By Jim Hagarty
This is how my brain works.
Be thankful it isn’t your brain. I have had to live with this thing for 65 years and sometimes, it has been like sharing an apartment with the worst roommate ever.
Seven days ago, at the suggestion of my friend Al, I started my first-ever blog. Al is a longtime blogger, bringing his beautiful photography, humour, philosophy and RV tales to literally millions of readers for the past 10 years. Treat yourself someday to www.thebayfieldbunch.com. You won’t regret it.
It is shocking that a writer as brilliant as I (if you don’t believe me, just ask my brain) would be such a latecomer to blogging. Until a few years ago, I didn’t even know what a blog was. Someone suggested it was a cross between a bowel movement and a log. That seemed to make sense to me.
But I resisted all calls to blog. I decided instead to try my hand at stock marketing. If you have ever seen a moth fly into a fan, you will know how well that worked out.
But after my retirement from journalism in 2008, I joined Facebook and started sharing my stories there. The reaction was good most days and for a guy who likes to be liked, FB seemed to be just the ticket. Instant likes all over the place. Sometimes I would see a like show up almost before I had finished my story.
I carried on for years, adding little status updates as brilliant (and dull) thoughts occurred to me. From time to time, I would get 30 likes and a few comments. Jackpot! A few people would even share some of my stuff on their pages.
Then this winter, I wrote something that went a little nuts. Before long, I had almost 1,800 likes and close to 4,500 shares. My brain instantly declared, in the sophisticated way it works: “Holy crap!”
Enter Al and his suggestion I start blogging.
Here, I ran into a roadblock. It has been a lifelong policy of mine to never take up a suggestion from other people. People like bank managers, police officers, even my wife. But I acted out of character and seven days ago, followed my best friend’s lead.
On the day I launched lifetimesentences.com, I followed the stats and realized I had attracted 35 views. OMG, Brain shouted. But the next day, my tally fell to 27. Maybe people don’t read on Sundays, I thought. I know they don’t dance or drink on that day; no reading, maybe too.
By Monday, 52 viewers had recovered their senses and returned to Lifetime Sentences. My heart was full. I reported each new view to my family in the same way my kids used to celebrate finding yet another well-hidden Easter egg.
Then Tuesday came. The count was 276. I had to lie down for a while. This made no sense.
But Wednesday found me bewitched and bewildered. By midnight (and I kept watching the stats till the clock struck 12), I had attracted eyeballs to my stories 810 times. I didn’t know whether to shout it from my rooftop or jump off my rooftop.
But my brain, always lying in wait to get me, would have a lot to deal with yesterday. By day’s end, I had had a mere 448 views. Whaaaaattttt???? Those were Brain’s very words.
Where had I gone wrong?
I had to go lie down again and figure all this out.
I do my best figuring lying down.
But the most I can decipher is, this is life. At 448, I had racked up more than 10 times the tally of my first day. BUT JUST OVER ONE HALF OF THE DAY BEFORE!!!! Rising expectations, the bane of every teenage boy on a date, had me by the throat, not coincidentally, located close to my brain.
Frantically, I retraced my steps. Where, oh where, had I screwed up? In the middle of my concert, half the audience got up and left.
I believe it is time I go see Al again. I need a recharge over coffee.
If I could, I would leave my brain at home and head off by myself.
But that sucker just won’t leave me alone.