Thursday, March 22, 2007

Will the real Jennifer Merritt please stand up?

After catching sight of this article, a friend e-mailed today congratulating me on my burgeoning freelance career. “Thanks!” I replied. Only that Jennifer Merritt isn’t this Jennifer Merritt. Someone else first laid claim to Jennifer Merritt The Writer and fortunately for me, she’s much more successful.

JM 1.0, as she will now be known, used to be managing editor of Business Week. She’s written a few books about business schools and is considered an expert in education, contributing to magazines like Selections and Money on the topic. In fact, I belive she is now on the masthead at Money. (Touché, I say.)

Besides uncannily sharing the same name and occupation, JM 1.0 and I also share a beat: education. (I used to work for CollegeBound Teen Magazine and now freelance for the education components of MSN and AOL, where if you dig through Google deep enough, you’ll find that these articles aren’t always so highly regarded. Again, touché.)

After contacting PR people in reference to these articles, I occasionally get such responses as, “I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to! Little Johnny is five now and…” which is about where I trail off, figuring they’ve mistaken me for JM 1.0 and have hence unwittingly told a total stranger about Little Johnny’s bed-wetting problems.

On even more rare occasions, I’ll score an invite to some swank party for education professionals or be asked to provide insight for an forum on say, surviving business school. Usually I provide a light-hearted reply explaining the mix up, hoping to win over some of JM 1.0’s friends or maybe even an introduction to my predecessor. Turns out, all of JM 1.0’s friends quite rudely never reply.

But honestly, it’s not so bad playing second fiddle to JM 1.0. After all, if an out-of-touch past love or high school friend/nemesis is desperate enough to Google me, they’ll only think I’m some successful writer and editor with a corner office at Time Inc and shelves full of books with my name on them. And I have absolutely no problem with that—or shame, for that matter.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

La dolce vita

As a certain someone likes to remind me, life is pretty damn good right now. I have my own apartment, happy and healthy family and friends, a fabulous boyfriend and a job that lets me travel the world on someone else's dime. Plus, a recent trip to the doctor unveiled a sizable weight loss just in time for my vacation to Cabo. Yippie.

However—you knew that was coming, didn't you?—despite all my recent good fortune, my mind and my body have never been more of a mess. (Hence the doctor's visit.) I've lost weight only because I've also managed to lose my appetite, which happens to me when I'm heavily worried about something. What's the trouble? Having nothing to worry about, apparently.

So thank you to everyone who currently makes life so great.

In essence, you all make me sick.

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