Saturday, July 03, 2004


I Thought You Had Hidden Depths. No...I Really Am This Shallow. What Movie?

I don’t know if you can see this or not. And whatever it was I was planning to write about has slipped my mind. So I’ll start with the first part, and see where things go. If I click my little bookmark to my page, it loads up and it says done down at the bottom, but all that comes up is that ad at the top there. Everything else is blank. Not just an empty template, I mean completely blank. It only fills one screen, there’s nothing to scroll down to. So that’s what I see, or don’t see, when I go to my page. However. When I’m in the little behind the scenes area, with the editing and the posting and all that, all of the posts are still listed. Even my little test post. What I still don’t know is whether or not other people can see it. I can still visit other sites, and I can visit other pages on my hosting service here.

Why do I even bother writing this? If my page is broken, what’s the point? Well I just don’t know for sure if it’s broken for everyone else, and if other people can see it, I want to let them know what’s happening. I may be wrong, and I may be wasting my time, but I’ll take the chance. Gotta have faith. Of course, it takes a whole lotta faith. I not only have to worry about whether or not you can see this post, I have to worry about whether or not anyone is even there to see it. I mean, has anyone looked at any of this? Should that even matter? The Germans came back. More later maybe. Ok it’s later now. Obviously the secret hope is that someone, or maybe lots of someones, will read it and like it. But there has to be more to it than ego, right? I mean, acquiring fans must be the shallowest reason for doing something like this. Which means it’s perfect for me. What about immortality? Leaving something of yourself behind to mark your passage? Kinda the same thing, except your fans are in a rather more distant future. Of course, this is where people who complain about sell-outs get it wrong. Just because lots of people like something, doesn’t mean that that something is somehow diminished, or less worthy. The reverse is also true; just because only a few people like something doesn’t mean that that something is somehow greater, or more worthy. Doesn’t mean it’s crap either. I’m just saying. What, exactly? I seem to be saying it’s shallow to want lots of readers, but that having lots of readers is not necessarily a bad thing. Doesn’t quite seem to make sense. How about this? It’s nice to have lots of fans. They can keep you going. But you should write as if no one will ever read it. Ahhhh! Literary critic, criticize thyself. I don’t exactly follow my own advice on this blog. You know what I mean.

And that’s what makes a small group of fans special. They’re sometimes referred to as cult followings. It’s a smaller fan base, but fan for fan, the cult following is much more enthusiastic about the object of the following. I just said you know what I mean up there. If I had a cult following, they would know what I mean. They’d know what I meant when I said the Germans came back. Let me give you a broader example. Seinfeld was on for a long time, maybe around ten years. In addition to the core cast, there were also a large number of memorable recurring, and even one-shot, characters. Many of these characters appeared in the final episode. For a big fan of the show, it was like a family reunion. But if someone had never watched Seinfeld, and saw only the final episode, it probably would have been confusing and a little disappointing. That’s because Seinfeld had continuity. Gilligan’s Island did not. Did you see the episode where Skipper talked about how such and such a circumstance reminded him of the time with the volcano? Neither did I. Every episode was a stand-alone.

As long as I’m on the subject, I don’t watch Gilligan’s Island anymore. I loved watching it in syndication when I was a kid, but it just doesn’t seem to hold up. I figure if I don’t watch it anymore, I can enjoy my fuzzy fond recollections. Wow. I just realized that in some ways this is similar to the Princess Wolfie situation. Maybe later. In fact, this whole paragraph should be an ask me later. But you’ll definitely have to ask me later if you want to hear how the Skipper was a Homer Simpson prototype.

So where was I? Oh yeah. Sometimes they make a novelization of a movie. Instead of a movie loosely based on a book, you have a book that is an exacting retelling of the movie. Remind me later to tell you what the Rolling Stones and Peter Jackson have in common. Anyway, if they novelized Seinfeld and Gilligan’s Island, you’d have two very different books. The Seinfeld book would be, well, like a novel. The Gilligan book would read like a bunch of short stories. I guess either approach has its merits, but I prefer the Seinfeld approach. For me, that final episode of Seinfeld was like a reward. Every face I recognized from the past was like an attaboy for being a good fan. My efforts paid off. And now we’re back to ego again.

But cult ego is not the same as personal ego. Personal ego is something like bragging about how many girls you slept with in college. This is just an example. I do not have a braggable number. I could have said bragging about college GPA. Also not a braggable number. Or being the best accountant at my office. Why am I fixated on numbers? Cult ego is narrower. It’s mostly knowledge based. The cult follower knows about something that mere mortals do not. The cult follower has ten albums from a band no one else has ever heard of. I think the thrill of the secret is what keeps them going. When everyone else starts liking your secret band, it’s like they’re stealing from you. They might as well be sleeping with your girlfriend. I think I was going to say something up there about how using the word cult didn’t mean that this blog is some kind of nefarious cult, but what the hell. Join my cult. Join my cult. Join my cult.

I mentioned immortality up there somewhere. Probably the easiest way to get it is to have kids. Of which I have none. I have sort of surrogate kids. Not that way. Ok look. My parents divorced, and both remarried. My dad had three kids with Wifey 2. I’ll get a better name for her soon. These are Special K, Code Name Eagle, and Little D. I also have my cousin’s kids. What is that relationship called? My brother’s son is my nephew. What is my cousin’s son called? Anyway, my cousin has three kids as well. Join my cult. I’m old enough to be the father of all of these kids except Special K. It’s kinda perfect. I get all the benefits of having kids with none of the burdens. I go to birthdays, holidays, graduations. I can spoil them. I get to buy annoying toys that make noise. Hey that’s a nice onomatopoeia. Which brings up author’s intent again. Ask me later. I don’t listen to them cry, punish them, drive them everywhere, have to stay home cause I can’t find a sitter. Well shut my mouth and call me Grandpa! Join my cult. I’ve got the grandparent role. I’ve usurped it. Yay me! And think of all the money I’m saving. And all of that is just the icing. The poison cake underneath is that I don’t think I’d be a very good parent. But who wants to admit that? The sick thing is that other people think I would be a great parent. Do they think this cause at family gatherings I’d usually rather play with the kids than hang out with the grown-ups? What can I say? I like toys. Does that mean I’d be a good parent? Does it somehow foreshadow me spending lots of quality time with a child of my own? I don’t know. Join my cult. I just don’t think I’d have the patience. You already know I’m the sort that doesn’t have a predisposition against being a hermit. Hell I practically live it on my days off. I swear, if I have more than four days off, it gets all Lord of the Flies in here. Look, if a kid was plunked down in my lap, I would feel imposed upon. Sure, maybe it’s different when it’s your own child. Or is it? At least you have nine months to get used to the idea. But if I can’t answer that question, would it really be a good idea to have a child and just hope I would feel differently? A little risky for such high stakes. A person can be confident, but can anyone be 100% sure they’ll be a good parent? Join my cult. Probably most parents wonder if they’re doing as well as they could. I am much less sure than most. When I think of these things, this is usually as far as I go. God, I hate onions, but let’s keep peeling away the layers. Have I just said all that so I don’t have to admit that I don’t think anyone would want to have a child with me? And do I really want kids, but can’t admit it to myself because of that last question? I only bring this up because a couple of weeks ago, for the first time, I thought to myself it might be nice to have a kid. Do men have biological clocks? Sometimes I think I’m a shrink’s wet dream.

Well, I don’t know if this is what I was planning to write about, but it’s a little piece of something I guess. Join my cult.
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