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<the cheat>

Don't tell my wife but I've been seeing some girlfriends on the side.

In May 1995, after a 15 year uncommitted flirtation with Print, Radio, and TV, I gave my heart to the Web for richer for poorer, for better or worse.

But lately I've started seeing Print again.

Just this morning my book arrived. She was gorgeous. She felt solid in my hands. I could not stop looking at her, holding her, and slowly turning her slender pages.

Two issues of Creativity Magazine showed up with the book. I had columns in both issues. I've been writing for Creativity for months but had never seen my work until today. The magazines were cheap but exciting. And after all, there were two of them. Every man's fantasy.

The book didn't seem to mind. The book knew the difference between a long-term relationship and a fling with a couple of periodicals.

Somehow it turned into a party. I got lost in my book, lost in my magazines. It was an orgy of high-resolution typography, high gloss, and full bleed images. There was even an index. And a flap, for God's sake.

Then I heard a familiar cough from the next room. It was the Web. She'd come home early. I hid the books behind a couch.

I entered the room casually. I tried connecting but failed. I thought the problem might be physical. A loose cable somewhere. Or a downed T3. I ran a traceroute. Nothing. There was nothing physically wrong.

Then the Web spoke.

"If you want to work, why not work on your book or your little magazines?" she said.

"My book?" I tried not to sound as guilty as I felt. "My book is all about you. All about the Web. We just talk about you, that's all."

"I can smell ink on you," she said.

"It's not like that," I said. "I love you."

"Tell it to your little paper bitches," the Web replied.

I tried the old familiar things. The bookmarks we both love. No response. Then I tried something new, something we'd never done before.

"Where'd you pick that up?" she said. "One of your little magazines?"

And then she froze.

She's been torturing me all my morning. I bring her clean code and she throws Netscape 4 in my face. I solve that problem and she's unhappy about IE for Windows. She is running me ragged. I can do nothing to please her.

I'm trying not to look at the book. I'm trying not to even think about the book. I'm trying to be faithful and true. But maybe writers just aren't built that way.

18 May 2001
The author and his opinions.
Copyright © 1995–2002 Jeffrey Zeldman Presents
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