You’re Either Part of the Problem or All of the Problem or You Could Be the Solution. Or a Chemical Mixture. I Never Really Understood Science. Or Math.
So, it’s finally come to this – a bittersweet day on which I have decided to make a confession of a deep, dark secret that I’ve been hiding for months.
I decided to “come out” finally as a service to my readers who may be experiencing this same issue. It helps to know that you’re not alone. At least, it helps if you’re selfish like me and are comforted by the fact that others are suffering along with you. And if there are no readers experiencing this same issue, then I guess I am alone. And that kind of bites, but oh well. I’m sure you have your own ways of suffering.
So, here’s the thing. I now have over 1000 subscribers. Woohoo. I mean, awesome, right?
But less people read my blog per day now than they did a month after I started. Two years ago. A lot less.
Basically, let’s say I used to have 30 or 40 daily readers out of every 50 subscribers.
Now I still have about 30 or 40 readers.
Okay, so, somehow I managed to miss having to take Statistics in college, but I’m pretty sure that a graph of my numbers would look equivalent to one reflecting the success of Lindsay Lohan’s career over the last decade.
And I have way more fun and talent than Lindsay Lohan, so that hardly seems like a fair comparison.
Upon reflection, I’ve decided that the reason for this preposterous report of my readership could have one of the following causes:
Uno.) 99% of my blog subscribers are spammers who don’t actually read anyone’s blog, but apparently make tons of money off of pretending they do.
B.) Jon Stewart is screwing up my blog stats on purpose so I will spend less time blogging and more time
stalking writing love letters to him.
III.) WordPress hates me.
Four.) People read one post, and think that I am fabulous, then realize that my writing sucks and stop reading. But they are too lazy to unsubscribe.
Quintuplets.) The only people who are able to stumble across my blog are the ones who search for it by typing in, “my pants won the spelling bee?” And, let’s face it, usually the shoes win the spelling bee, not the pants.
Obviously it’s B.
Now I have to think of a solution. Certainly, I cannot allow Jon Stewart to completely change my life – unless there is some kind of financial profit involved on my part. In the meantime, I must keep blogging, if only to prove that I can persevere through these difficult and trying times of unsatisfactory blog statistics.
If Jon Stewart is deliberately tanking your statistics, too, then I suggest you look to me as a role model and follow my lead in this. Don’t stop blogging. And don’t devote any more time than usual to
stalking sending him communications of an admiring yet somewhat admonishing-him-for-not-paying-any-attention-to-you nature. Trust me; it doesn’t work.
As Dory from Finding Nemo says, “Just keep blogging and stop looking at your stupid blog stats because either Jon Stewart, the NSA, or terrorists are screwing them up.”
Or something like that.
Okay. Don’t take this the right way. But I’m a bit worried about some of my recent subscribers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to have more than 20 people following my blog. But I’m not 100% certain you’re all people.
For example, “thebiggestonlinestorenamedafterarainforest”* does not seem to be a person’s name. But, as there is no blog or profile to accompany this moniker, I can’t really verify that.
“Rentacar2020″* seems like an unusual, and completely unoriginal, handle, as well. I mean, as a former BJ and the Bear fan, I’m all for living out your fantasies by changing your name in the virtual world, but I would go with “angeleyes” or “hot pants” (recommended to me by the Smokey and the Bandit CB Handle Generator; they know me so well), not a generic name like “rentacar”. If you like automobiles so much, maybe you could try, “drivealamborghinibeforeyoudie” instead. That’s a bit more exciting, at least.
I must admit that I was a little flattered when I saw that “macaulaysbrewpub”* had subscribed. I thought, “How sweet! An entire bar just committed to reading my blog.” I pictured the cast from Cheers hanging out on their stools with iPads, and reading excerpts from my post out loud, inducing chuckles of delighted appreciation from Sam and Woody. Carla would make some derisive comment about my farting bulldog, and Cliff would nod knowingly at my extremely astute observation that terrorists are poisoning our food and then proceed to diagnose all of my various ailments.
But then a torrent of company names began to flood my inbox, and it was a bit harder to picture “buyflourescentlightsathalfprice”* as an avid fan of my enviable writing skills, buying Norm another beer as the two shake their heads at my latest exploits with sheep eyeballs and wooden spoons.
I haven’t quite figured out the advantage that “buyflourescentlightsathalfprice”* and his cohorts gain from adding themselves to my lengthy roll of admirers, but I’m guessing that they are aliases for terror cells who want to keep track of how close I am to guessing their nefarious plans.
Or maybe I’ve got this all wrong, and the employees at Home Depot are a fan base I should really tap in to. Wonderbutt could be a virtual saint to them for all I know. We probably contribute at least half of the company’s annual profit with all of our trips to buy materials to fix things that darn bulldog has eaten.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Thanks for hitting the subscribe button, but if you aren’t a real person – or the fictional cast from Cheers – then I am perfectly fine with you latching on to someone else’s blog. I don’t know what game you’re playing, but it’s giving me a complex that “geishasofjapan”* decided they needed to declare their love for me. STOP FOLLOWING ME!”
Unless you’re real. Unless you are a sane person who has excellent taste in writing and absolutely no desire to be a serial killer. In that case, follow all you want. But, for Pete’s sake, PICK A BETTER NAME! Trust me, Pete will appreciate it.
*Names have been changed from the names they were changed to – mostly because I figure you shouldn’t get free publicity on my blog just for having a boring name. Plus, I don’t want to get sued.
Dear Man Who Rescued Me from My Solitude While I Waited for My Daughter to Finish Swim Practice, Foolishly Thinking I Could Spend My Time Writing:
I was so overcome during our conversation the other day that I could not find the words to properly thank you. So, here it is.
First of all, thank you so much for offering me your used earbuds so I could listen to your daughter’s video on your phone. Your generosity apparently knows no bounds.
Secondly, thank you for educating me about gun control. Now that I know that the government is out to get us, I am going to save up some money for an AK-87 (the bigger the number, the better, right? but I thought an AK-97 would be too greedy) so I can defend myself. Because when the government finds a way to persuade the military men and women who have sworn to protect our country to start dropping bombs on my house, I want to be ready.
Once I was edified about my need for an arsenal in every room of the house, your insights into the welfare system and health care illuminated how completely selfish it is for my friend to ask for assistance for his son, born prematurely, who maxed out his health insurance life-time benefits before he turned one. I can’t wait to inform him that his money-grubbing ways are, in a large part, responsible for our titanic national debt.
I only wish you had been around to admonish me before I made my foolish choices in the last two presidential elections. Of course, you would have had to find some kind of loophole in the 22nd Amendment in order to keep the man who, “at least you knew where you stood with him” in office. I say just blast a hole in that pesky little alteration to the Constitution with your assault rifle “that isn’t any more dangerous than a revolver”. That’ll knock some sense into people.
I’m probably leaving out something important, but I think you can get the gist of my gratitude. It’s not every day that someone takes as much time as you do to rectify all of my clearly preposterous beliefs and assumptions.
I’m only sorry that you did not get the chance to enlighten me on abortion and gay marriage.
Maybe next time…
Mrs. Cap’n Firepants
Well, thanks Lance Armstrong and Te’o Guy Who I Never Heard of Before this Week. You guys just totally ruined my chances of ever being published.
First of all, Armstrong completely derailed my own plans to take steroids (they boost your writing skills, too, right?) for the next decade, enabling me to become the best writer ever, and end up confessing my sins to Oprah.
Then, Te’o Guy Who I Never Heard of Before this Week had to fall in love with a non-existent girlfriend who tragically died. Except she didn’t. Because she wasn’t alive in the first place. (I’m still trying to find out how exactly he discovered she was dead. I mean, did she tweet “I have died from leukemia”, or post it on her Facebook status, or what?)
Taken right from the first chapter of my current novel under construction. I swear.
And then that lottery winner inconsiderately died of cyanide poisoning, which completely discourages me from trying to make my millions that way.
To top it all off, someone apparently stole my idea for a new invention – the iPotty. And I’m pretty sure they stole it from my very own brain, because I never actually voiced it or put it on paper. So, that means that they obviously have another invention which Steals Invention Ideas from the Brains of People Who Don’t Know What the Heck to Do With Them.
So, now I am not merely crestfallen due to all of these recent events, but I’m slightly concerned that someone is stalking my brain for invention ideas and everyone is going to make millions from them except me. The stalking my brain does not disturb me. It is the everyone making millions from my ideas except me part which is highly depressing.
Plus, I feel a little deprived that I did not have my own iPotty when I was learning to defecate somewhere other than in my drawers. And my child did not have one, either. And even if I had another child now, he or she could not have one. Because we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Because we have no money. BECAUSE LANCE ARMSTRONG CONFESSED TO OPRAH THAT HE HAS BEEN USING STEROIDS.
I hope you’re satisfied, Lance Armstrong. If you would like to begin to compensate me for my suffering, you could start by introducing me to Oprah. Or Jon Stewart.
Holy Sith! I am 3 posts away from my big Blogiversary. How did this happen? How did time go by so suddenly?
How do I not have a Big Party planned?
I had every intention of doing something totally wild. Completely different. Now, here I am with no plans, no ideas, and no creativity left in my body after nearly one whole year of blogging every single day.
And, to top all of that off, I have completed absolutely nothing on my blogging bucket list. I still don’t have buzzillion subscribers, no publisher or agent has offered me a contract, AND MY DOG STILL PEES IN THE HOUSE! I have not made one ounce of progress in 362 days. And I doubt things will change in the next 3.
On the other hand, I accomplished plenty of things that were not on my list.
- My professional blog, which I do not promote at all in the blogosphere, had more hits each day of last week than this one. I did not post at all on my professional blog last week. Not once. And people still read it more than this one. Yep. That stings.
- My bulldog, Wonderbutt, has learned how to text. It’s quite phenomenal, but David Letterman still has not invited either one of us to appear on “Stupid Pet Tricks”. Big mistake, Letterman. We’re talking goldmine, Baby.
- If I yell, “Cap’n Firepants!” in the house, my husband will know that I am talking to him. And, come running. Because he does not want to be negatively reflected on my blog. I’m sure he is wishing now that we had drawn up a Pre-Nuptial Agreement that specifically forbade me to blog. And denied me a driver’s license. He hates my driving. Worse than my blogging. He would happily change the name on his driver’s license to Mr. Cap’n Firepants if I promised to never drive again. Maybe.
- My daughter, Dimples, yells, “And you can’t put that on your blog,” immediately after she does anything that might be perceived as embarrassing. I tell her, “That wasn’t in our Pre-Natal Agreement.” She doesn’t know what the heck I’m talking about. Which is actually not a new problem, unfortunately.
- I figured out where Malawi is, because I have exactly one reader there. Moni, Amayi. That is supposed to mean, “Hello, Madam” in Malawi. I think. If it means something crude, I apologize.
- I am mad at David Sedaris. At a local appearance, he told an audience member who asked for advice on becoming a writer, “Write every day.” I now realize that this does, indeed, make me a writer. But NOT A PAID ONE. I think that was implied in the question, Mr. Sedaris. I mean, I know you’re probably sick of that question, and you don’t want to give away any major secrets, but I think you could give us a bit more direction than that. Sheesh. That would be like someone asking me, “What should I do to become a teacher?”, and me saying, “Teach your dog how to text.” No, that’s a bad analogy. BECAUSE YOU WOULD MAKE MONEY IF YOU TAUGHT YOUR DOG TO TEXT!!!!
So, now that I have spent a year filling the wrong dang bucket, I guess I need to decide if I am going to dump it out and start over – or just look for a new bucket. Or just put the bucket over my head and bang it against the wall. Yeah, that sounds good.
“I hate Jenny Lawson.”
“You hate your Maid of Honor?” my husband, the Honorable Cap’n Firepants asked.
“O.K. Wrong Lawson, dude. Don’t you even remember my Maid of Honor’s first name?”
Quickly sidestepping that land mine, the Cap’n said, “Well, who is this Lawson you hate?”
“She is a writer. And I hate her.”
“I think we’ve established that. Care to explain why?”
“First of all, she had a crazy childhood.”
“So did you.”
“But hers was a happy, crazy childhood. And funny. And she lives in Texas.”
“In the Hill Country.” This will make the Cap’n hate her, too. He has always wanted to move to the Hill Country. “Where vultures try to resurrect your buried dead pets and scorpions invade your attic.”
“That doesn’t sound so good.” Although he did kind of perk up at the dead pet part. There are moments when he does not have kind thoughts toward Wonderbutt, our Bulldog who Ate the World.
“It’s funny! Well, the pet dying part was not funny. I cried. But she made it funny. That’s why I hate her. And she uses profanity indiscriminately.”
“Well I’m glad she does not use discriminating profanity.”
“Haha. Seriously. She is hysterical.”
“So, what I’m getting here is that she wrote a book that made you laugh and so you now hate her.”
“Exactly. Plus she collects taxidermied animals that are dressed up. How am I supposed to compete with that?” Again, Cap’n Firepants seems to brighten with a thought.
“It sounds like you’re jealous,” he says after a moment, perhaps thinking that is a better thing to say than, “Wonderbutt would make a fine tuxedoed and taxidermied collectible.”
And this is where the conversation ended. Not because I threw a deadly scorpion at Cap’n Firepants and a starving vulture ate his carcass. Though I seriously thought about it.
Only because this conversation did not really happen, except in my head. And I really hate it when I can’t even control the conversations in my head enough to make myself look good.
If you are interested in hating Jenny Lawson, too, I highly recommend her book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.
(And by the way, Crash, thanks for texting me today that I should read this book – which I finished this weekend, laughing so hard that I was crying – and then not saying anything like, “She’s just as funny as you” or “You could totally write a book like that”. Instead, you just said, “We thought r life was crazy.”)
(And by the way, Parents-in-New-Jersey, you are not the crazy set of childhood memories to which we are referring. Thank you for reading my blog and not being crazy. Although, if you were crazy, I might be able to make a lot of money off of the stories. Now I just have to do it the hard way and make up my own stories. Don’t worry, though. I’ll just make them up about Crash and Cap’n Firepants – not you.)
(And by the way, People Who Might Read Jenny Lawson’s Book, I would probably advise you not to read the iBook edition on your iPad while you are sitting in the middle of a group of parents at your daughter’s dance class. Particularly if it is the chapter entitled, “My Vagina is Fine. Thanks for Asking.” People look at you funny. And not in a good way.)
Sometimes I imagine, when my toe begins to itch in the middle of the night, that I am an international spy who is being tortured for information, and I must resist, at all costs, the urge to give it all up. I last about 5 seconds.
When my daughter sings the same five words from a song over and over again, I again imagine that I am a spy being tortured – but in this case I have no information to give up.
Sometimes I imagine that I am a gifted singer singing a duet with Adam Levine on my car radio, and that a recording executive happens to be in the car next to me and will do anything to get my name, including executing foolish maneuvers on the road to get my attention. I am the only one driving insanely.
Conversely, I also like to imagine that I am a horrible singer and that my voice has completely paralyzed the stalker who is crouched in the back of my car.
When I buy a toy for a future birthday/holiday, etc… and hide it in my closet, I imagine a family member discovering it after I’ve died from a tragic accident (perhaps when the recording executive cut me off in his zeal to sign me to a record contract) and crying hysterically over my thoughtfulness.
When I fling a piece of laundry into the closet, missing the hamper, I imagine a family member discovering bits of lingerie and various stages of embarrassing fat pants in the nooks and crannies of my closet after I’ve died from a ridiculous freak accident (like jumping in front of a recording executive’s car so he would sign me to a record contract) and posting the evidence of my slovenliness on FaceBook.
I don’t use FaceBook. One reason is that whenever I imagine myself as a famous dead author, I worry that people will hunt down my Facebook posts and invent elaborate explanations of my writing from the seemingly boring pictures of my mundane existence.
Whenever I reflect on my prosaic life story, I imagine that I would make a great spy because seemingly boring people are perfect undercover operatives.
Then I try to go to sleep and my toe begins to itch.
Note to self: Do NOT EVER AGAIN Look Up “Big Toe” on Google Images. Gross!!!!!!
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7876912@N07/6439755299/”>bubjay</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>
OK. Don’t panic. Do. Not. Panic.
Stop! Why are you panicking? Did I not just tell you DON’T PANIC?!!!!
Yeah. I know. It didn’t work with me either.
I don’t know what you’re not panicking about. But here is my most recent disaster.
I tried to put on my jeans yesterday, and they did not fit.
I kind of suspected that day was coming, but it was still a pretty tough blow when it happened.
So, I panicked.
But nobody knew it. I inner-panicked. That is my clever way of secretly panicking without anyone knowing. It requires great will-power. Almost as much will-power as not eating so much that one goes up a pants size.
No tantrums or tears. No boxing up my entire closet to truck on over to Goodwill.
Just a very quiet panic while I looked for some more forgiving jeans that say they are the same size, but obviously can’t be because they fit fine.
Finding the forgiving jeans helped to reduce the major panic to a slightly less heart-attack inducing one. Slightly.
I know why this happened. When I first started this blog, I posted an article about my desire to be a writer. The post was entitled, “I Might Get Fat.”
And I did.
Granted, I have not become a published awriter. And I have not quit my job. Two of the contributing factors to my then future fear of getting fat. But, don’t you think the fact that I predicted something happening and it has now happened is more than just a mere coincidence?
Maybe, it is the fault of my Irritating Bogus Diagnosis that has absolutely no medical explanation but continues to make my life miserable, changing my once fairly consistent diet into some wild roller coaster ride of experimental foods as I continue my quest for something that won’t nauseate or constipate me.
Or, maybe it’s because whenever I feel like panicking, I internalize it, and I am now bloating up with all of those undigested panics.
Perhaps, it is a sympathy weight gain to show my love for my dear bulldog, Wonderbutt, who tips the scales at 65 pounds, about 250 pounds more than he is supposed to weigh, apparently.
Who cares? When a tsunami flattens your house and you are clinging to an indestructible, eco-friendly, buoyant dog toy for dear life, do you waste your time wondering why this happened?
I must come up with a Plan.
On the bright side, I don’t have to worry about quitting my job to be a writer making me fat since I already am. Fat, I mean. Not a writer. Well, I am a writer. Just not paid for it.
I shall ponder that while I eat my Hostess Ding Dong. Hey, at least I’m not filing for bankruptcy. Because that was totally unforeseeable during these health trendy times…
In this unprecedented, one time only offer, I am giving you the opportunity of a lifetime! Although I pointed out yesterday that you must subscribe to my Premium On Demand Package in order to question or criticize me, I am going to make an exception this once. I need your help in determining which post I should enter in a Humor Essay contest. I’ve culled through my 173 posts so far, and come up with the sadly short list below of possibilities. If any of them seem humorous, could you please vote for it? Also, I have given you the option to fill in your own comment. You could use this to make your own post suggestion, or you could use it to question or criticize me. I will take your comments under careful consideration.
Why, you may ask, would you want to fill in my silly form instead of just entering a comment below? Well, because if you fill in the form, you will be rewarded with the name of the contest I am entering. I think this is highly selfless of me, since you will probably want to then enter the contest yourself. Or, you could just call it a bribe.
Here are direct links to the chosen few in case you would like to review them:
I am trying to type this with a sixty-five pound bulldog in my lap. A snoring bulldog. Who does not make a very good iPad stand. If it weren’t for my perpetually vigilant autocorrect, these sentences would be gibberish. In fact, I was going to turn the autocorrect off so you could see what kind of handicap I’m working under, but I can’t find it, and I’m having trouble focusing because of the gas cloud that just wafted up to my nose.
I’m pretty sure if this continues, I am going to either have to stop blogging, get surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome, or succumb to the fumes altogether one night.
Aforementioned bulldog has recently developed an intense sense of entitlement, and I am apparently the chosen Entitler.
After my day is supposedly done, demands of students and family all met, I blog. It usually happens around 9:00 at night when I finally set my butt into the desk chair hoping to get an extended period of time absent of questions or pleas for attention.
Lately, that time hasn’t been too extended.
Wonderbutt, with the keen perception of pretty much everyone else in my life, knows that I am trying to fit in some alone time. Naturally, he believes if I am not busy with anyone else, it must be time for me to spend time with him. So, he waits by the gate to the Forbidden Section of the house, hoping I will cross over any moment.
This is what I imagine he is thinking:
Any moment. Any moment…
O.K. I’ve waited long enough (a whole five minutes). Time to notify the Lady of the House I am expecting her presence. Now.
And so, Wonderbutt makes a few, well-spaced plaintive comments about how long I am making him wait. Afraid he will wake up Dimples or aggravate Cap’n Firepants, landing me back on square one in the Family Needs Met department, I make a mental note of my blog topic, grab my iPad, and hop over the gate. Sometimes I fall over the gate. I’m not very nimble any more. Well, ever.
Wonderbutt cheerfully follows me to the living room, sits expectantly by the couch, and watches me sit. When my leg placement finally meets his approval, he hops up, curls himself into a semicircle, plops his paw on my knee and his head on my leg, and goes to sleep.
I am well aware that I am coddling him, creating a monster, etc…
But I like it. I can’t figure out why. If one more human being needed me today, I would probably scream. But I find Wonderbutt’s need comforting for some reason I can’t explain.
I am trying to relearn how to type with one finger. I haven’t done that since I was in elementary school. Typical of Wonderbutt to make me regress.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you have been finding my most recent posts to be somewhat lacking in quality, I would like to blame Wonderbutt for forcing me to work in less than ideal working conditions.
And if you haven’t noticed any difference, well just carry on and pretend you never saw this.