Congratulations, Luke Ford. You’ve matriculated from the cover of The Jewish Journal to the Style pages of The New York Times. Luke appears there tomorrow courtesy of my former colleague Amy Klein, who spent several years as the object of his affection.
Amy’s column is called “My Very Own Cyberstalker,” and it’s really, really good. Luke definitely knows how to create interesting copy. A healthy portion, including Luke’s disappointment at being interviewed by me and not Amy, after the jump:
Time and again I heard friends say with alarm: “Hey, Amy! Did you know there’s this guy on the Internet who writes all these things about you?”
“Yes, I know, he’s my cyberstalker,” I would say with resignation.
Although in truth it was oddly flattering to have someone obsessed with me, even someone like Luke Ford. We humans are egotistical creatures: We look through other people’s wedding albums searching for pictures of ourselves, so of course we can’t help but feel flattered by someone who follows our every movement, and even writes poetry about us. Under the title, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Amy Klein,” Ford wrote (quoting the Four Seasons):
Oh, I used to love to make you cry.
It made me feel like a man inside.
If I had been a man in reality,
You’d be here baby, loving me,
Now my nights are long and lonely.
And I ain’t too proud, babe.
My friends, suitors and editors were worried, but at this point he had been writing about me for years and never approached my residence or called or even sent me an e-mail message. “Don’t worry,” I told them using my favorite “Hitchhiker’s Guide” reference. “He’s mostly harmless.”
Except that professionally he was causing me problems. He was always hounding our newspaper to cover scandals in the Jewish community. As a blogger he had “relaxed” standards as to sources, so people with axes to grind came to him and — voilà! — he would give them a forum, and then I had to write a news story about it.
“Why don’t we write a story about Luke Ford?” my editor in chief suggested.
But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. I didn’t want to meet with him. And I especially didn’t want to give him the opportunity to engage in a meta-interview (my reporting, then his blogging about my reporting).
So the Luke Ford article was shelved until another writer came along and wrote it, a development that displeased Ford.
“I always thought this article would come at the hands of Amy Klein,” he wrote. “I pictured us over lunch and how I would whip out my tape recorder when she started the on-the-record part of our conversation and all the brilliant justifications I’d give her for my abominable behavior. ... But then my time came at the hand of 25-year-old Brad Greenberg. Brad’s a good reporter, but he’s no Amy Klein. ... The whole thing didn’t run anything like my fantasies.”
Brad was one of the young new additions to the newspaper. Another was Danielle Berrin, a tall, blond Floridian with a passion for this business that reminded me of ... me, circa 1995. The minute I laid eyes on her, I knew she would one day replace me.
And my cyberstalker confirmed it. Under the headline, “The Jewish Journal Adds Sex Appeal,” he wrote, “I’ve had my share of fantasies about religion writer Amy Klein (who hasn’t?). ... But the times are a changing. The Jewish Journal now boasts Calendar Girls — a pair of hotties (Dikla Kadosh and Danielle Berrin).”
When you are young and pretty, nothing outrages you more than unwanted, persistent attention. You want to be taken seriously. But as you get older, and people start to ignore your looks and actually do begin to take you seriously as a professional, you feel like yesterday’s news.
Missing from above was my favorite line from Luke. After he mentioned that “the whole thing didn’t run anything like my fantasies,” Luke showed his sense of humor with: “We didn’t even hook up afterwards because that would’ve been against the Torah.” I was flattered.
The real kicker in Amy and Luke’s saga was that he was just about the last person to learn of Amy’s departure from The Journal, and that left Amy feeling liked she’d been dumped by her cyberstalker.
And then, finally: “Amy Klein, Why Didn’t You Tell Me?”
On he went:
“She left two weeks ago. Normally I have a satellite circling Amy from about 100 miles overhead, but I’ve been distracted of late. ... Amy e-mailed everybody in her life, about 100 or so persons, but that list did not include your humble correspondent, oh my brothers.”
He cataloged my departure, my new projects, and the e-mail announcement I had sent. He wondered about my future career, why I hadn’t told him, and what would happen to me.
“I miss you, baby!” he wrote.
Well, Luke, you might never guess it, but I’ll miss you, too.