First thing you should know, I hate the word “Blog.” I dislike it for many reasons, but mainly because I don’t care for cutesy-hip geek speak, net lingo, and truncated words like “the nets, interwebs, app and zine. Also, it annoys me that my spell-check application accepted those examples and not my first attempt at typing “spellcheck.” No, I prefer whole words and proper English, thank you very much! I don’t think I should have to do a Google search or consult Urban Dictionary in order to glean your position or decipher your communiqué. I realize that writing and speech as a whole have become more informal- and there is a time and place for its use, but I’m that pathetic guy who’s texting in complete sentences with proper punctuation despite the inconvenience of having to switch screens just to punch in a comma or an apostrophe. I just don’t like it! Unless, of course, I’m obvi being totes smartasstic then txtspk is def legit LOL! =) Oh well…I suppose that if any medium is deserving of an abbreviated name it’s the lowly weblog.
Okay, the real reason I dislike the word is that it reminds me of the sound one makes when vomiting:
“Now that I’ve gorged myself on copious amounts of processed foodstuffs, I’m going to enjoy this wafer-thin mint.” <nom nom> “Oh no…I think I’m going to…<BLOGGGGGGGG>!”
So very appetizing! Hmm. It occurs to me that blogging may have more in common with puking up one’s guts than I previously realized: Face it, haven’t many blogs- especially those of the “detractor, political, social, evangelical and response” varieties, become just that? Forums for would-be writers to regurgitate wafer-thin bits of rancid opinion based on copious amounts of partially-digested, overly-processed fact? Or maybe that’s just my experience based on the sheer fluid volume of bilious muck that incessantly spatters my social media newsfeeds and seemingly every article’s “Comment” section the world over? You’ve got everything from sickly-sweet emetics that gag with over-the-top feel-good stories- complete with pictures of cats, to the fetid odor of ignorance and intolerance that tinges political and social issue posts. Even many hobby/journal sites have become nauseatingly pretentious (“Can I just get the damned cake recipe already or do I really have to scroll through your vapid commentary?”). I suppose we shouldn’t be all that surprised at the correlation, after all:
It happens to everyone. No matter who you are, or how iron-clad your stomach, whether due to illness, over-indulgence or manual stimulation, everybody tosses their cookies now and then. And in life, we have all expressed ourselves and our opinions, revealing our thoughts, ignorance and, occasionally, our brilliance, often in a spectacularly messy fashion. For some reason we are compelled to share our insights with anyone and everyone as if they are treasured bits of flotsam made expressly for the masses to “ooh” and “ahh” over. And once it’s out, it’s out. We stand proudly, point and declare, “This came from inside me!” Turns out that just because you happen to barf, it doesn’t mean that the rest of the world necessarily cares or wants to know the agonizing details of your strenuous effort.
You usually feel better afterwards. Relief often comes on the heels of a good hurl. You may still be sick, but at least for the time being you’ve gotten something nasty out of your system. It seems the same case could be made for some bloggers. Watery, half-formed ideas tend to swirl in a thin mass, inducing nausea until they spew forth in a barely-coherent mass of ejecta. Reactionary posts and even some live blogging often feel like this to me. Given, sometimes you just can’t help it; the gag reflex is too strong. However, there are times when we summon our strength, suppress our queasiness, and wrest enough control over ourselves to calmly relocate to a more ideal venue for our expulsion. I recall an experience in grade-school where a friend was struck with the sudden urge to purge. Instead of calmly heading to the nearest classroom sink or trash bin, he thought he’d make a mad dash for the boys restroom some distance away down an adjoining hallway. He ended up barfing all down himself as he ran, leaving a 20-foot-long trail of froth behind him. Bloggers might be wise to take some time, digest, and then calmly put forth their contribution instead of being in such a rush to chronicle that they make a bigger mess than is necessary. Those who then wade through it or have to clean it up will appreciate the restraint. Especially since throwing up
Typically causes others to respond in kind. Barfing is contagious. To illustrate this point I need only recount the woeful tale of my Boy Scout Troop and the Winding Road of Retch-edness. Imagine, a dozen 11-year-old scouts tightly packed into a suspension-impaired Dodge van. We were working towards earning the Hiking Skill Award and were traveling up a twisty mountain back road to the trailhead. After several bouncy switchbacks one of our number, who’d been turning a bit green, called out for an urgent pit stop. The vehicle braked, the side door swung out and he dashed for the opening. He mostly made it. Alas, a small sample plastered the inside door panel thereby tainting the remaining air inside the van. Paper towels and air freshener were deployed, and once the poor lad had composed himself our journey resumed. Less than one fateful hairpin later, several more boys had succumbed. That van should have had scuppers. When something controversially rank gets blogged it is only a matter of seconds before someone else spews forth their acrid two cents. Whether in the comments section, through re-posting, linking to, “liking” or blogging in response, once that mephitic genie is out of the bottle it permeates.
So what’cha gonna do? Sadly, despite our best efforts to stay healthy, sober or to keep foreign objects from making us choke, we all know that it’s only a matter of time before we do it again. We live in a world where we are routinely met with crass, inane, virulent, rude, oblivious, bigoted, and just plain undesirable people and ideas. At times WE ourselves are the contagion. It’s inevitable. Should we never interact with others or express ourselves for fear of what we might be exposed to or induce? I say thee, NAY! I think a body is at its healthiest when it’s occasionally sick. If we never come in contact with anything that gives our immune system a workout, then soon it won’t take much to lay us low. If our beliefs and ideas are never challenged how can we be sure of our convictions? Exposure to what’s pestiferous ultimately makes us our strongest selves.
So why should you read MY blog? Well, I’m not saying you SHOULD! In fact, unless you too are a disabled stuck-at-home dad with an affinity for Awesomely-bad Movies, a penchant for music snobbery, enjoy organic heirloom gardening, curse-word infused home cooking, or are a helplessly devoted comic book nerd, you likely won’t find much here of interest. Even if those topics appeal to you, I can’t promise that my musings won’t be any more original or less repellent than what’s already being offered up elsewhere- I’ll attempt to be entertaining, at least.
Truth be told, I’m really only starting this blog because my ever-patient wife has been encouraging me to do so. For years she’s had a front-row seat to my personal flood of foul-foam and she’s (mostly) lovingly held my hair back as I’ve disgorged. She seems to think that I’d benefit from having an outlet (other than her ears) for the constant deluge of opinionated muck I spew. She’s probably right. Once upon a time, I fancied myself a writer of sorts- before my disability, assorted health issues and “life in general” took precedence. If nothing else, this venue might provide an opportunity to dust off my keyboard and hone my narrative skills. Lucky you.
“Code V! Cleanup on aisle 6!”
Sorry about the mess. I feel better.