So here it is, my sixth blogiversary, and it's not the joyous occasion a blog anniversary usually is. At least it doesn't feel like it to me. Because, you see, I have something to get off my chest, and I've realized that I cannot write another half-decent post without first shedding this. It's a long one, and I'm not kidding about that. If you want to stay and read, you might want to empty your bladder and buckle up your seatbelt.
I'm not here today to have a contest, to ask for your eleventeen-thousand comments so you can win a prize and I can have my ego stroked, or to have a generous giveaway. I am here today to buck the trend of the usual sappy blogiversary post about how much I love this blog. I'm just a rebel that way, and I'm tired and cranky and in pain and put off, and I frankly need the catharsis.
I have written almost every day for six years. It should be obvious: I love the blog and I love my readers. Love them and respect them and need them in that symbiotic way that maybe only another blogger can understand. I have built up strong personal relationships with many, many of my readers. I cherish the real-life and "imaginary" friends I've gained, and all the other fun and interesting things that have happened to me as a result of this venture.
Oops, now I'm drifting away from my thesis. Aw, fuckit.
In the past week I've gone for long walks, I've had long chats with some of my most important confidants both in person and in emails, I've gone for massages, I've taken time away from the internet. I've spent a good deal of time thinking about this. And I've come to the conclusion that it's just as I thought: Some people are asses, and they're not gonna get any better.
I can be an ass, too, of course. I'm sure I have been many times --inadvertently and, I suppose, purposely.
This medium is a weird one. I'm not sure exactly how long it's going to last. There are the truly noteworthy bloggers who make Big Money through their blogs. There are the ones who try to make big money, and fail, and abandon their blogs in relatively short order. There are business blogs and political blogs and various other types of blogs. There are lots and lots of paid blogs or bloggers who blog only for money or to promote their products or promote themselves in some way.
What the hell am I? The hobby blogger. Hm. What am I doing it for? It's an outlet, it's a way to relate to lots of great people, it's a way to practice writing. But I don't write highbrow stuff, or even great lowbrow stuff, and I really don't think that my writing has improved over the past six years. I reckon I have my very good days, but they are few. It's sort of a journal or a memoir in the making, I suppose, but why? I don't really know. I'm apparently a verrrrry sloooooww worrrrk in progress. I spend a hell of a lot of time on this thing, trying to use it to do good, to run it sensitively and ethically and really a lot like a business. But it's only a hobby.
Over time, I've made a few missteps in this blog. I've used the word "retarded." That bothered a few people, some of whom are good friends and they sensitively and sensibly brought to my attention why it bothered them that I used that term, we talked it out, and we are still good friends. We do things with and for each other, and we support each other, both outside and inside the blog world.
In contrast to that, at least one person delurked from out of the ether just long enough to tell me that while she had been reading my blog for a long time and loved most everything I wrote and loved seeing my stories about her birthplace, that it was inexcusable that I had used that term. None of my explanations worked for her, things escalated in our correspondence to the point that she made veiled threats to me about possibly using legal action to get me to remove the offending language (to which I said -- I think this is a direct quote -- "Pffffffffft"), and as far as I know, she no longer reads here.
It is doubly irritating when someone opens a complaint with, "I have been a faithful reader and love everything you have done for the last three years, but this one thing, THIS ONE LITTLE THING, bugs me enough that, although I have never commented to say GOOD JOB or I'M ENJOYING YOU ever before, I AM coming out of the mists to heckle you when you have missed the mark just this ONE TIME."
FOR FUCK'S SAKE, people.
One time I passed along a post that someone sent me that I thought was funny at first, but it hurt the feelings of some of my readers, and I realized in the end that it might not be all that funny to many. But it WAS FUNNY, in an over-the-top kind of way, in its ridiculousness. But some people were hurt, so I took it down. I regret that now.
I know my readers well enough that there will be many inquiring minds out there, so to quell the curiosity, it was this. I don't care what you say -- it IS funny. It is well written, it is over the top, it is ridiculous and inflammatory, and smart, and true in places and not true in places, and it is funny. If there is a version out there (seems like there must be) that is the "Fuck the North" equivalent and I saw it, and if it were well written, I'd think it was funny and I might well post it. But we Damn Yankees are more like the British -- we know how the hell to laugh at our own foibles.
Here is what I really don't like and I really have no room for in this space, which I pay for and which is MINE: People who do not have a sense of humor. Or maybe I just don't like people who don't have the same sense of humor I do.
I, for instance, do not think, for even the time difference between a gold and silver medal in short-track speed-skating, that any of that "oh, that kid just fell off a roof straight onto his face" kind of America's-Funniest-Home-Videos humor is funny. I do not think fart jokes are funny. I do not think toilet humor is funny. But thousands of people do.
Apparently some people think my finger is just NOT ON THE PULSE of what is funny. So be it. But I reiterate: I pay for this space, and it is mine. I do not ask for a thing in return.
I have a strong sense of gallows humor. I worked in the courtroom for what seems like a hundred years. There (or rather, behind the scenes in the anterooms of the courtroom) you have to laugh or you'll die. Same with the operating room or the pathology lab or the morgue.
I love over-the-top brainy humor. I love tongue-in-cheek humor. I love ethnic humor and even blonde jokes. I used to be a blonde. It was the self-deprecation that I loved, NOT poking fun at someone ELSE, but poking fun at mySELF. I looooooooooovvvvvvvvvvve self-deprecating humor. I love cultures and people that poke fun at themselves -- the British, the Jewish, the Canadians, even (maybe especially -- one degree of separation, ya know!) the rednecks. I love pro-male/anti-male and pro-female/anti-female humor, as long as it's smart and perceptive of the human condition, and I love humor wherein we poke fun at our own aging or our own sexual inadequacies. I love off-color humor at times, and I love farcical and stupid humor, as long as it's so stupid it's actually smart.
People who are so literal and flat that they can't laugh at themselves or ever laugh at others without thinking it's ALWAYS MEAN? They can go jump off a cliff and get out of my blog. Seriously.
IN PARTICULAR, it is NOT OK to lurk silently, to be entertained by my musings day after day -- even if the only reason you are lurking is because you think it's train-wreckish -- and not build a relationship with me to say hello once in a while so I at least recognize your name -- and THEN one day, because I make one comment or post one post that strikes a nerve with you, delurk in order to throw a turd in my living room or a rock through my window, and then leave.
Last Saturday I posted a short post here relating an incident of generation gap misunderstanding with my daughter and her boyfriend that was funny. Yes, it was. FUNNY. My daughter thought it was so funny that when it initially happened, she sent it on to many of her college and law school and high school friends with a note that said, "I love my mom!"
Vote of confidence if I ever did see one.
Funny. I'm not just patting myself on the back here. It was funny because of my "stupidity," which is what we were laughing at. It was a misunderstanding that, later when I knew the context, was hilarious. Ridiculous. Sad. And funny. There IS humor in the tragic and the sad. There simply IS.
And here is what happened, deconstructed to a point that it will probably take all the funny out. But this is probably what the flat-affect humorless literal people (who I wish would go away and STOP READING MY BLOG) would want.
My daughter's boyfriend posted in his Facebook status, "RIP Boner." I had read about the suicide of an actor in Vancouver, but I did not ever watch or know the details of the show that he acted in, so I did not know the name of his character. My daughter's boyfriend is, as I have mentioned many times, a professional hand model. In our everyday parlance, we all slightly provocatively, for its comic effect, refer to Ryan's "hand jobs." So when he posted "RIP Boner," I wrote, "I cannot tell you how bad this sounds," or something of that ilk.
Here is what I ACTUALLY thought he meant by "RIP Boner": His younger brother Jack is a bit of a wacky and funny wildcard, and I thought that perhaps Jack and Ryan had had a dog named Boner, and that the dog had passed away. Forgive me, dog lovers, for thinking it funny and making a joke about the possibility that a dog named Boner had passed away. Very insensitive of me, I'm sure.
But the truth was stranger than my imaginings, in that an actor, who USED TO PLAY A CHARACTER NAMED BONER, had died.
Do I NEEEEEEEEED to explain the joke to the literal thinkers? The flat-brained people? The people who want only family-friendly content in blogs? The Republican female lobbyist from Wyoming (WTF?!) who has never, ever read or commented on my blog previously, perhaps?
SIDEBAR: The internet is a small and very revealing place. Me, I'm a completely open book, I live in a glass house here, and I'm honest and truthful and open, and I'm vulnerable. You might think you can take an anonymous shot at me and crawl back into your self-righteous cave and I might not be able to know who you are. But you are wrong.When my daughter, through her tears of laughter, explained to me what Ryan was referring to, and what a dumb mistake I had made, we both couldn't stop laughing. We were NOT LAUGHING about someone's suicide. Anyone who thinks we were is an idiot. And when I wrote about it in the blog, I did not in any way say the suicide was funny. Any Janet-come-lately who thinks I was is a fool and can't read my plain words.
So anyway. I took that post down, and I now regret it. It is cached in Google, but I'm not going to go through the effort to repost it and all that crap. Water under the bridge and all that. You can find it if you care to look for it.
I will continue to write here, and I will continue to write what I think. If my wit is lost on you or if it misses the mark on any particular day, well, you know what? I don't get paid for this, and it's possible I might write something in a way that is easily misunderstood, or sometimes I might fall flat on my ass. This is my place, and I pay for it. It's my exercise room, my own personal half-pipe, if you will. I might look and smell like hell in my sweatpants, and make a total asspass* in practice today. But maybe tomorrow I'll hit the perfect McTwist 720 and nail the landing.
Or not. But you know what? You get what you pay for. You don't have to say, "Yay, Norma! You are so wonderful!" all the time,** BUT, especially if you are a complete stranger, you do not have the right to come here and say "Shame on you" for anything, anything, anything I write, unless the "shame on you" is in jest. And you are fully allowed -- encouraged, even -- to take the piss out of me as often as you like. And you are not allowed to judge my morals and my sensibilities. Not.ever.
Wait, I take that back. We make judgments about people all the time and it is perfectly within your right to judge me and my morals and sensibilities. But if you don't like me or what I stand for, JUST GO THE HELL AWAY. Full stop.
So happy friggin' blogiversary to me.
The picture I wanted to post to match my mood is the Johnny Cash middle finger one -- you know the one. But instead, I decided to go for the ironic and post Sweet Norma Jean. So I'm giving you the Southerner's equivalent of "Bless your heart."
*when you fall on your ass but going so fast that you pass people on your ass -he pulled the old ''asspass'' on me, and flew right by! (hilarious Source: https://www.abc-of-snowboarding.com/snowboarddictionary.asp)
** But I live for the comments -- the thoughtful, funny, insightful, and smartass comments that most of my readers leave. I read and relish every single one, though lately I have not been able to answer them all as I have in the past, because there is only so much time in the day. As one of my blog friends recently said, "I've read you long enough to know that you might be snarky at times, but you are never mean-spirited." It is my earnest attempt to be exactly that. I have been extraordinarily fortunate over the years that incidents like this have been extremely few. Perhaps that is why this one bothers me so much. I will not make the rash statement that I will delete every comment of someone who disagrees with me or who gently (constructively) criticizes something I have written. That would be silly and Narcissistic and ... yes, I will use the word as it is defined ... retarded. However, in the future I will have absolutely no compunction at deleting mean or rude comments and banning the commenter. I'm just so over the bullshit.
NOW, ONWARD AND UPWARD.