Bewildering Stories

Change the text color to: White | Purple | Dark Red | Red | Green | Cyan | Blue | Navy | Black
Change the background color to: White | Beige | Light Yellow | Light Grey | Aqua | Midnight Blue

JGoldman10 Mystery Theatre

by Steven Utley

[Spooky organ music rises.]

ANNOUNCER [in sepulchral voice]: Do you dare to attend opening night at [music swells; heavy echo on voice] JGoldman10 Mystery Theatre?

[Music trails off to accompaniment of eerie laughter, creaking door, squeaky adolescent male voice babbling inane questions, e.g., ”If Wolverine has wolverine powers, does he spray to mark his territory? Are there any superheroes named after body parts?” etc.]

ANNOUNCER: “They seek him heah, they seek him theah! Those fanboys seek him everywheah! He makes them wonder — ‘Who, how, when?’ — That demmed, infernal JGoldman10!”

[Cue music to commercial break.]

* * *

I must take issue with the general perception of JGoldman10. After carefully considering his numerous posts here on the DC Comics message boards, I conclude that he is not an “idiot” or a “retard” who asks the same stupid questions over and over again, seemingly ignoring any and all answers given in response, and shrugs off the imprecations hurled at him by the less indulgent among us.

JGoldman10 is in fact one of the most brilliant performance artists of our time. His medium is the electronic message board, and he employs the flawlessly crafted persona of a clueless, persistent would-be comic-book creator (“JGoldman10”) to stimulate (“annoy”) other posters and make them respond with humorous and often acerbic commentary (“insults”). The result is art by co-creation — indeed, this gestalt may be regarded as the “true” JGoldman10. Thus, JGoldman10 works in the tradition of Andy Kaufman, and whatever one may think of the performance, one has to admit that it is as consistent — as flawless — as that of Paul Reubens in his PeeWee Herman persona. I think it’s brilliant. I do not believe for an instant that JGoldman10 is a clueless 12-year-old fanboy, only that he plays one on these boards. His threads are the most consistently funny ones on the message boards; where would the raconteurs in our midst be without a Margaret Dumont-ish foil, a straight man to provide them with the traction their humor requires.

But who is JGoldman10? Following is the lowdown on just a few of the more likely of The Usual Suspects. Draw your own conclusions, or simply leap to them, as the rest of us enjoy doing.

  1. BillofMD — obscure poster whose only discernible message board activity consists in bumping old JGoldman10 threads en masse. ”Why is it,” the question was posed, ”that we never hear much out of BillofMD? Yet, whenever a lot of old JGoldman10 threads suddenly pop on page 1 of the message boards, who is the resurrector? None other than the aforesaid BillofMD!”

  2. Gilligan, formerly known as Cardinal5 (current status: banned from the message boards) — a smartass 14-year-old burning to avenge himself for slights received from older posters, one of whom eventually confronted him thus: “You created JGoldman10 as a means of getting back at all those older posters who treated you like the snotnose kid you are ... you wanted respect, and when you couldn’t get it, you wanted revenge ... but you never dreamed it would go as far as it did!” Gilligan vehemently denied the accusation, but in vain, because he’s just a kid and you know how kids lie.

  3. DeForgeo — Gilligan’s frequent partner in juvenile delinquency; a real rotter. See below.

  4. The Leakiest Wink, formerly known as bjc5jc, which latter has proven to be a Junior Justice Society Secret Code pig-Latin acronym for ”I am JGoldman10, all right!”

  5. Iron Sun — note the similarity between “Iron Sun” and “Goldman.” I refer not just to the two elements named, but their seeming reversal. The sun, of course, is yellow — or golden. And Iron Man? Iron, like gold, is a metal, and every man has to be someone’s son. Thus: Iron + son, or, rather, its homonym, sun = Iron Sun, a cleverly disguised form of Goldman. Who but a comic-book fan would attempt such convoluted thinking in the service of such laborious word-play?

  6. Our webmaster, who is possibly conducting behavioral-modification experiments, in which case, JGoldman10 is, metaphorically speaking, just another turn in the maze.

  7. rufusTfirefly — ostensibly, JGoldman10’s chief nemesis on the message boards, but, while insisting that he is not privy to JGoldman10’s true identity, he once claimed to have been JGoldmans 1 through 9.

In a rare frivolous moment (I am generally the soul of sobriety and reasonableness), I, too, claimed to be JGoldman10. Iron Sun quickly responded: “On another board Steven Utley claims to be JGoldman10. (Btw if Steven Utley is an anagram the only first name I’ve been able to come up with for it other than Steve is Yvette, but that’s another story). When a thread is posted claiming the 2 were one in the same ... JGoldman10 does NOT come on stating he isn’t Steven, Steven comes on claiming he isn’t JGoldman10. Answering other posts is one thing JGoldman10 NEVER does, but Steven Utley does do. The Steven Utley post saying he isn’t JGoldman isn’t a one liner as one would expect but a long drawn out post praising JGoldman10 (I heard the Star-Spangled Banner in the background as I read it).

“Since this particular thread appeared, JGoldman10 has not added one new thread. The only evidence offered up so far by Steven Utley that he is NOT JGoldman10 is the claim that ‘Just because I lied before I’m not lying now.’ This defies all logic because of course, you simply could be lying NOW and had told the truth previously. The 2 statements obviously contradict each other, but there is nothing to prove which is the lie.

“Bottom line: the issue of the Steven/JGoldman double identity has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but, Steven ... you sure ain’t proved you ain’t JGoldman and the evidence points more towards it than against it.”

I then pointed out Iron Sun was awfully eager to redirect suspicion in my direction, “but has anyone ever seen Iron Sun and JGoldman10 together at the same time? No.”

But the main thrust of my own speculation as to JGoldman10’s true identity is that he (or she) is most likely to be one of those posters whose nickname includes numbers. The Cardinal5 later known as Gilligan therefore remains a viable suspect. Five is half of ten, of course — a sly reference to the dual identity. A cardinal is subordinate to a pope, who has a lot of gold stuff — religious artifacts and such. It makes as much sense to me as anything else on the DC message boards.

DeForgeo attempted to deflect suspicion from himself by accusing yet another poster, Porky Pine: ”Porky Pine, take out the P, R, K, Y, P, I, and E from your name, and then add N, L, 1, D, 0, G, M, A, and J you have: ONNL1D0GMAJ! Which, of course, is an anagram for ’JGoldman10!’”

When Porky Pine replied, in effect, that his accuser was as full of crap as a Thanksgiving turkey, DeForgeo persisted: “Say what you will ... I still know that there’s more layers, and more identities intwined your twisted plot! Let’s look at your secret identity again, ‘Porky Pine’ — ONNL1D0GMAJ. Now, take out O, N, N, L, 1 and J from it. What are you left with? D0GMA as in ‘Dogma,’ the movie directed by the one and only Kevin Smith, a.k.a. Porky Pine! And if you take the name ‘Kevin Smith,’ and take out the M, I, H and K from it you get: EVNSIT. Which is yet another anagram, for ’Stevin,’ a.k.a. Steven Utley! Come on Porky Pine, alias Kevin Smith, EVNSIT, alias Steven Utley, alias Steven, alias ONNL1D0GMAJ, alias JGoldman10, alias Mrs. JGoldman, alias Jason, alias Rob Kamphausen, alias Joseph Queseda, alias Joe, alias Jim, alias Jack, alias Jackie! Fess up!”

This proved to be too much for Iron Sun, who cracked under the strain: ”I just figured it out ... how could I be so blind ... you’re ALL the same person! There’s only 2 people who actually post to these boards, me and you who are using EVERY OTHER NICKNAME. You’re doing this to manipulate me, but it won’t work ... oh no, I see your game. I won’t tell you where the money is, I WON’T. I gotta go. Some guys in white jackets want to take me somewhere.” And they did, too.

Probably the sanest (well, most nearly sane) course of action was that adopted by a female poster, Bastet, who is not one of the Usual Suspects (which is in itself suspect): “... JGoldman10 has been the most entertaining act the Boards have seen in a long time. Stuff that made me laugh out loud, and at times, in danger of spewing drinking beverage out of nose. I’ve tried to find some dirt on the guy — foul language, flaming put-downs, just plain being an @$$. Nothing, even when viciously attacked. I don’t get it — just ignore the posts you don’t find interesting, and move on. Just like always, business as usual. Sheer attrition from lack of response usually takes care of the rest.

“Now if we talk about people’s treatment of him — talk about your equal and opposite actions/reactions — WHEW! And THAT is where the entertainment begins; it’s a bit like visiting the Zoo and observing the various displays.

“I can hear the tour guide already, ‘And in the next display, we have The Rabid, Needs To Get A Life Fanboy, Annoying Would Forget My Head If It Wasn’t Attached Twit Fanboy, Attention Starved I’m Such A Nobody in Real Life Fanboy...’ The list of Fanboy sub-species drones on endlessly.

“The parade of the Human Spectacle is the real entertainment here. The only thing missing?

“To truly achieve megawatt superstar status, JGoldman10 requires one more thing — a legion of groupies to follow breathlessly in his wake. I hereby declare myself the first JGoldman10 groupie. The only problem is that I would need super powers to keep up with his movements; I am but a mere mortal. So, I will have to settle for being one of the entertained observers.”

* * *

[Creepy organ music rises.]

ANNOUNCER: And so the mystery lingers ... who is JGoldman10? Tune in next time, when we delve deeper into dark secrets ... heh heh. Bwah hah. BWAH HAH HAAAH HEH HAAAAH HEH HAH ....

[Laughter fades into background, squeaky male adolescent voice rises, babbling as before, e.g., ”Is asking stupid questions a mutant ability? If metahumans have mutant abilities, are they still metahumans?” etc. Music continues to rise, mercifully drowning out the questions, then fades out.]

Copyright © 2004 by Steven Utley

Home Page