me, too. As relatives and coworkers can tell you, I can be a real terror. I have a swift temper (or at least I did have one before the meds), and I've had to fight the frequent urge to lash out verbally at people or make withering critical comments to them, especially when they don't acknowledge my supposed "genius." Meanwhile, one part of me wants to hide away from the world, but the other part can't tolerate being anonymous and ignored. That's a regular issue for me at work. We're a busy, often hectic, deadline-centric place, and people don't always have time to give me the attention I want. I hope I'm learning to deal with that a little better day by day.

The "Wayne Kotke" persona has been a great way for me to be both an ostrich and a peacock at the same time. He exists in podcast and blog form only (under a fake name, no less), but he still allows me the opportunity to show off what a creative and talented guy I think I am. I sometimes wonder if this whole "depression/anxiety" thing has been a sick, elaborate scheme to get attention. Last Tuesday, the first hospital I visited parked me in an observation room wearing only a paper-thin gown for many hours, and I had lots of time to think about my situation. "Am I faking this whole thing?" I wondered. I mean, I've known about the anxiety-filled nights, the terrible waves of fear and sadness which have taken possession of my body, and the relatively empty life of underachieving and isolation. But still, the whole "faking it for attention" theory had some credibility.

Let me confess that I am fixated on the readership numbers for this very blog. If you've explored the front page at all, you've seen that little counter which lists the number of total pageviews. That's a quick way for me to see how D2R is doing, but I also spend an unhealthy amount of time obsessively going over the stats for individual days and individual articles, even though nobody but me even remotely cares about them. One weird side effect of my decision to blog about my depression and recovery is that it temporarily drove traffic to this blog. But over the past few days, I've seen the numbers drop back down to their usual level and I've seriously asked myself, "Do I have to be effing hospitalized again to get people to pay attention?"

Jenna Maroney just might do such a thing.

P.S. - Here's a song John Lennon wrote for Ringo Starr about 40 years ago. I think it says a lot.


  1. I've only recently come to realize how brilliant Jenna Maroney/Jane Krakowski is.

    But I like to think I've known your brilliance for a while.

  2. Thanks, Emily. In the very early days of 30 Rock, I didn't think Jenna fit into the show. I knew Jane Krakowski was a last-minute substitute for the ousted Rachel Dratch (who went on to play lots of little supporting roles on the show), so I was suspicious of her. But over the years, I've come to cherish that character, and it's only recently that I've understood why.