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OPINION: The Perils of Lurking

October 13, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments
By Otis Nixon

By Otis Nixon


I am Otis Nixon. I am a lurker.

You have to admit it to yourself before you can get help. For decades, I didn’t admit it. I just went about my business as a regional salesman for the Grebov Brothers Telescope company, part-time tennis nets coach and devoted family man. But I had a dark secret.

At about eight o’clock in the evening, without fail, I would announce that I had some errand to run. It might be filling up the tires with “fresh air”, picking up some lettuce for salads, taking the trash to the dump. “Why don’t you just put it out by the curb?” my wife would ask. “Trash day is tomorrow.” “Nope!” I would say, happily. “I don’t want to inconvenience the municipal authorities!” And I would toss the breaking bags of refuse into the hatchback trunk of my Neptune.

But I wasn’t going to the air pump, the lettuce galleria or the dump.

I was going to lurk.

I lurked everywhere– in strange neighborhoods, in alleyways, in back of grim apartments above closed paint stores. I lurked in the woods. I lurked in tunnels. There was probably not a single place in all of Lankville that I did not lurk in.

The papers would run articles. CITIZENS REPORT LURKER, NEIGHBORHOOD FLUMMOXED BY LURKER, LURKER DISRUPTS CARNIVAL. And I read them all greedily. I saved them, I scrapbooked them. I hid the scrapbook in the hatchback trunk of my Neptune– later I was even brazen enough to keep it at work, in my desk drawer. Often, I left the desk drawer open for all to see (Grebov Brothers has an open floor plan). I was sick. Still, I lurked.

And who sang the dies irae for Otis Nixon the lurker? It was a rotund man in a pantsuit. I was lurking in his bushes, watching his wife through the picture window. She wasn’t doing anything, understand, just watching TV. Just sitting there on her orange sofa, mindlessly watching TV and loading tennis balls into cans. I lurked– I watched the cans accumulate on the coffee table. I admit to arousal. And then her husband brained me from behind and I don’t remember anything for awhile.

I woke up in the Southwest Regional Minor Hospital. I recognized Detective Gee-Temple right away. I had been running from him for years.

“Are you the lurker Otis?” he asked.

For awhile I couldn’t answer. He let it pass and then he asked again and this time I said the four words. “I am a lurker.”

“We’ll get you some help,” the detective responded. “There’s a group that meets in a gym.”

I’ve been meeting with that group in that gym for two years now. I could have lost everything but I didn’t. I kept my job, my family and my Neptune. I kept many of my nice suits. But I didn’t keep my scrapbook. I traded it for a return of my soul.

Though I consider myself reformed, I must still remember. I am a lurker. And I will always be.

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