Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Come On, Apron, Make it Hurt So Good
"Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody."
Samuel Langhorne Clemens
People are funny, and some of the things they do are even funnier. If you don't believe me, watch YouTube. Or reality television. Or scripted television. Or your neighbors.
One of the funny things, I think, that people do is blog. Since I've sometimes been described throughout my life as "funny" I guess it stands to reason that I'd be one of those people out there, doing that funny thing. According to Wikipedia, which is only wrong when it's really important, there are approximately 156 million public blogs in existence. Of course, not all of them are funny-- intentionally or by accident, and not every blogger is funny.
This, obviously, doesn't mean that there are 156 million bloggers out there, because lots of bloggers write multiple blogs. One blogger might have a personal essay blog, a Hamburger Helper-based recipe blog, a Kama Sutra position blog, a Dow Jones Industrial Average blog, and a Davy Jones celebrity-follower blog. I tried to find out how many bloggers there are in 2011, and it wasn't really going anywhere, so I was like, eh-- fuck that.
A lot of personal blogs out there may look a lot like a lot of other personal blogs out there, but I suspect that the motivation behind creating a personal blog is very different for one blogger as opposed to the motivation stemming from another blogger. As I said earlier, people do funny things in life, and I wonder sometimes whether, if we knew the reasons behind their actions, would their actions be more funny, or less?
If you asked me what my motivation was to create my first blog, back in 2008, and then this one, in March of 2009, I'm sure I could spout off some horseshit that might convince you that I knew what my motivation was, but, really, I don't think I knew. And I don't think that I know, either. I've been giving it some thought, though, of late, and while I don't really know what my original motivation was, I think I'm beginning to see why continuing it is so attractive, so seductive, so important to me.
After doing this approximately 905 times, I'm starting to understand something about this space here that I didn't understand before. Forest for the trees, let's say. Here, I have a voice. Now, don't get me wrong-- in life, too, I have a voice. Light-baritone, actually. And the voice I have in life is soft and quiet-- it's patient to a fault, perhaps, with everybody but me, and it's afraid to be used too much, or too loudly. This voice is occasionally sarcastic, it's sometimes inappropriate, but only when I'm reasonably sure that sardonic comments won't be misconstrued, or taken badly, or reported to some sort of authority. The thing about the voice I use in life-- the voice that's attached to my face and my body and my sound is that it is hardly ever capable of hurting people.
I've hurt people before-- mostly, though, I'm realizing, through the written word. That's always where my balls have been, and it's not the anonymous, avatar-driven nature of the internet that's to blame-- I've been like that for a long, long time. When I was thirteen to about age sixteen, I wrote angry letters-- to Kraft Foods, Inc., Franklin Mint, Stiftung Mozarteum in Salzburg (don't ask). Vile and vitriol, printed out loudly in faded ink on thin, dot-matrix paper. There were also letters, and, later, emails to friends. Painful ones, angry ones, frustrated ones. Then, God invented the text message. "Thank you, God," as Basil Fawlty says, "thank you so bloody much."
But I've rarely hurt people with my voice. Because I'm scared to be that which scares me-- a bully, a tyrant, someone who wields power over others. And I suppose this blog, slick with sarcasm and snark and cruelty, is an outlet for anger, rage, frustration, despair and pain-- which is so much of what comedy is comprised of, if you think about it.
Just ask Mark Twain-- he'd tell you, if he could.