Some thirty-five years ago, my father and I were watching some telethon in which Sammy Davis Jr. was involved. There he stood, in a tuxedo and hand-held mic, casually making small talk after a song. He then mentioned that his “wife was with him this evening.”
Immediately, his one good eye darts to the front section of the audience, and says, “Did somebody say bring her out?” The applause was immediate–giving me the impression the ones applauding were responding to the audible request from the seats.
My dad immediately looked at me and said, “nobody asked for her to come out. He just said that to get her out there.”
Lo and behold, came his wife, dressed to the nines and in no way looking disheveled and caught “off guard.”
I knew right then I was looking at a grade-A ruse. In effect, Sammy had reconstituted the straw man into the straw request. I just didn’t know it had a name yet.
Years later, my wife turns up with this cassette tape in her collection:
Now, I could at this point launch into a rhetorical, manchurian bloodletting about this instrument, but I won’t. I could foot-flip my indignant Louisville Slugger into a one-handed, territorially-xenophobic head-shot about how this instrument needs to get a boarding pass to the bus marked Zydeco and stay there. I could also resurrect the old joke about how “Perfect Pitch” in music is defined when this instrument is tossed into a dumpster without hitting the sides.
But I will demur. Because I’m that kind of guy.
I will say that the term “by request” is again, a clever tactic. It never means “requested by you,” or “requested by someone you know.” It simply means, some existential and presumptively equivalent set of reasonable synapses asked for this. And since they are your presumptive equivalent, your attempts at a logistical veto are frustratingly moot.
“Ah,” I’ll say. “Pop in that tape. Somebody requested it.”
In that spirit, I thought I’d simply engage in a crass rundown of my greatest hits. Most of these don’t even have comments on them because my blog is only a month and a half old. I know this has the whiff of a third-trimester baby piecing together a cumulative “early months” slide show for a maternity roast–but understand–I either do this, or sit around Googling “How do I increase traffic to my blog” in a pathetic search for the magic bullet.
Plus, every blogger I know–long term or otherwise–struggles with the idea that some of our best moments may have happened when we had only ourselves and a few loyal Facebook friends looking at them. And so, instead of trying to find a way to convince a world of distracted refuseniks to navigate the labyrinthine world of my archives, I thought I’d simply go all synoptic and stuff.
In the “pure usefulness” category exists two recent entries. This one concludes that taping an electronic device to your arm like the “patch” might ameliorate screen addiction. Foolish, yes, but a damning indictment of our culture.
Also, in the “Uncluttering my life AND my priorities” category is the post about how, if Jimi Hendrix could burn his material possessions–so can you. And your family will be glad to have you back.
Then, there is my caustic takedown of sanctimonious, medicinal marijuana advocates. This gave me my record traffic day thus far, and a snarky comment from the largest legalization group in the country. Me? I just want my terminology back, that’s all.
Then, I’ve managed to bridge the act of self-promotion with the time I was physically thrown out of a David Copperfield setup crew.
I know. Just read it.
For those whose line of work requires one to rail the “Evidence Based Practice” philosophical hypodermic, I’ve covered a slight and one-off overview of Motivational Interviewing–which is essentially what Mike Brady used to convince Greg to have ANY common sense about the world around him. It is an effective way to keep conversations focused with difficult people, but unfortunately, it’s also been co-opted by law enforcement agencies under the belief that open questions and complex reflections could’ve convinced Hitler not to invade Poland.
Satan showed up as a guest blogger in an exculpatory mission; Justin Beiber is not a horror for which he wants any credit.
It seems that the overt discussion of the writing process, ruminations, plots and protracted plans for a novel does generate interest and followers. And I must admit. When I started this blog, THAT goal was the more latent of them. It has been brought to the surface by other–most of which swerved into my blog like a side rail on a foggy night.
I am capable of emotional introspection, as this reflection about fly fishing with my daughter will show. In fact, it shows who I am at my core.
But I am also a benevolent troller, as seen with my interactions with Merle Haggard fans, Corporate PR departments and and even Ralph Nader.
I guess I’ll leave it at that. I guess I could’ve simply formatted a crude “list,” set up to generate maximum potential for clicks. But at the end of the day, I’m looking to acquire genuine readership–an audience that enjoys this place so much they bookmark it in an automatic regimen.
Thank you, thus far.
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