Yes, Virginia, Duchess Goldblatt is real: Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous

Do you have real imaginary friends?

For all the crap social media takes on a daily basis, much of it justified, I’ve been thinking about how in a lot of ways, it’s been a lifeline these last few years. A place where like minds can come together and support one another in good times and in bad. When the Cubs won it all in 2016, I didn’t dare go downtown to celebrate. It was late and I am old. But I could hop online and cheer like a crazy person, knowing friends would reciprocate.

When Satan was elected president several days after that joyous Cubs victory, it was, short of deaths in the family, one of the few times I can recall such an extreme swing in my personal disposition. What was just days earlier one of the happiest experiences in my life transitioned to one of the most sorrowful. And there it was, again. Twitter and Facebook and the like, with people just like me wondering what to do, where to go, and how exactly to make a Hemlock martini.

So, say what you want, but my online community of friends — most being people I’ve known in real life at some point but many of which I haven’t seen in years — has been a lifesaver. And now? With the pandemic? It’s practically the only place you can hang out without a mask. And people continue to be welcoming. Shoot, just the other day I posted pictures of my first attempt at bagel making, and a former colleague reached out with an invite to a closed group where people take joy in posting pictures of their homemade meals. Yay! More food ideas for me.

All of this is just a very long-winded way of saying that the online persona, that of her grace, Duchess Goldblatt, shouldn’t be snickered at. Rather, it should be celebrated. One person, looking for her lost voice, her lost life, her lost light, not only resurrecting herself, but endearing, entertaining and genuinely engaging with thousands of people online. I’ve been following DG for some time, because her humor resonates with me. She’s also prone to Twitter commentary that is uplifting in spite of itself, which is something these days.

A memoir of the anonymous real-life person behind the social media maven, “Becoming Duchess Goldblatt,” was, simply, a gem to read in these last days leading up to Election Day. It is a quick read, deeply engaging from the first chapter, moving and hilarious all at once. I can’t say I’ve been in all the places she’s been, but I’m no stranger to a few of them, and it makes her so very relatable.

It’s also relatable because of this: Everyone suffers at some point. Everyone has to occasionally find their way out of that grease-stained paper takeout bag that’s life. (I like to think of mine as a red-and-white bag from Portillo’s, but your mileage may vary.) It’s when the real-life Duchess opens up to accepting that the good in DG is something she should allow herself to think of AS herself that resonates. I know I can be my harshest critic. The demons always sing louder than the angels. But if DG can believe in DG, it’s a reminder to us all that we can persevere.

Lots and lots and lots of social media is plain awful. But not all of it. Your tribe is what you make it. Duchess Goldblatt? She’s a good egg. It can be a slog, I’m sure, but I hope she keeps it up — her dispatches from Crooked Path are a bright light, especially right now.

If you are in need of something to keep your eyeballs of the prognosticators right now, I highly recommend this read. Blessings, Duchess.

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