If you're not familiar with me, then I already know what you're thinking: "What kind of name is PittGirl?!"
Well, I'll tell you. It's a dumb name. About three years ago, I read something completely outrageous about local politics in the newspaper and I was just… Grrr! I don't recall the story, but I distinctly remember thinking, "I've got something to say about this!"
I registered for a free blog account, and there was a little box asking me for my name. I didn't know what to type. Certainly not my real name. Because I had a job (and still have), a real-life job that would be at risk if I publicly said something negative about our elected officials or even about Ben Roethlisberger (or as I call him, The Duke of Fug and the Earl of Gross), I had to use an alias. I typed in the first thing that came to mind. I'm a girl from Pittsburgh – PittGirl it was!
Had I known at the time that I would eventually be read by 'Burghers (as I call us) far and wide, amassing 2 million hits, well, I'd have picked something a little less, shall we say, stupid. But the name stuck. I became PittGirl.
I finally had a home for my writing. I had my own place for my words, my thoughts and my rants. I had a place to spread my gospel – that pigeons are born in hell and deserve to die.
I took Lukey, that's the mayor, to task and not delicately. My snark gun had no silencer, and I aimed it at people that I sometimes deal with through my job. Smart? Nope. Fun? Oh, heck, yes.
I took Joseph-Beth Booksellers' side when poet Jan Beatty accused them of censorship. I cursed my way through every losing season of the Pirates.
If you never read me though, you must understand that there was positive in there with the negative. Sure, I branded some people with the title of "Annoying 'Burgher," but I also branded others with "Awesome 'Burgher" status. I gushed over Pittsburgh and everything that makes it wonderful. I took a gut punch each time I wrote about sick kids and did my best to raise funds for them. I celebrated the good and mourned the sad all the while wagging a snarky finger at the bad.
Then one day last November, I received an e-mail from a local news anchor informing me that another anchor had learned my identity and bits of information were leaking. I read the e-mail eight times, and then my head exploded.
That evening I wrote a goodbye post and, you know, I cried. It was so stupid, but it was as if my home had burned down. I didn't have a place to write anymore, and I didn't foresee the Red Cross coming by to wrap a blanket around my shoulders and hand me a cup of coffee and a new home.
"PittGirl quits!" shouted the front page of the Post-Gazette. How crazy is that? They obituaried me on A-1! I didn't die, though. I hid in my cave, and I Twittered. I took to Facebook to rant, and I guest-blogged on others' sites. I was desperate for a place to pour out the words that were stuck fighting in my head. The OMGs tussling with the LOLs can get pretty painful – mostly because the OMGs fight dirty.
I have a new home now at Pittsburgh magazine, and it feels perfect. It's comfortable, and most important, I haven't seen a single pigeon yet.
I should go away, but I've learned something since November. I want to write. It's so simple. I'm taking a risk that my identity will be revealed, and I've prepared myself for that day my mask is ripped away. I have the unemployment papers filled out and everything.
Do you suppose there's a job called "Ruthless Pigeon Killer" anywhere in the world? OMG. I hope they give me a badge. LOL.
Dear smokers who throw their cigarette butts onto the sidewalks of downtown: Would you have a problem if I rolled up my Target receipts, burned them down a bit and then flung them at your feet? Don't worry. I'll smush them really well with my shoes once they hit the ground. What do you mean that's littering?
I recently made my first-ever Apple purchase – a 16gb iPod Touch. Readers of my former blog know that I name all of my doohickeys, and this doohickey is Omaro Cazares Amaya. He is exactly as awesome as he sounds. Something else that is awesome when you have a Touch: Pittsburgh's free Wi-Fi. I love my city.
Nothing makes me want to walk up to total strangers and shake my finger in their face while huffing out some words laced with righteous indignation like when I see them throw cigarette butts on downtown's sidewalks. Use the trashcans. They're easy to find; they cost $1,000 and they have Mayor Lukey's name on them.
It's not the hip thing to do in light of sixty bajillion years of losing (I'm estimating), but this year I'm cheering for the Pirates (or as I call them The Buccos of Suckitude) with what can only be described as ridiculously annoying optimism. This is the year. The losing ends. The ship stops sinking. Please?