You know you’ve made it when someone has it out for you and actually does something about it.

In case Britney Spears wasn’t sure she’s a big deal, her superstar status was immortalized last week when fake audio of her talking about smoking pot and getting beat up by her boyfriend went viral. The person who allegedly leaked the obviously phony recording — one of her ex-husbands — even went to the added trouble of submitting to a polygraph to testify about the veracity of the counterfeit material. That’s dedication (and shows a motivation that, had he only displayed during their 55-hour marriage, maybe they would have celebrated at least a week of wedded bliss) and a real testament to her celebrity.

The glossy weeklies routinely announce the premature demise of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s relationship. Soccer heartthrob David Beckham has a standing lawsuit against tabloids and hookers over accusations he cheats on his wife with the latter. And a contemptible tale recently spread about how the Kardashian sisters apply mayonnaise to their private parts, ostensibly to make them shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. (Oh wait, they told the story themselves on television to Conan O’Brien. Never mind.)

Here I was thinking the only things I had in common with Brit Brit, Angie, Papa Pitt and Becks were our outrageous fortunes and movie star good looks, but as it turns out, I, too, have nemeses trying to ruin me by disbursing ridiculously false personal information.

My very own Ted Kaczynski disciples have spent the past four months e-mailing around a staged photo of me, taken nearly five years ago, chuckling while sitting next to a bottle of wine and a glass in front of someone else’s computer that has an image on the screen of a nude man on a beach. In my house, such behavior (wine, computers, laughter, minus the nudity) is generally known as a typical weeknight, but my little Teddy bears have literally alerted the media (and at least one of my employers) to my salacious activity and posted comments about my make-believe illicit actions on news websites.

I imagine the culprits sitting in the sheds (attics? basements? garages?) of their parents’ back yards late at night at toddler-size chair-and-table sets working tirelessly by flashlight with nothing but a weak wireless signal and lots of rage as they take the time to carefully establish seemingly untraceable anonymous e-mail addresses and send around a rant about me accompanied by the photo, hoping desperately that someone will care that I once drank a glass of red wine while simultaneously giggling (“She’s such a hussy!” they must say, cackling to themselves as they hit the send button. “We’ll show her!”).

My admirers are putting way more thought into my perceived misdeeds than I ever have. And, to be honest, that’s part of the charm of the whole thing. That they have the time to go after me with such a vengeance is impressive. I mean, I barely found time to blow my nose yesterday, never mind exact revenge on an imaginary enemy.

To say the very least though, I’m flattered. That there are people so moved by admiration (hatred? jealousy? unrequited love? bad gas?) of me that they care enough to send the very best out-of-context photo (actually, taken in context, the meaning of the photo remains unchanged, which is, the photo is meaningless) accompanied by a manifesto, the length of which would put Tolstoy (and, considering the grammar and spelling, their high school English teachers) to shame is, indeed, an honor.

Quite frankly, though, I’m surprised no one has tried to ruin me before this. I mean, there’s a lot out there on me. Like, a lot. I’ve just assumed that I’ve proven time and again that I’m perfectly adept at embarrassing myself, and therefore others generally recognize there isn’t an industry in trying to top me. I always win. Until now. Well played, T-dogs. You got me!

Still, I’m grateful to my little band of huntsmen for elevating me to a whole new level of celebrity. I only wish I knew who they were so I could furtively pass them a copy of my sex tape. If there’s a legitimate chance I’m going to suffer some real humiliation, I might as well make a little money off of it.

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