Editors' note, Wednesday 6:52 a.m. PDT:TheChive.com has fessed up: It's a hoax. "We couldn't have pulled this one off without the help of this adorable young woman," an actress named Elyse Porterfield, the Chive-sters said in a short, photo-filled blog post.
Heroism is in even shorter supply than employment these days.
So how can one not be transported to a better place by the story of the personal assistant who seems to have had enough of her boss and decided to reveal his true being? Which, as Mark Zuckerberg has taught us, is the being you are when you are online.
According to TheChive, this lady (who remains unnamed, but not untamed) quit her job in a novel, modern manner, one befitting her boss' draconian strictures.
Apparently, her boss monitored the online activity of his staff and was generally not much of a charmer. So his departing assistant got a dry board, on which she pithily expressed her feelings, had the various messages (33 of them) photographed, and then e-mailed them to all the staff.
The messages began with a simple "I QUIT." She then explained that she will miss everyone, save her boss, who is named Spencer. Working for him, she declared, has been "a special hell."
Spencer is, allegedly, angry and smelly. But those do not appear to be the worst of his traits. For his assistant happened to overhear him describe her to someone on the phone as a "hot piece of ass."
This clearly and understandably disturbed her. Equally clearly, if this story is true (and I have no real reason to believe that it isn't), Spencer must work in something to do with money, because that's how the majority of those kinds of men talk. Especially the smelly ones.
His assistant (who may, according to TheChive, be called Jenny) therefore decided to hit Spencer where it will have, no doubt, discomforted him greatly. She chided him for installing "an office snitch" that monitored everyone's online activity.
So, because he had given her the codes, she decided to reveal to the staff just what Spencer does online. This begins, innocuously enough, with 4 hours a week on Scottrade. And then, even more innocuously, 5.3 hours a week on TechCrunch.
However, Spencer allegedly has a habit. A very, very troubling habit that is shared by far too many who have not even sold their souls, but given them away for virtual currency. Spencer allegedly spends 19.7 hours a week. Yes, her boss who called her a hot piece of ass spends almost one whole waking day every week tending to an ass--or asses--of his own.
I repeat that this story may not turn out to be true. It might be a birthday ruse, a japing prank, a publicity stunt, or the work of a very fine team of underemployed comedians. But how can one not see the alleged Jenny as something of a modern heroine?
Moreover, the tale does cheerily underline another troubling aspect of modern life--the notion that so much of ourselves now resides just behind a password or just inside someone's server.
Who might like to join me in a bet that, should the details of former HP Chairman and CEO Mark Hurd's alleged nondalliance with a nonextorter all come to light, it will be e-mails that caused most of the kerfuffle?
Update, 2:54 p.m. PDT: According to All Things Digital, it seems likely that this is, no, really, a made-up story. Evidence for this is a previous amusement on behalf of The Chive about a $10,000 tip (that wasn't) left by Donald Trump.
Although Jay Leno and Good Morning America would like Possibly Jenny to grace their shows, according to AllThingsD's Peter Kafka, the Resig brothers, the chaps behind TheChive, reportedly claim that they will reveal her true identity at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.