I have engaged in many conversations about the nuances, implications, responsibilities, entertainment, novelty, marketability and work of blogging. There are some days you just have to ask the person attempting to engage you in a battle of wits: What keeps your skull from caving in?
Begin at the beginning.
You have all heard the tribulations of my inbox, but I have not often exposed you to the people I encounter IRL (in real life). Some of this is because where I live is truly four miles past the point where all hope is lost. Some of it is because I have days when I wonder if there is intelligent life left on this planet.
The following is the latter. In a social setting (which did not involve a laptop or my BlackBerry…hey, no snickering back there), someone asked me what I do. I despise this question on principle, as it assigns worth to people based on their capacity to earn money. I answered, “I am a writer.”
In response, I knew I was in trouble, the throwback answer came: What paper do you write for?
Stop the Presses!
Welcome to South Carolina. The papers are printed once to three times per week in my area. One of them is a blog in newsprint. (The editor’s everyday shenanigans rate two columns.) Many of the rags accept anything mailed to them. (Some do not have websites.) Copy Editor is not a full time position.
Welcome to the 21st century. I very gently answered, “I mainly blog in between writing articles for the internet and books.” I then began scoping the room for exits. Just when I spotted one which would not require me hurdling a table or small children, someone else joined the conversation.
No, not the wormy guy from late night. The barbarian. It seems brains and brawn are mutually exclusive. To look at this particular specimen, one may well ask where the muscles are. Chances are good I mean the ones which direct feces from his rectum to his mouth. (The spam bots are going to have a field day with that sentence.)
There is nothing entertaining about a blog.
Mr. Does-Not-Read-Much has never made the rounds, at least not to any of the blogs I haunt. He would say such brilliant things about how boring blogs are as:
- Funny people write in Hollywood, not on the internet.
- Comedians write all their own jokes, otherwise why would they be comedians?
- Blogs are about changing diapers and techie stuff.
I resisted the urge to point out his cell was about eight years out of date and he may well learn something from a tech blog. Or even Consumer Reports. Wanna lay odds he still owns a functioning Commodore 64?
I admit it. This was a genuine opportunity to observe (You may later question the use of this next word.) humanity, which is one of my obsessions. The residents of the table nearby tuned into the budding conversation, which should have been cause for alarm. Alas, I was already transfixed and making mental (You will not question that last word choice.) notes.
Who wants to hear about that?
Ms. Misogynist started bashing mommy blogs. To her mind (and undoubtedly vast experience), all mommy blogs were written to keep SAHM from going more bonkers than they were deciding to stay home with mewling brats. Her dynamic contributions to the conversation included:
- Who gives a fat rat’s ass about diaper rash cures and how to get Junior to sleep all night?
- The older ones are so sad. They just wish they still had little ones.
- Moms with something to say go to PTA meetings and Mommy’s Day Out.
Was it wrong of me to ask her if she had discovered a way to get her 34-year-old out of her attic? Need I mention he moved up there when he was 16 in protest to curfews and parental interference in such personal topics as bathing and occasional beer drinking? Perhaps, diaper cream could have cured his unsightly rash.
This, too, shall pass.
Another brilliant man chimed into this conversation. In his estimation, blogging is a fad. Mr. Farts-Dust would regale us with other popular trends which he was certain would pass in his lifetime:
- Social media MMP games
I thought it was pretty astounding he thought no one should care where they are on the planet or where anything else is for that matter. (Knows his picture is beside “Don’t ever stop for directions.”) Not to be age discriminant, but at a shade over 70, the chances of these things going the way of the Edsel (like the one parked in his backyard since 1962 when it broke down) are a mite slim.
Just another telemarketer.
In what had to be the jaw dropper, another woman in the conversation likened blogging to those cold calls you get during dinner to sell you carpet cleaning. Mrs. I-Cannot-Be-Bothered admitted she had read some blogs. (Don’t celebrate yet.) They are delivered each Thursday to her inbox. (Hello? Can you say subscription?)
I have yet to understand why they keep trying to sell me bathroom fixtures every week.”
Turn on the light.
Fortunately, before my brain completely turned to mush, Mr. I-Cannot-Be-Bothered rescued me by gently explaining to his wife that was not a blog, but a newsletter, from the contractor who ripped out their (vintage 1964) guest bath in their home last year. If only he had stopped there…
Blogs are those places where people tell all their secrets on the internet, like who they slept with last summer.”
Five Bullets Please
Now, if these five people are anything like five random people you can find at any other dinner party, I may as well toss the laptop out the window, subscribe to a stick whittling magazine, roll up in a Snuggie and drool. I was seriously afraid of engaging a sixth person who would have meant all rounds chambered in this twisted game of mental Russian Roulette.
And for the record, I did a poll. The question: What keeps your skull from caving in?
Do you know anyone with an internet handicap? Where are the research funds and support groups for those living in an era without computers, technology and smart phones? Do I need to invent a(nother) 12-step program?