Ever since the ancient Romans pondered aqueducts, ever since the Phoenicians designed service charges and created those first backstage passes out of papyrus, man has attempted to come to grips with this eternal struggle. Is Quiet Riot on November 29 in Peoria the reality or merely the perception? And if it’s perception, than what does that say about Peoria?

We’re no strangers to this dilemma. For over 175 years we’ve had to deal with the public’s perception of Pollstar.com versus the reality of the concert data industry. The perceived image of us slaving away in tiny impersonal cubicles and entering dates for Sponge or Maxwell may sound like an accurate description. However, that’s only perception, and leaves out the reality of those 10:00 a.m. French pastry breaks, the 2:00 p.m. massages, and those 4:00 p.m. conjugal visits. Is it any wonder that by day’s end it’s difficult to distinguish between reality and perception?

Of course, much more has been written on the subject than we’ve managed to ignore. One can only embrace perception for so long before reality rears its ugly head and delivers a right cross to the jaw. For when one spends each day immersed in the hypothetical wanderings of Luther Vandross and Frenzal Rhomb, reality and perception often mesh into one indescribable tick of the celestial clock, a micro-moment when the laws of nature appear violated and tour managers seem to coexist with promoters and venue operators.

So we spend our days entering dates for Neil Diamond and Rodney Carrington while our nights are filled with our efforts to divine the answers to these mysteries. We seek out the great thinkers of our times; the Oliver Stones, the Rush Limbaughs and the Ozzy Osbournes of this golden age of free information and even freer Andre Williams itineraries. Not only will we find the answers, but more importantly, we’ll match them up with the right questions. Or at least combine them with guesswork and innuendo.

Now, if you will excuse us, we’re late for a meeting with one of those intellectual giants right now. We’re joining Aaron Sorkin, creator of TV’s The West Wing, for a steak and mushroom dinner. We’re bringing the T-bones; Mr. Sorkin is supplying the mushrooms. And he promises us, that after tonight, we’ll understand the difference between reality and perception. In fact, he says we will be zooming towards the answers before the night is over.

Or did he say “shroomin’?” Sometimes those cell phone connections leave much to be desired.