Sunday, September 4, 2011

What you're reading right now

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is it is virtually self-perpetuating.

It used to be pre-internet columnists for newspapers had to maintain a level of consistency or be banished.

“I could write the world’s greatest story today and then I’ll have to wake up tomorrow and write another one just as good or everyone will say I’m slipping.”

That’s what one of my old favorites, the late great Lewis Grizzard, once told me. Thrice married and divorced, he died of a congenital heart defect at just 47.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him the equivalent times he was married and I think one of our interviews exceeded the duration of one of his marriages.

The man was a doozy. And a great writer.

But I think about his point whenever I peek at my stats page and it tells me someone is reading a story I posted from maybe three years ago.

That’s the beauty of writing in the internet age.

To turn Grizzard’s phrase on its head, I could have written the greatest story three years ago, given up writing to sell insurance and today that story could make me famous.

Today our stories are eternal.

I’m reminded of this nearly daily when I see that people trolling the internet have found my blog and mined something I barely remember writing and, bless their hearts, have begun referring it to all their friends.

I thought I’d give you an example and show you the top 10 stories people are reading right now and my thoughts that some of these arbitrary deadbeats are actually starting to make me proud.

I’ll omit a couple of obvious high rankers from the last two weeks.

No. 1 party boy from America’s No. 1 party school, August 2 -- Reaction to this boozy love letter to my Ohio University alma mater has been very gratifying. It got a huge readership right out of the gate and continues to draw near daily readers from all over. I think I was just a bit hungover when I wrote it.

Turn the page: A Bob Seger salute, January 21 -- I could really be onto something if I just picked one cool celebrity and focused laser-like on the subject. Anytime someone googles the great Seger song, “Turn the Page,” or other Seger-related queries, this post pops up.

Even stink bugs need love, September 30, 2010 -- This one continues to plod along and doesn’t stink at all. I thought it had some nice subtle sweetness about how even the lowliest creatures deserve some tenderness. Favorite line: “How can dedicated entymologists be anything but bug-eyed?”

Talking to nudists about Casual Fridays, June 3, 2011 -- I enjoy the daily updates to the newly added “search term of the day” feature up there in the right hand corner of the blog. I thought it would be fun to include some of the oddball ways people find my site. Guaranteed, at least once a day someone finds my site by including some variation of the search term “nude.” There’s been “amish nude,” “casual nudes,” and “nude recreation week.” I did a story about National Nude Recreation Week back in July and had a lot of fun with the research. I expect this one will be evergreen.

Time on my hands & everywhere else, August 31, 2009 -- This surprised me when it landed with a thud. I sort of thought it was the kind of breakthrough post that would really drive some readers my way. Wrong! But it’s becoming a little engine that could. It turns up in the readership rosters all the time. It’s a good one if for no other reason than the opening premise: “I’m thinking of getting a $75 tattoo of an $18,000 Rolex on my left wrist.”

R.I.P Buster the 19-year-old cat, September 4, 2008 -- Well this is certainly a surprise. Someone’s trolling around in the back catalogue and stopped by on the birthday of this post I wrote exactly three years ago. So odd. It’s not bad, but it makes me wonder if I should go back and weed out some of the ones I don’t really like. I have over 500 blog posts now and the world would be none the wiser if I trimmed that in half. Heck, maybe I should just delete all by the top 25. I’d look like a genius.

A Brad Pitt-y Party, January 13, 2009 -- A fine selection. I feel like a snooty waiter complimenting someone on selecting a rare vintage. This is the kind of oldie but goodie I’d keep if I whittled down the stack. Bashing celebrities is so much fun I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

867-5309, February 15, 2011 -- I contend this is the last phone number we’ll all remember. Our numbers have become our names. We just dial the contacts. This doesn’t pop up too much and I’m always pleased when it does. “Jenny! Jenny! Who can I turn to?” So much digital nostalgia.

Boston Corbett: America’s Greatest Eunuch, April 26, 2010 -- What a fascinating and insane man. Corbett’s the man who killed the man who killed Lincoln. This gets a lot of traffic. I like to think bleary eyed and scholarly researchers stumble on this and are revived by a strong shot of historical irreverence.

My 2010 office party: Canceled!, December 22, 2010 -- Just what the hell this is doing here I can not explain. Just about every day of the year for the past nine months someone, somewhere clicks this on. It’s confounding. It’s okay, but what’s the big deal? If today’s like every other day, at least a dozen people from all over the world will tap into this story that was topical for about two days last winter. Amazing. Oh, well. What can I do except wish those readers a very Merry Christmas!

And Happy Labor Day to the rest of you!

Thanks for reading!

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