Cassio: “Reputation, reputation, reputation! Oh, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” Othello 2.3
When I was growing up, my mother often warned little ol’ red-headed I-and-I that a good reputation is an invaluable commodity and once lost virtually impossible to reestablish.
How discouraging then, to discover via an unsolicited email from MyLife that my reputation is three points lower on average than my neighbors’, and, of course, I can’t help but wonder what misdeed or combination of misdeeds have contributed to the sullying of my character in relation to, say, the fellow who lives on the corner, a year-round resident whose hurricane shutters have been securely latched for at least the last five years and who makes Howard Hughes seem gregarious in comparison..
I mean, if I lived in the exclusive planned communities of Kiawah, Wild Dunes, I’on, or Daniel Island, it wouldn’t surprise me if my reputation lagged behind those of the fine families who have chosen to sequester themselves from the mere middling and who sleep secure knowing that architectural guidelines prevent the couple across the street from painting their house in any contraband pigment that might upset the soothing balance of sameness that surrounds them.
But I live on Folly Beach, the so-called Edge of America, the notorious setting for the 4th of July riots of 2012 and the disastrous Follygras debacle of 2019. Fatal drug overdoses among residents, though not common, are not unheard of. Look, I can count the number of manicured lawns on one hand whereas the number of yards strewn with broken down lawnmowers and the rusted remnants of bicycles would require an abacus to calculate. To be deemed less reputable than the average Folly resident raises questions.
For example, how significant is three percentage points in reckoning of my reputation? How does my driving my MG Midget down steps leading to the University of South Carolina’s Campus Police headquarters in 1978 figure into the algorithm? Are there statutes of limitations on youthful indiscretions, like the time or two I was escorted from drinking establishments ? Do my occasionally outré fashion choices affect negatively my score as the tabulators of character scan the internet for images of me, and does the fact that most of those images feature me holding an alcoholic beverage and grinning a shit eating grin negatively affect my score?
Who knows? The good news is that I boast a stellar credit score, am not looking for employment, and my sweet mother is none the wiser resting in peace in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
 I suspect that perpetually shut hurricane shutters would be frowned upon.