Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The normal sequence of events is as follows:  I sit down at my desk, rouse my laptop out of its stand-by slumber, hit play on iTunes; take a sip of my water, coffee, cocktail or what have you; then open up a word document.  Typically, what's opened is work in progress, a collection of words that I can’t bring myself to finalize for one reason or another… usually because I’m critical of everything I create, to the point of being neurotic.

Neurotic would actually be putting it lightly.  I’m extremely self-conscious about my writing.  It’s a wonder how it takes anything less than a horde of angels descending upon my front yard, singing praises of my vocabulary, to get me to show any of this to anyone.  Regardless of the celestial beings that may or may not be making a praise-filled pilgrimage to my poorly manicured patch of grass, I still only post approximately one of every eight essays I finish.  Open for criticism and judgment, they appear on any one of my handful of internet nooks, then lay dormant – waiting for attention from anyone.

Even after I "publish" something on here, the next hour and a half is spent going over everything another half-dozen times, finding problems, then quickly editing & updating.  In my creative writing classes during college, I was the one everyone dreaded getting as a "peer editor".

On a side note: I'm convinced the whole "peer editing" thing is a bullshit tactic used by lazy professors.  Hey Prof. WouldTotallyBlowShakespeare, I'm pretty sure I'm not paying hundreds of dollars to have my papers edited by someone who, in all probability, knows a lot less than I do.  My suspicions are confirmed by the lack of further proofreading marks after I handed it in.  You're getting paid here, not us.

Pictured: Proofreading.

Putting aside my hatred for writing professors and bringing you back to the topic at hand... I do not have any works in progress.  Well, none that I’m willing to add to, at least.  My “Writing” folder is lousy with files, ranging from three sentences to ninety pages, most of which will never get finished.  That’s the way it goes with me – I get in the mood to pound out words that pertain to a certain subject, and then lose the urge to carry it further.  Who knows, this string of sentences may end up with the very same fate, as I had no predetermined path when I clicked “New blank document”.

Water in hand, I leaned back into my squeaky office chair and gazed at the blinking cursor that was anxiously waiting in the corner for me to drag it left to right, top to bottom.   A great song came on, so I leaned forward, mouthing “fuck it” it to the inactive screen and began typing with no goal in mind. 

This is a piece without any clear point.  It’s about nothing, the Seinfeld-type Essay.  Many think of this as a free-write, but I say ‘nay’, as I have decided to make it complete and put it online, no matter where I travel with it.  This piece will essentially be a traveler itself, wandering from subject to subject, bothering people on the way.  It will be a rambler; in a literal and metaphorical sense of the word… utilizing its two definitions.  What are they?  Grab a dictionary.  I never claimed to be your teacher.

My lack of creative direction is probably a byproduct of the new habits I've been trying to form.   I've given up the whiskey & cigarettes and replaced them with restrained healthy eating & twice daily encounters with a treadmill.  This machine, I am beginning to hate – a hate that is best described as a dark, evil fury… reserved only for your most guarded nightmares.  I’m sure the other fatties out there can relate.

Yep, this should take care of that "Incline" function...

This internal struggle of mine is my past lifestyle colliding with my present… and the vast difference between the two is making it quite the collision indeed.  There’s an old quip of mine that I used to place here and there, “Sure, I’m a health nut… with the exception of my pack-a-day habit, piss poor diet and love affair with hard liquor”, and I used to think saying that was cute in a twisted kind of way… but something happened to me just before Valentine’s Day that made me slow down and reassess the priorities of my lifestyle.  I was happy that I never let it get to the point of addiction or being a danger to myself or anyone around me… but I knew I should grind it to a halt long before I reached that threshold.  It was time for me to do some growing up.

It was tough to define the scope of the changes I was making to my maturity.  To be on the safe side, I decided to take a break from Facebook also, by shutting my profile off.  On there, I started becoming dependent on what other people thought of me, and how I portrayed myself to them.  Shortly before my self-inflicted social media blackout, I did things like arranging my page in a way that I thought would bring about the most positive attention.  If I posted a status update and it got less than three likes; I viewed it as inadequate, began questioning why I posted it in the first place, and sometimes went as far as deleting it. I’m a modest person by nature, but that damn site was going against everything I felt comfortable with.  Then my comfort level began to change.

Ah, slippery is the slope we call Attention.

It didn’t start out this way.  As a matter of fact, I used to think of that whole site as some kind of colossal joke; evidence of this is displayed in my profile URL: “facebook.com/wiener.caught.in.zipper”.  But soon my attitude toward it evolved into a mild neglect.  Much like a young parent that chooses weekend VIP lists over their child’s literacy, I would merely give it the attention that I was willing to spare for it.  Sadly, as it tends to, the evolution continued.   I later became the overbearing parent to my profile, constantly scrutinizing its every aspect, worried how others would view it.  It was a pathetic time in my life, I was lumped in with all of the other people that needed a stranger’s attention to validate their existence. 

Hop onto YouTube and you can see the archetype top comments, “Thumbs up if you thought of something painfully obvious when you watched this video!!”  If that doesn’t make you nauseous enough, go back to Facebook and check out the pages of popular TV shows.  The walls are covered with people saying, “Like my status if you hate death, child molesting or something else that’s a given with 99.999% of the world’s population!!!”  The pandering for the positive attention of people they’ll never meet is enough to make you ponder the steps of becoming monk that lives with wild, non-internet-using animals.

Dude, that's my lunch! Not cool Tiger, not cool.

I do realize that I’m being hypocritical by turning my nose down at people like that, since I was on my way to joining them just a few weeks ago.  Not to mention, I have three blog sites… so even now, I’m buying into the whole “hey, look at me” culture. To further demonstrate my double-standard, if/when I do turn my profile back on, I’ll end up posting this on it – as a third of the traffic on my websites comes from Facebook.  In reality though, the original reason for my writing has nothing to do with you.  It’s therapeutic; it helps me stay sane, saving me money that I would instead spend on a shrink... or a high-powered rifle, I guess.  That aside, I also enjoy knowing that a good amount of people read what I write.  It gives me a sense of purpose that I rarely have otherwise.

With that being said, I can’t completely cut myself off from online social networking.  Both you and I know, doing that would be heading in the opposite direction of the rest of the world.  I guess the way to approach it is with extreme moderation… eventually.  I don't plan on flipping the Facebook Switch on just yet - it's very relaxing not being plugged into a constant stream of everyone’s thoughts and actions.

I suggest you try it yourself.

Now that you know more about me, learn about the things around me:
Rusty Bolt
Voice of Others