Saturday, February 29, 2020
My first billion dollars
I was doing some dishes after a long day of doing, well, not much, and I was thinking about how I could reach more people with this blog, clerkmanifesto. The fact of the matter is that I have an increasingly tiny readership that somehow defies the odds to ever grow smaller. I write mercurial takes on issues that have captured the imagination of sometimes nobody, and sometimes millions of people, but either way most people are really not the least bit interested.
This never ceases to amaze me.
I will consider absolutely anything that will explain this state of affairs with one minuscule, insignificant exception:
That what I write isn't all that good or compelling.
And yet, mysteriously, with that taken off the table I can't quite get anything else to stick, if you know what I mean, which, if you're reading this, you probably do, but if you're not reading this, you probably don't.
There are a lot of people not reading this.
So I was standing there, using way too much soap, and water was just plummeting uselessly down the sink drain, and I was considering how I could bridge the gap from me, and what I write here, to an extremely uninterested world. And I got a great idea.
The problem, I decided, with what I write is that even though it's short, usually, and sassy and clever, it's also kind of complicated and odd. It comes at a person in a grand stack of dense layers. "Aha!" The reader exclaims "Underneath what he says here is this fascinating meaning!" Which is followed by them saying "And this fascinating meaning is actually a joke, which is not funny, on purpose, to mock this meaning." The reader puzzles out. "And the mocked meaning points to this real meaning, which suggests, YES, the original meaning was the right one all along, but at a much deeper level!"
They take a breath. "Brilliant!" They conclude. "I look forward to never reading this writer ever again!"
That's one of the best case scenarios.
The normal scenario is probably something closer to "Ew. A bunch of words."
So my brilliant, amazing idea was that along with my regular blogpost, that just you and a few other people read, I could write a version just for the Internet, a popular version. The popular version would reduce the seven paragraphs down to a single sentence. The sentence would abridge the meaning of my content to an accessible "yelled anonymously from the back of the classroom" level. The humor quotient would be punched up, but also simplified. And anything too confrontational and not confrontational enough would be removed.
I was pretty excited right up to the point that I realized I'd invented twitter 14 years after the fact.