Why bother blogging?
At times that question runs through my head. I could do a lot more constructive things, I've two sinks to replace, six doors to finish painting, LOTS of yardwork to accomplish. It used to be I needed the time and the money. First the money was the problem, then the time. Now the only holdups are concerned with time but I could alleviate that fairly quickly by turning off the computer and walking away.
I'm nowhere in the league of Creative Minority Report, Little Green Footballs, etc. I just own a very small piece of the background static that those blogs and others like them in the big leagues frame their voices against.
But every once in a while, not at all often, I get an "attaboy". I get a thanks from someone I may have written about who relates their particular problem has been resolved and I was the only one to voice sympathy while it was ongoing. I get a "kuddos" from someone who is usually a lot more perceptive than I, who missed a small crumb falling off the table of public information, a crumb that helps frame an argument or thought for others.
I also occasionally get some hate email from various quarters. Depending on the circumstances and the author of the email, that also can be quite satisfying.
So thats why.
Whats the purpose of this exercise in narcissistic navelgazing? Well I often run across various bloggers who post the same question this rant started with. It's difficult to see how any of this really makes a difference, especially when you're probably sitting in your pajamas at a keyboard for a lot longer than you may have intended. It's discouraging when you just seem to shout into an echo chamber and quite often there isn't much of an echo coming back at you. You see the world going to Hell, you feel all you can do is piss, moan and groan and even that doesn't seem too productive. Screw it. Time to paint the back fence.
So I'm trying to pass on what works as a personal philosophy for me. Because I think we might be more important in the aggregate than we would assume. I believe every voice, no matter how small, eventually adds up to a whole that is greater than the mere sum of it's parts.
For whatever a personal anecdote is worth, here's mine:
Several years ago, while still living in Connecticut, I was deeply involved in 12 Step work in AA. For those unfamiliar with it, I'm talking about being on call for all hours of the day and night so if an alkie somewhere in the area needs help they get it. Most of the times it involves those just finding their way into the program. You get a call from somebody who just knows what the letters "AA" stand for, found the 1-800 number in the phone book and called because he's ready to try to stop drinking. Hopefully it leads to a more intimate acquaintance with the AA program, followed by successfully putting down the drink for a very long period, all of it one day at a time.
I was a complete failure in getting anyone interested.
I'd take calls to parts of the city I lived in where the cabbies refused to go after sundown. I'd go off to areas I didn't know existed in the Nutmeg State. I worked with people who were under serious psychiatric treatment in addition to their drinking problems. No go, they all left and went back to the bottle.
According to conventional AA wisdom, if you go on a 12 Step call and YOU stay sober then it still counts as a success. Sorry, I wanted someone else to benefit also. I found my way out of my particular corner of alkie Hell, I really felt others deserved that chance too and I wanted to help. Because thats what you do, you help others as you were helped. No luck.
But there came a night....
I was at a meeting on the local sub base, in the audience just kicking back and soaking in everything that was going on. Various people spoke up, giving their take on how they stayed sober. Typical meeting. Then a young husky black guy on the other side of the room spoke and said, "It's because of YOU I got sober last year." He was pointing in my direction, there was no one seated in front of me so I turned around.
"Yeah, it was you!" he said louder and with a jab of the finger. "You sat up there in the speaker's chair and told your story. You were everything I hated and I just looked at you with that hate. Then it hit me. You didn't care."
"You didn't care because you weren't still drinking like I was. You were actually living your life. My hate had no effect. You were happy and would stay that way. Because you were sober."
"Because of that example I started thinking about things and it's why I'm here tonight."
Well fuck me to tears Albertha, I didn't see THAT one coming!
So here's my point. We're just simple bloggers, speaking our minds and finding solace at times in hearing others say the same damned things. Just like a bunch of drunks at an AA meeting. We just reinforce one another at best. We don't visibly change the world. Nobody will hand us the Nobel Peace Prize, a Pulitzer or even a free transistor radio from Japan (I actually won one of those when I was a kid. Back when it meant something besides a historical reference.)
We're just probably gonna keep on keeping on. For every one of us it will sooner or later seem to be an exercise in mental masturbation.
But there might come that one night. The one night when we discover we actually made a difference in a small way.
At times that's what keeps me coming back. Nothing more.
Does there have to be anything more?
Hang in there Buddy! I read you and you do me some good!
Atta boy Chief!
IR, it's mutual!
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