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Monday, June 6, 2016

8,180


That’s the number of people who checked in to read “Eight Days To Amish” in May.

It’s second only to the 8,544 who registered in April 2010 after a history website flattered (and linked) to my story about Boston Corbett, America’s most famous eunuch and the man who killed the man who killed Abraham Lincoln.

That seemed like a freak. The month before I’d had only 3,681 readers.

This seems more authentic because I regularly get between 5,000 and 7,500 readers a month.

For an enigmatically named blog with no apparent purpose, the number seems substantial. I’ve been to Pirate games with fewer fans.

And 8,180 is just 1,820 soldiers shy of a division. And one division (well, give or take) was all Gen. Ulysses S. Grant needed to take Vicksburg.

Anyone want me to lead them to Vicksburg? If we get there by Wednesday we can be there in time for the festive arrival of the American Queen riverboat.

Grant’s requisitions included horses, arms and about 3,000 pounds of army hardtack.

All I ask is everyone bring a 12-pack!

Of course, how different will 10,000 blog readers be to 10? I still get paid the same.

And that’s, yikes, zero.

But to calculate it in those cold-blooded bottom-line terms would be to disparage you and one of my central tenets to living.

You because this blog, I guess, is of some soulful value. You look forward to reading it. You tell friends they have to check it out. I hear it all the time. 

In fact, it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to go anyplace in Latrobe where I don’t run into some stranger who recognizes me from this blog.
They tell me they love it. It makes them very happy. 

Then there was the time last fall when I was giving a speech at Penn State and was introduced by a cheerful stranger. Most of the people who introduce me merely use what’s on the back of my “Use All The Crayons!” book. That’s fine.

And that’s what this gentleman did. Then he started to freelance.

“I have to tell you about his ‘Eight Days To Amish’ blog,” he said. “It’s the funniest thing on the web. If I’m having a bad day I stop what I’m doing and I read Chris’s blog. It makes me feel better. It makes me happy again. It makes me feel like I can go on.”

Honest, about 75 percent of the time when I sit down to write 700 or so words for this four or five times a week it feels like a colossal waste of time.

Or it used to. 

Now I think of that guy (and many of you) when I start feeling that way. How could I quit something that means so much to so many?

He was the inspiration for the line I now use in all my presentations about colorful living:

“Do something you love to do each and every day just because it’s something you love to do each and every day.”

It could be gardening, making time for friends, reading, painting or playing with a cat or grandchild.

Don’t be dismissive of it if it’s something that adds no value to your financial worth. If it enriches your soul that’s reason enough.

With me, it’s writing.

And, by God, I think one of these days it’s going to pay off. Even a sourpuss pessimist would find it impossible to ignore all the good vibes.
There’s a positive buzz building about the books, the blog and my talks. 

I hope you’ll consider adding to it by telling friends to read the blog and buy the books.

Note the distinction:

I can’t get people to pay for the blog so I’m desperate for them to read it.

But I really don’t give a hoot if people read “Last Baby Boomer” as long as they buy it. 

I’m kidding, of course. I’m eager for everyone to read every word I write. It’d be great, sure, if they’d pay for them, too, but in this world where major publications can’t figure out how to make a dime from web content let’s keep it real.

I apologize for starting off the week with a discussion of numbers and money, but the 8,180 seemed worth noting.

It’s funny because the only number that really matters in this exchange is the smallest one we can name.

It’s the no. 1.

And that’s you.

Thanks for reading. 

See you in Vicksburg!


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