Perhaps you wonder what the glamorous life of a blogger is like. Perhaps you wonder how I come up with the many fascinating topics I poke at like a dissected frog five days a week in this space. Perhaps you think, “I could do that, and get a few hundred unique visitors at a blog about nothing.”
Reader, you could. You want a shot at guest-blogging here? Maybe leading to a permanent spot? It could be arranged. God knows I could use a longer weekend.
Seriously, though, it’s one of those mornings where I wonder if J.C. will write me a program that keeps track…not just of posts, but maybe of total words published here. I’m thinking it has to average out to 3,000 a week, times 52… 156,000 words, or roughly two books’ worth a year. All over my morning coffee. This is either madness or graphomania, and maybe the same thing.
Last summer one of my blog fans said, “Surely there’s a book in this.” I said, “Yes, I’m sure people will buy a highly perishable product between hard covers that was previously — and still is — available free in 700-word chunks online.” But columnists still publish anthologies, don’t they? True, but I never buy those. Or rather, I buy them when they’re published by friends. And my favorites have been the ones vanity-published by friends, or on presses so small they might as well have been. Occasionally I still pick up those produced by Mike Harden, for my money still the best newspaper columnist you never heard of, a generalist out of the Jim Bishop mold, still writing in the Columbus Dispatch from retirement. I used to read his collected works when I was out of ideas myself, and over time got to where I can even recite chunks from memory. He once wondered what would happen if the great poets had labored on Madison Avenue. Like, for instance, James Whitcomb Riley:
When de frost is in de fuel line
And de DieHard’s kind o’ dead
And you 50 miles from nowhere
With icicles on yo’ head
You’ll be wishin’ an’a hopin’
As yo’ shoes fill up with snow
Dat you’d bought it at Sohio,
And let dem pay de tow.
That’s a joke only middle-aged Buckeyes would get. Sohio’s gasoline offered Ice-Guard ™ protection. No fuel-line freeze-up, or Sohio pays your tow. They sponsored the weather report on every radio station in town, always with that promise. Only once in my life did my car stop running in a cold snap, and I wondered, briefly, if I might have fuel-line freeze-up. How, exactly, would I go about collecting my reimbursement from Sohio? Would I have to prove that was Sohio gas in the tank? I paid cash for gas; surely they’d fight me. And then I’d have to provide testimony by a certified mechanic that yes, it was fuel-line freeze-up that had caused my car to stop on U.S. 33 between Lancaster and Athens, probably in some sort of legal deposition, and by the time it was all over, I’d get a few lousy bucks to cover just the towing charge. What a ripoff, and…
I twisted the key again. Car started right up. Reverie over.
No, one footnote:
Sohio became Amoco. Amoco became? Yes: BP. Sohio was swallowed by BP. I will always miss their logo:
That cup was given to me by a fellow Buckeye, and I gave it to J.C., another fellow Buckeye.
And now I have bored the pants clean off you, and it’s time to get to the bloggage:
Jack Russell Terriers — little bastards. That story is equal parts hilarious and tragic, but at the end it’s about how a Jack Russell can chew off his owner’s goddamn toe, and still end up the hero.
Wife suspects something’s going on, finds out her husband has another wife and family. How? How else? Via Facebook.
Speaking of which, if you’re not reading the Wall Street Journal’s series on internet privacy — rather, the lack thereof — you’re missing a chance to get simultaneously terrified and infuriated. Particularly today.
And now, I should go do some real work. Maybe write a book.