My So-Called Internet Life: Part 1

March 3, 2012


When you run a blog like this one, set up to pre-screen comments in order to weed out spam, there’s often a double-take. Who knows whether human beings or spam-bots write things like this, but here was a comment waiting for me last night:

‘Today I am not proud of precisely what I do, nevertheless I’m not ashamed either.’

It’s like some spam haiku. Yet after reading it several times I am still unsure whether it’s a sentiment that describes many of the moments of human life or whether it’s just a serving of word salad, calculated to sound just human-like enough to slip past the ‘Comment’ censor.

I delete the comment, even as it makes me think a bit. I am reminded of days when I was ashamed by something I did last night. And so, I could not even live up to the moral standards of a spambot comment. On the days I am ashamed precisely by what I have done, those are the ones I end by going to bed early, in order to put a bumper of time between myself and my low behavior.

As for pride in what we do? I think pride is much overrated. I never did get ‘The Power of Pride’ bumper stickers that appeared after the Iraq War commenced (or maybe it was a post-9-11 shoring up of spirits). The swagger inherent in the sentiment seemed more to be an overcompensation for insecurity and doubt. The supremely self-confident do not need pride, but those uncertain of their status do.

As you may see, the Internet is getting to me.


So, I back off. After a couple decades of playing around on the web, I am coming to the conclusion that I may not get it after all. As this recent post indicates, I idled my Facebook account for the month of March, wanting to step back from the incessant cocktail chatter of status updates. I found myself — you, too? — constantly checking in, multiple times an hour, by computer and iPhone, seeing if someone had ‘liked’ or commented back on my latest update, bon mot, bon quote, bon link. (And so they also liked me, right?) Facebook self-esteem therapy is a lot like opening a box of chocolates. The first one or two are really good. But after the fifth or sixth, you begin to wonder if maybe this was the best way to spend your time today.

Not that some nourishing exchanges and entertaining thoughts/images/connections are not to be found in the Land of Facebookistan. I will be back. Plus, there are those rare moments of supportive communion. A friend underwent open heart surgery last week and his wife’s status updates on his progress — and our comments of support and wry camaraderie — have helped all concerned during this delicate, scary time.

But I’ve really needed more time back in my day. I want to start attempting long-form writing again and found that after posting three, four, times daily to Facebook that this was all my Muses had to give that day. ‘We are so out of here…’ And off they’d fly out the back window of my head, having discharged their allotted hour (at most) of serendipity and inspiration for the day.

So, I’ve given up for the moment expending my time on heroin-like hits of attention. Or the latest video distraction. Or the newest outrageous statement by wannabe theocrats named Rick, posted by seven outraged friends, plus my outraged self. Though it’s not like writing rambling blogposts is much better. After all, a year-old blogpost — even a week-old one — has all the lingering impact and  significance of a Kleenex tossed into the Grand Canyon. Which is to say, none. Not that you should be tossing your Kleenexes around like that.

But I have this novel laying around in bits, chunks and pieces in the superb Mac novel-crafting program Scrivener (there’s a Windows version, too, now.) So as a fifty-something guy who has one CD to his name still mostly sitting in boxes in the basement, 1,001 dated newspaper articles and blogposts and 99 Youtube videos with a combined hit count several million less than this one of a bunny taking a shower, I decided, hey! You! Yeah, you! The web will break your heart. So, what’s to lose? Go work on your novel.

You have my support, by the way, should you wish to post the ‘bunny in the shower’ YouTube to Facebook.

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