So, a year ago yesterday, I grumbled something like “What the Hell” and dragged out my debit card to sign up for the WordPress service. A year ago today I hit the “publish” button for the first time. I wasn’t at all sure what I had in mind or even if I would keep it up, but like I said at the time, “What the Hell!”
Being as it’s my bloggoversary, I suppose this is a good day to let my rambling mind able freely about the experience.
This has been something of a guilty pleasure for me, because I can always think of a hundred things I should be doing instead of writing something for this blog, but I wanted some place to spill the thoughts out of my skull and make them someone else’s problem.
See how I love my readers!
That is how it usually works by the way. I wake up in the morning after thinking about something for a few days and I have the general outlines of the essay in mind, maybe even a few specific sentences I want to write. When the specific wording for a full paragraph comes to mind I go nuts until I can type it out. I think it’s been that way since college, though I haven’t actually written essays like this since sometime around graduate school. My brain just works that way. I feel like I have sorted something out if I can express it in the form of an essay or a short speech. But for sometime before the blog I hadn’t been expressing a lot of my thoughts in any tangible format, and I decided I wanted a place to do that.
This is how I answered those all-important blogger questions what do you want to say and who do you want to reach? For me the answer really is whatever is on my mind and to whomever is odd enough to want to suffer through it. In the beginning, I sort of thought the blog would evolve to a more specific purpose. I thought that might be something quasi-journalistic about Alaska (you can see that approach in one or two REALLY DULL posts at the beginning), or maybe I thought I would just focus on the film reviews and celebrations of movie-villainy. (Come to think of it; I really need to celebrate another great villain soon.) In the end, I didn’t do either.
I remember thinking about the writing style a bit. Did I want to use foul language a little, a lot, or not at all? Did I want to eliminate contractions and/or slang? Did I want to include scholarly citations? A lot was settled less by conscious choice than by what seemed best on the page. I soon found the contractions rolled off my keyboard quite easily and more than once the more lengthy version a word of ruined the text. So, I went with the contractions. The question of foul language was soon settled with my first post about Mitt Romney. I didn’t just use foul language in that piece, I swore at a portion of my readership. And thus was my c lost! As to citations, I list my sources, but I don’t dig through my books to add more, nor do I consult MLA, Chicago, or APA styles. As much as possible, I prefer to supply a link. The bottom line is that I settled into an informal style
I have to admit that it took me awhile to get the technical stuff down. My tremendous knowledge of computers gives me three strategies for dealing with technical issues.
1) I occasionally sacrifice something of value to the demons in the screen. If they are happy they will keep my Dell running. If they are not, then I will suffer great hardship.
2) I keep something expendable near the computer.
3) If all else fails I shout at the top of my lungs, threaten the computer demons, and break the expendable object in full view of the computer screen. Someone once asked me how this was working out for me, and I had to admit the computer was still a bit uncooperative, but at least the neighbor kids generally stayed out of my yard.
…that was back when I had a yard.
Anyway, my approach to interface-diplomacy might explain why it wasn’t until December that I really worked out the gadgets on WordPress and produced a viable website. That’s also when I began using the tag words, registered with a few search engines, and even learned how to surf WordPress for sites with related content.
I have let the blog slide completely at least twice, from November to December of last year, and then again from January through early March. I don’t think I’d had a thousand unique hits when last March rolled around, but I did notice a little spike of about a dozen hits that occurred for no reason that month, and that was enough to inspire me to make one more try. It was around that time that I hit my stride, such as it is, and the blog has been going reasonably well ever since.
I try to post something once a week, and I try to keep each post to one or two basic points. My list of drafts is filled with pieces too long and over-complex. Some will be finished, some will be chopped up and used for smaller posts, and many will be deleted outright. The bottom line is that the piece needs to be done in an hour or three; if it isn’t, then something is wrong.
I’m not always happy with what I’ve written, but I hit the submit button if I think I’ve done something right. Often I am at least a little wary of something else about a given post, something I’ve done wrong or not done at all. The piece about which I am least comfortable would be my post on ‘primitive superstition’. That phrase bleeds prejudice from every syllable, and I can think of a dozen ways to take it down. I tried only one of them. I had a very specific point in mind for that post, and I think I made that point, but much of what I didn’t say in that post may be more important than what I did say, especially to those under the gun, so to speak, when that prejudice is hauled out and used by those who mean it. My critique there is woefully incomplete, to say the least, even if my point is worth making. So, I cringe a little at that one an I smile when I read it.
I do that a lot when I read this blog.
You may not believe this, but my editing skills are vastly improved. Even a few years ago, I could hardly write a paragraph without some typo, brain fart, or horrible error that makes me want to hide under a rock. Now I am down to one or two of those per post. And I am still amazed at what I find in stuff I wrote months ago. Still, I’ve resolved to do my best and live with the results.
There is truth in typos.
The most interesting part of the whole thing for me has been reading the comments. My biggest failure has been my inability to respond to them in a timely fashion, and I am very conscious of the fact that some of my favorite comments have gone unanswered.Every now and then I comb through the blog and try to catch some of the missed gems, but I haven’t done that in awhile.
What an ass!
Seriously, I have had the pleasure of meeting several wonderful people on this blog, and I need to do a better job of keeping in dialogue with them.
In case anyone is wondering, yes I did fork over the cash for a renewal fee, so the Northy page will continue for at least another year.
…even if I am eaten by polar bears.
You’d think a sentence like that would have a pretty clear meaning, wouldn’t you? If that whole 3 word sentence is a little complex, then surely the single word “like” must convey something pretty simple and obvious.
Unless it doesn’t.
But before I go on to suggest what I mean by that, let’s take a moment to note that that word alone is creeping (by itself even) into more and more of our public discourse. (Now there is a word I haven’t used in awhile.)
It seems rather innocuous, the little “like” button underneath a Facebook entry, a Youtube video, or a post on WordPress. I can see another one right now up in Stumbleupon bar above the page I’m working on. I’ve long since lost count of the number of discussion forums that make use of similar conventions. Let’s not even get into the whole reddit thing, okay! My point is that an awful lot of mass communication these days comes with the invitation to express our approval in terms of an upvote, like button, or some similar device. Ever greater portions of our news and entertainment now come with a prefabricated seal of approval, just waiting for us to click yea or nay, and thus make ourselves heard.
…in a really limited way.
But what does our little click of approval mean? What these buttons mean to us and what they might mean to the websites that host them isn’t always clear. Often, the significance seems pretty obvious. You liked what you read, listened to, watched, or otherwise consumed. But sometimes, there is a twist to the content, something that skews the meaning of your approval. If you are reading a news article about a political speech you like, I’ll bet you are happy to give your blessings to both the speech and the article with a single click of a button. But what about a well written piece about a political speech by that fart-for-brains bastard you can’t wait to vote against? Well, then the ‘like’ button only applies to the article itself, right? …or do you refrain from clicking the ‘like’ button at all in cases like that? We don’t have a button that helps us to distinguish content from style or subject matter from the simple decision to call our attention to it.
And I’m sure most of us are familiar with the dilemma posed by a friend describing on Facebook something awful they’ve just experienced. Suddenly the like button just isn’t quite the tiny gesture of personal support that it has been for the last hundred or so mind-numbing left clicks we’ve executed while watching bad TV or not-quite-reading the memos at work. So, you sit there for a moment and think about it, before telling yourself you better actually write something this time. And since it’s significant and personal, you’re going to have to think about it and choose your words carefully. …dammit!
But perhaps there is a sob-story in this too
I have 5 minutes of time to kill, and I want to enjoy it by reading funny stories from my friends and thanking them for it with a simple click of a button. I’m even happy to cheer folks on when they tell me good things about their lives. But now one of my close friends has just experienced a major tragedy, and she snuck a note about it into this stream of otherwise happy-and-light fluff I am using for my entertainment. Now I feel obligated to say something meaningful, and I’m really not ready to get all emotional, and fuck I only have 2 minutes left before I have to do something anyway, and I have no idea what to say. Fuck!
Presumably this sort of Facebook entry would create a similar tragedy for anyone with enough heart to know just how frustrating that kind of moment can be. The social niceties of liketry can be very complex. We need a button that says; “I don’t really like what you’ve just described but I like you and want you to know that I support you in your struggles, …at least enough to press a button about it.”
On WordPress at least, hitting the “Like” button a little akin to saying “Hey baby!” It is often a way of telling someone you exist and inviting them back to your apartment. Whatever else the ‘like’ button means around here, it is also a potential means of hinting that someone should come visit your own blog, where of course you hope they will read and like your own material. …which is what one will likely presume when you see that they have hit the like button underneath your own article.
…unless it means that they just want you to come back and read their new post.
The possibilities of mutually re-enforced self-deception here are astounding! Sometimes I think it is entirely possible that nobody is reading anybody’s work anymore, online or otherwise, or even looking at the pictures. Could WordPress be a community of illiterate button-pushers, liking each other in one great big orgy of self-referential liketude? …with nary a word ever making its way into a single skull!
I can’t think about it anymore; that way lies madness!
I suppose the fact that giving gestures of approval may be a means of getting them back didn’t exactly begin with the internet, but sites like WordPress have certainly re-arranged the economics of liketry in new and interesting ways.
By ‘interesting’ I probably mean ‘just a little sickening.’ …yeah.
I recently got a bit of an object-lesson in what it can mean to ‘like’ something on Stumbleupon. You see, when I first started using that service, I wasn’t entirely sure how I wanted to set my standards for liking a webpage. Was it enough if I liked something a little? Or did I want to be a hard-sell and like only the very best of the very best? It really didn’t take long before I realized that there are real advantages to liking more pages (more followers being chief among them), so I loosened up a bit, but I still insist on somehow keeping a trace of sincerity to the whole thing. I don’t ‘like’ things that I don’t actually like.
For the first month or so I followed my usual approach of restricting approval to those things about which I could voice clear and unmitigated approval. I ‘liked’ only those things which I really did like, completely and unreservedly, from the bottom of my soul, …or at least my liver. I held back from approving many thoughtful articles on a range of interesting subjects because I had a problem with something in the third paragraph of this one or the specific language used in expressing a minor point in that one. Pictures on the other hand? Well, I found quite a few of them to be like-worthy, not the least of reasons being that I’m not a photographer. I wouldn’t know how to pick at them if I wanted to, …well not that much anyhow. The point is, that I liked a lot of pictures.
Of course the thing about Stumbleupon is that the site shows you more of what you like and less of what you don’t as you establish the difference by clicking those buttons. So, I suppose I should not have been surprised the that thoughtful articles on religion and politics answered the call of the stumble button with ever decreasing regularity, or that they had been replaced with images of kittens, sunsets, and street art. The more time I spent on Stumbleupon, the less useful information I got from it.
I figured this out when I heard a strange and stupid voice saying; “this site is useless for anything but lolcats!” The voice was of course my own. A moment later, I think I called myself an idiot.
At least I should have.
Because of course I had been telling the Stumbleupon site to supply me with frivolous content all along. Every time I hit the ‘like’ button I was effectively saying “more of these please.” And since I was only saying that when I looked at things about which I had few serious concerns, I was pretty much telling the software demons at Stumbleupon to keep it light and fluffy went they chose my content.
Once I figured this out, the remedy seemed rather obvious. If I wanted to see more interesting material, I was going to have to give a pass to the next pretty scene and (more to the point) swallow at least some of my reservations long enough to say ‘yes’ to a opinion piece or three. I made the adjustment, and today I am finding the material I get from Stumbleupon far more interesting than I did at the end of my first month on the site. I simply had to stop thinking of the ‘Like’ button as a sign of ultimate approval and start thinking of it as a sign of general interest, or even an outright request for more of the same sort of content.
Of course that wasn’t the end of my adjustments. I find that my likes page at Stumbleupon includes articles I really don’t agree with at all, but which I might want to read again, anyway, or to reference for purposes of one of my classes. Somewhere along the line it dawned on me that I could use my Stumble account as a kind of caché for anything of interest to me in any way. So, the ‘like’ button on Stumbleupon no longer mean as that I actually approve the content; it means that I am interested in reading it again. Sometimes it means I dislike the content of an article enough to want to come back to it, …probably to pick a fight of some kind over the matter.
So, I guess I do ‘like’ something that I don’t like, which is a fact that I don’t like at all.
…I need a drink.
Lest you think this ramble is entirely about the trivialities of internet liketry, I should say that the whole Stumble incident has me rethinking my overall philosophy of likalism. yes, it is. I’ve always been reluctant to place my stamp of approval on most anything in life, and I can’t help thinking this business showed me something interesting about the mental landscape that produces this pattern. Perhaps, a little to prone to hold a flaw or two against the overall value of an otherwise interesting work. Would it be wiser to think of my approval less as a pass on the problems and more as a sign of interest?
Then again, I’m not much sure if I like what I’ve just written. I mean what the Hell? Somewhere in here I touch on some really interesting questions (or so I thought) about how the net skews our sense of meaning and commodifies approval, …and then I end up with this quasi-self-help lesson. I hate self-help lessons! Seriously, how the Hell did I veer so far off the path on this one!?!
If I were y’all, I wouldn’t like this post.
Sometimes you just get a wonderful glimpse into the priorities that guide people’s decisions. Take for example this campaign from One Million Moms. They want people to take action against this ad:
Now frankly, I can’t make up my mind whether or not the ad is post-modern brilliance, or a broccoli fart filtered through used bong water (though I am leaning a bit towards the latter), but the Million Moms are screaming bloody murder. They have posted the following diatribe against this travesty of marketing
brilliance, …er, bullshit:
We are not sure of Skittles’ thought process behind their new ad, but if they are attempting to offend customers, they have succeeded. Skittles’ newest “Walrus” commercial includes a teen girl making out with a walrus. The two are on a sofa in an apartment kissing on the mouth when her shocked roommate walks in on them. Parents find this type of advertising inappropriate and unnecessary. Does Skittles’ have our children’s best interest in mind? Skittles candies are for all ages, but their target market is children.
Skittles Marketing Team may have thought this was humorous, but not only is it disgusting, it is taking lightly the act of bestiality. Let Skittles know their new ad is irresponsible.
What interests me most about this whole screed, is the rhetorical question. “Does Skittles’ have our children’s best interest in mind?”
I don’t suppose it has occurred to any of the One Million Moms that the purpose of the ad is to sell CANDY to their children.
And I’ll leave it at that.
…and I’m a bad man.
…Okay, I really do hate quote mining, at least when it masquerades as serious scholarship. But the collection of quotes on my Facebook page is not serious scholarship, or at least that’s not what I had I mind when I collected them. I just thought they were cool. So presenting (for your entertainment) a few of my favorite things:
“It is not that humans have become any more greedy than in generations past. It is that the avenues to express greed had grown so enormously.”
- Alan Greenspan
“The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”
— Will Rogers
“Tables, chairs, and open chests would have suited Jesus best. He’d have caused nobody harm. No-one alive.”
- Judas (Jesus Christ Superstar)
“You’re a Eurotrash colon lying down.”
“If wishes were horses, we’d all be eatin’ steak.”
- Jane (from Firefly)
“Who died and made you suck?”
- The Vandals
“Supporting Israel doesn’t mean you’re pro-Jewish. It just means you want all the Jews a half a world away to fulfill our Biblical prophecy.”
- “Reverend” Jim Osborne (of the Landover Baptist Church)
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
- Author Unknown
“A great many things are dying very violently all the time. The best days for violent deaths are Tuesdays. They are the yellow paint days. Saturdays are second best, or worst. Saturdays are red paint days. The great death game is therefore a contest between red paint days and yellow paint days. So far yellow paint days are winning by 31 corpses to 29. Whatever the color, a violent death is always celebrated by a firework.”
- Smut, Drowning by Numbers
“America! You’re an unfriendly waitress with bad cappuccino.”
- The Foremen
“He said, that’d be the last thing I ever do is shoot mahself, …which it was.”
- Vernon Florida.
“I’d rather be damned if I don’t.”
- Robert McNamara
“right after daddy gets home from the bar
visits his bookie and steals a new car
he’ll drive to the strip club
and if daddy plays his cards right
he’ll bring home your new mommy tonight”
- Lullaby, Stephen Lynch
“We’re raising up our standard, so you can lower yours.
We’ll see ya slashed and slandered and abandoned on the shores.
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Bring on the media whores!”
- The Foremen
“When you get in bed with ultimate evil, my friend, it always takes the covers.”
- The Tick
“Neither party ever gains any insight or learns from these encounters. They never sit down and discuss their differences. Repeated defeats do not teach Bluto to honour Olive Oyl’s humanity, and repeated pummellings do not teach Popeye to swallow his spinach before the fight.”
- Walter Wink, Facing the Myth of Redemptive Violence
“”Jesus… ah, son, let me tell you about Jesus. You see, son, Jesus is a man, but sometimes, he’s also an idea – kind of like Salvadore Dali painting. You ever see a Dali painting, son? You ever see that melting clock face picture? Jesus is like that. Like a bunch of clocks, melting against various wood finishes. Jesus is like… well, it’s kind of like this, son. Picture an apple covered in a layer of smooth butter, and lacquered with sweet syrup. Now picture this candied apple resting upon a melted clock – you know, like that one in the Dali painting. Now picture the melted clock spinning, and slowly turning, and in the background, the Moscow Red Army Choir is performing Ave Maria.
“You see, son, Jesus, well, Jesus is kind of like that. Now you go and reflect.”
- Mithie (from rpg.net)
“I’ll fold you into my wallet and spend you on a whore.”
- The Terror
“Every time a child gets health care, an angel loses its virginity in a rather inventive manner.”
- Mrs. Betty Bowers
“And if I want to eat your soul, I’ll just throw it on the griddle. Don’t need to make a deal. I don’t need to tell a riddle. And fuck Charlie Daniels! I don’t care if he can fiddle. I’m Satan.”
- Stephen Lynch
“There’s a mackerel of a cornflake for you.”
- Line cut from A Clockwork Orange
“The position that private action, however deplorable, is not a fit subject for government action puts libertarians in the position of repeating simultaneously all the things that are wrong with the world and their resolute determination to do nothing about them.”
- Andrew Sabl
“You could call us Aaron Burr from the way we’re dropping Hamiltons!”
- Lazy Sunday
“Every Time I see your face. Every tie my shoes.”
“In the Beginning there was nothing, not even time. No planets, no stars, no hip-hop, no rhyme. Then there was a bang like the sound of my gat. The universe began and the shit was phat.”
“Start wearing purple for me now.”
- Gogol Bordello
“Shout-out to the girl who wanted the Japanese kanji for “luck” to represent her Irish heritage.”
- S.K. Williams (employee at a tattoo shop)
“A bit more violent than Brahms, but it’s pretty good.”
“Vilmar, a traveling salesman, whose 10.4 year old Opel became stuck in a 3 meter deep snow bank during blizzard in rural Schleswig-Holstein. It took Vilmar several hours to trudge through the deep snow drifts to the nearest farm house with a light on. Frozen half to death, Vilmar finally reached the front door and knocked on it. When Berke, a grizzled old farmer, answered the door, Vilmar pleaded for a place to spend the night. “Sure, young man, I can give you a place to sleep,” said the hospitable old man. “But, I have no daughter for you to sleep with.”
- Dingfod from Freethought Forums
I really love these 1800 Tequilla commercials!
By “love” I probably mean something else. But seriously, how can you not love a commercial that tells someone to drink like a man? A man oughtta dress like a man, and drink like a man, right? Mostly, remember to drink like a man!
Can these guys be just a little more flagrant about their use of peer-pressure? I get that it’s supposed to be fun, and I get that Michael Imperioli is doing a character (and by ‘get’ I probably mean ‘hope’), but this reminds me of the bad-guys in after-school specials and 70s sitcoms. I can practically hear someone in the background telling Greg Brady how all the cool kids are smoking. Seriously boy, drink like a man.
Drink like a man!
But that is nowhere near as golden as this next commercial. See that straight-shootin’ celebrity spokesman there. Proximo (the folks who make 1800 Tequila) wanted a non-nonse kind of guy for this campaign. According to Elwyn Gladstone, Vice President of Marketing; “The roles (Imperioli) has played in his acting career have made him an icon within American popular culture. Just like 1800 Tequila, he’s not going to be pushed around. He tells it like it is.”
I can see what they are talking about too. Other people get distracted by silly fluff and frivolous distractions, but not Imperioli. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, one who gets right to the heart of the matter!
…which is exactly why he sells Tequila by talking about cars.
I may have mentioned in the ‘About’ section of this blog that I count an episode of projectile vomiting among my greatest accomplishments?
Okay, that’s gross right? Yeah, but it’s not going to stop me from giving you a long-winded and over-dramatic account of the whole thing. Best leave this post now if you have any sense whatsoever!
I dabbled in Speech and debate a little when I first got into college. My school had a great debate team at the time, all owing to the coach, but that coach was the absolute worst driver you ever met in your life. It was really amazing. If he wasn’t speeding up, he was slowing down (I mean foot on the break, because by then we were closing rapidly in on somebody’s rear bumper) and if he wasn’t drifting steadily left he was drifting steadily right. To make matters worse, the man had a very small vehicle, and he would often engage in serious discussion or coaching as he drove. So, while riding along you had to concentrate WHILE holding down your lunch and praying to the gods that you would make it to your actual destination.
It was awful!
One day I had agreed to help in the tab room for a High School Debate Tournament. I caught a ride down to campus that Saturday morning and waited to get picked up for the trip out to the high school. I had some time to kill, so I ate breakfast, …well the sort of breakfast I ate back then. It was a Super Big Gulp of Pepsi and a row of donut gems from a 7-11. I horked them down in no time because I was suddenly very hungry. Along comes the coach and stuffs me in the back seat of his vehicle, then shoves a pile of paperwork into my lap and tells me to read names to another student in the front seat. The coach hadn’t done his preparation yet, and so he was trying to get things in order as we drove over to the tournament. …yes, reading in the car will normally do me in. Reading with that driver was bound to be REALLY BAD. And then it dawns on me that slamming a Super Big Gulp and a row of donut gems might have been a mistake.
…definitely was a mistake.
The Coach was in rare form. He read documents of his own while double checking the other student’s paperwork as he drove. We veered toward this wall and that car, screeched to a halt just before hitting that bumper, all the while checking paperwork.
And of course, the donut gems want to come back up pretty much whole at this point.
Then we started to smell gas. It was overwhelming! Turns out the guy directly ahead of us on the Freeway had some sort of a leak, so the coach decides to catch up to warn him. Now, his worse-than-usual driving was compounded by his impression of Starsky and Hutch, and the man still expected me to read names to the other student. The other driver seemed to be in a hurry, so the effort to catch him involved a lot of weaving through traffic. …with gas fumes coming into the vehicle, me turning very green, and “…uh, Jeremy Ditweiler, yeah that’s with an e i.”
(Okay, I made up the name, but you get the idea.)
About half way there I realize with absolute certainty that everything I slammed before getting picked up IS coming back up sooner or later, probably sooner. The donut gems are so determined that I feel sure they will find their way back to the wrapper and replace themselves on the shelf at the 7-11. All with the prospect of a full day’s work ahead of me.
We never do catch the gas-spilling driver. It takes about 30 minutes total time on the road before we pull into the High School parking lot. It takes a couple more minutes to get out because we aren’t done yet with the paperwork. I could have killed to breathe fresh air, and the coach insisted we finish whatever the Hell task it was we were doing. The other student weighed at least 400 pounds (though I believe it was closer to 600, …honestly), and it took him forever to get out of the tiny car. Then we fumble with the broken seat and finally push it forward, all just so I could scramble out in a state of panic. For some reason I didn’t mention this to anyone, …but I was in my own little private Hell at that point.
(The story is just going to get worse from here folks, you really might want to click on one of those links in my Blogroll and go find an author with better taste than I have.)
So, I finally stepped out into the fresh air, and I got about 2 steps before the urge to purge overtook me. It wasn’t much. I was very discreet and I don’t think any of the many folks around us realized just why I leaned down next to that little bush.
(Note how I brag about my discretion at the time as if I had any credibility on the subject while telling THIS story. That’s called ‘irony’ folks. Can you say; ‘Irony’?)
I knew that little mini-purge was just a taste of things to come, …literally. I could feel the misery building within me as I debated what to do next. Out here would be better than on the floor in the building, but best of all would be in a garbage can or a bathroom stall. I stood there for a moment and assessed the situation. “It’s not coming yet,” I thought, “I may have a chance…”
I power-walked into the High School, trying to hit that perfect balance that enhances speed without jarring things too much. I thought I was going to lose it with every fricking step. Every single step seemed to court disaster, and with enough witnesses to make it a truly humiliating experience. The walk seemed to take forever.
And then did it! I actually made it into the High School. I grew very nervous at this point because I didn’t want the upcoming event to occur on the carpet. But at least a final resting place for the donut gems ought to be on the horizon.I just kept dreaming about a trash can or a toilet stall.
So, why was this bathroom locked? That one too? And where are the others?
It turns out that all the bathrooms were locked AND all the garbage cans had been hauled off somewhere. That’s right; it was a Saturday, and someone forgot to tell the cleaning staff that there would be hundreds of people in the building this weekend. So, NONE of the bathrooms were open and the garbage cans were all GONE. I walked/ran from one bathroom to the other, and one after another they all proved to be locked. ALL OF THEM!
At this point I felt like I was dying, because I knew the food was coming back up any moment. I will never get back outside in time; the donut gems are coming back and they are bringing Hell with them.
Then I got lucky.
I tried the teacher’s bathroom door for the second time, and (praise be!) this time it was open. With an immense sigh of relief, I walked/ran into it. At last I could find a place to let go of my burdens. My ever so heavy burdens! Sweet Jesus, I have never been so happy to find a bathroom in all my life. I think I actually prayed for the damn thing, and at the time I must have counted it as proof positive that there is indeed a God in Heaven, because He had just provided me a bathroom in my moment of need.
With one foot in the door I experienced a violent spasm. It felt like my stomach had just lowered its shoulders and launched into my heart and lungs like the biggest lineman on your favorite football team. (I don’t do sports metaphors often so you have to cut me some slack with the imagery here.) Anyway, the point is that bad things were happening in my belly and I wasn’t going to get another step before seeing those donut gems one more time. The bathroom was empty, so I was okay there, but the obvious targets were closed to me. A single toilet rested behind a closed stall door to my left, and the garbage can was covered a few steps off to the right. No time to open it. Disappointment gripped my soul. All that effort and I was going to fail within sight of my goal. But then…
A sink stood on the other side of the bathroom. Nothing between me and that beautiful, sparkling clean receptacle. One last chance to send my meal somewhere besides the floor, and believe me, I took it. I aimed the upcoming surge toward the sink, and I ran up on the back end of it as I went.
The launch literally began in the doorway across the room, but I’m telling you not one drop spilled on the floor. I got it all in the sink. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t done it myself. Right there on that very day!
Yeah that’s right. I am the projectile vomiting king of the world I tell ya! I could not have been more proud.
That was still a miserable day, cause I had the worst headache after that, and I remained dizzy for several hours. I do recall hearing gossip about the filthy sink in the teacher’s bathroom, but I saw no reason to enlighten anyone. I couldn’t even look at the debate coach, because that would have fallen far short of killing him, which is what the bastard deserved. Oh, but that one moment was glorious. I so narrowly avoided disaster and somehow managed the impossible. Heck a part of me wanted to go back and measure the distance as I felt quite certain it was some sort of record, an athletic accomplishment of sorts. It may have been a disgusting glory, but some days you just take what you can get.
My dear reader, did you actually stick with me through this entire abomination? That’s disgusting! You should be ashamed of yourself.
So, I am sitting here waiting on my meal at the airport in Anchorage. I have an Alaskan Amber Ale sitting in a tall glass in front of me. The glass is narrow on the bottom and wide at the top. Light penetrates the bottom portion of the glass, but the top is a rich dark brown.
I notice something odd, a faint ring is rising up from the bottom of the glass, catching the light as it goes. For just a moment I have no idea what I am looking at, then I realize it is a thin layer of ice from the chilled glass. a bit like a ring of smoke, it moves slowly, dissipating as it rises into the darkness. Nothing reaches the top.
I wonder, have I ever seen that before?
I really need to drink beer more often.
It’s official, northierthanthou.com has been added to The Atheist Blogroll.
You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. (If you click it, you will go!) The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.
May her Horniness, the Invisible Pink Unicorn bless us all, but we’ll have none of that Pastafarian nonsense here at northierthanthou. Splitters!
Okay, so let’s start with the protagonist. He is from somewhere in sub-saharan Africa. We’ll call him Mbaté Ngu(click)ulu. Now Mbaté is a dedicated man. He has devoted his entire life to his people in the capacity of Deputy Foreign Minister to his nation. Now as a result of some coup backed by an opportunistic multinational corporation, Mbaté and his entire government is out, and Mbaté doesn’t quite know what to do. Having access to almost a hundred million dollars, Mbaté knows that he can’t access it directly or the bastards that stole his country will just get him and his money. So, he goes online where he begins contacting people. He has a short list of trustworthy individuals, all provided by mutual friends, and Mbaté knows that with the help of just one of these people, he will yet save the day…
It’s a heartbreaking story of one man’s quest to find a helping hand in an increasingly cynical world. You too will be caught up in Mbaté’s struggle to find help. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry. You’ll probably go to the bathroom at least once. (Seriously, you’ll want to take Mbaté with you.) Because poor Mbaté isn’t going to have it easy, and this epic struggle is not resolved overnight.
Thankfully though, Mbaté will not have to do all of this alone. With the help of his friends, a Viagra salesman, a IRS man with a a bunch of checks for you and me, and an army of horny MILFs just looking for someone to have sex with (no strings attached), Mbaté may yet succeed in finding a single trusting soul, just one person willing to help him secure the means of helping his own people.
Stay tuned for “Mbaté’s Plea,” coming in the Spring of 2012, 2013, or even 2014, if that’s really necessary. Mbaté will soldier on for as long as it takes.