So, my little mini-epic story about my old Wal-Mart employment days has been making the internet rounds again. It's got somewhere around 1900 "diggs" at Digg.com and spent most of yesterday as the #1 story at Reddit.com. I asked Drew Curtis if he felt like linking it on Fark and making the yearly cycle complete, he just laughed and then asked me to never, ever show up at his house again.

It never, ever fails to baffle me how that story has kinda permeated outward. I know it's not a super huge internet legendary story or anything, but still... It's been read by about 2 million people so far. I mean... WOW. Two million people have willfully read something I wrote, and it didn't even offer them porn, a larger penis or a pill to increase your cum volume + 1000% (which, honestly, I do not understand why that pill could ever be sold. Why would anyone... Well, whatever. I don't actually want the answer to that question).

I never, ever thought - not even once - that that story would be read by even 100 people in my lifetime. And as for becoming a full-time writer and author and all that? HAH! HAH, I SAY! Even after I published my first book, I had no idea I'd be quitting my full time job to actually keep doing this. It's a great thing, to be sure. And my mind stays blown every single day that I'm getting to do this. It's TOUGH, mind you - writers do NOT make much money, and GameStop won't take books as credit... But it's fantastic. And I appreciate it. But moreso, I appreciate you, the person who reads what I write - without you and your interest and partisianship and support, I wouldn't get to do this. So thank you.

As for the skeptics in the comments of the stories at digg and reddit (and a bunch of other places), I'll answer your #1 emailed, IM'ed and posted question here:

The reason I don't go full-bore into the communities there defending myself is... Well, whats the point of it? I mean, honestly... The story's been around for 4+ years on the net. I've fought those battles, mostly publicly, over and over again. One day, I decided "You know what? I don't think I even care if anyone believes the stories I write or not. I don't need to be believed - this isn't some sort of contest of who's had the coolest / weirdest / most insane life. It's just me, writing my memoirs (or whatever you want to call them), having some fun and hopefully entertaining people."

That's why I don't go defending myself. I state everything I need or want to state within the full text of the story. If it doesn't pass your "sniff test," just ask yourself... Do you really, honestly need to believe it to enjoy it? And after you ask yourself that, ask yourself "Why do I care?" I'm willing to bet the answer to THAT question - if you're willing to actually track it down and get it - will do more to help you actually better your life and give you more fulfillment than anything I could possibly write here.

And of course, there's always the point I've made every single time this ever comes up (and heaven help me, I really, really, really resent that I have to even say this - if you're old enough to read the text on the screen before you - this text right here - you should be old enough to understand this concept innately, WITHOUT my having to spell it out for you):

Of COURSE my stories are not 100% true. Jesus... What do you think this is, the Wall Street Journal?

But yes, they're true stories. They're events that have happened in my life - real, no kidding events that I and my friends (who are sometimes renamed) have lived through. Yes, I did put porn on the TVs at Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving in 1996. Yes, I did hijack the speaker system there, that day. Yes, I have had my dinner stolen from me by PeTA activists. Yes, I have actually killed a blind man's dog. Yes, I've been hit by a car, puked before my first ever fist-fight in junior high, had a psycho girl fake a suicide attempt over me, almost died 4 times (actually been dead twice), had nipple rings pulled out of my chest, and so on and so forth.

Yes, I actually did find someone who'd marry me despite all of these things I've done.

But here's the thing - If I actually wrote the events of my life EXACTLY as they happened - word for word, second by second, moment by moment... The resulting stories would bore the absolute shit out of you.

Yes, the absolute shit. The core, essential shit within your person would be bored straight out of you through some orifice, somewhere on your body.

I cannot remember every single syllable someone says and every single pause someone takes during the course of conversation when I interact with them. But I CAN remember the conversations as a whole... I can remember the notable lines, the essence, the course and the result. And when I write them, I stay as true to the words as I possibly can. If you ever brought one of my stories to someone who was involved and asked them "Did you say this?" They'd more than likely just look it over and say "Yeah... why?" Some might say "Well, not exactly like this... But yeah, the point is the same."

And no, I don't write events in a second-by-second, action-by-action account - I'm not a reporter (well, not in this vein I'm not... When I do report for magazines or whatever, I do that very thing. Just, not in my humor / emotional / narcissistic / boring / self-satisfying and self-depreciating writing). But I tell the event as best I can, as true as I can, while still making it exciting, emotional, thrilling, funny... Whatever it takes to make the damn thing worth reading.

So no, pedantic children of the internets, my stories aren't 100% true. But, they're true in all the ways that matter. Sure, the fish gets bigger when I tell the stories... But there was a fish. It was caught, I was in a boat on the water when it happened. And even then, I never go so far as to make marlin out of a minnow.

Besides, I've gone about the process of proving my stories true in the past... And all that ever comes of it - and this never changes, by the way - is that those who were once of the opinion "I think you're a liar" just switch to "Now I think you're an asshole" and continue on merrily. It's a losing game, and it's not one I care to play anymore. You will NEVER, EVER please a troll. Not ever. If someone wants to hate you, they'll hate you no matter what you do.

So relax. Read a little and laugh. Or don't. Free country and all of that.

After all, It's just words.