Back when I started this blog, I wrote a little about how my father’s passing had played into my decision to start “Great” Thoughts. As I look back, I can really see his influence. My passion for politics came from my parents, but they also taught me that there is more to life to appreciate, to reflect upon. There are things in which to find beauty and joy and laughter. I’ve tried to incorporate such things into my writing.
So why am I writing about this now? Well, this post was supposed to go up on Saturday, August 7th. That day would have been my father’s 85th birthday, and it seemed fitting to reflect on the way he has continued to influence me. Well, one way he influenced me was teaching me that life is a serious business, but not so serious as to be devoid of humor.
And on that note, I offer you a quick look behind the curtain of “Great” Thoughts. If you’re a blogger, particularly a WordPress blogger, this will not be terribly informative, but maybe you can relate. When I was contemplating what blogging platform to use, I remember seeing WordPress mentioning, as a benefit of using it as a platform, something to the effect of “lots of stats to obsess over”. That means that behind the scenes of a blog, in addition to all the settings, controls, widgets, and such, bloggers can check to see how many times their pages have been viewed, how many times each post has been viewed, how people are finding your blog, what links on your blog people are following, all sorts of stuff. To some degree, it’s market research and lets me, as a blogger see what people read and what they don’t.
Well, I tend to obsess (maybe that’s too strong a word…maybe) over page views. Even though I know that a page view does not mean the viewer has actually read and gotten any value from the post, I like seeing those numbers tick upward. Maybe it’s how I assuage some vague existential fear that my posts are little more than the rants of a crazy man shouting into an empty void. The page view counter at least seems to negate the empty void part of that fear. The rest is for you, the reader, to judge.
So as I approached August 7th, I noticed that the total number of page views (for the whole blog) was approaching the very, very modest milestone of 1000 and that, if I didn’t do any more posts, it was very likely that this post, the one commemorating my father’s birthday, would be the one to hit that milestone. There seemed to be something somewhat poetic in that little coincidence.
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the poetic coincidence.
Here is where “real life” has a tendency to intervene in matters such as this. Alissa and I have been having issues with our computer(s), and our main, functioning one finally became unreliable enough that we decided to buy a new one. So, a bunch of research, discussion and two shopping trips culminated in my bringing home a brand spanking new laptop on Saturday afternoon. After the requisite setup processes and a little self-tech support to locate the WEP code for our router (safely ensconced in our very dead computer), I was finally ready to roar up the onramp and onto the information super-highway. (Remember that term from the ‘90’s?)
I set up my browser preferences and logged onto igoogle. Then it happened. I went to my bookmarks and, without thinking, without realizing that I was not logged into WordPress, I opened “Great” Thoughts. Of course, I was a split second too late in recognizing that by going to my blog without being logged in, I was giving myself a page view. It’s not the first time I’ve done that, but I knew I was getting perilously close to number 1000 and it would not do for me to put myself over the top.
With a speed borne of irrational hope that quickly navigating away from the page would negate that which was already done, my fingers flying over the still-pristine, still unfamiliar touch pad, I scrolled down and clicked on the link to WordPress.com on my blogroll.
“Great” Thoughts vanished, replaced by the gateway into the piece of the blogosphere that is the WordPress community, and I logged in before returning to the “Great” Thoughts dashboard. Speed didn’t’ matter. I knew that what was done was done, and I could no more un-view the page than I could un-send that email to the global list for my diplomacy class in college.
I scrolled down the page, past the graphs and lists of referring websites to the “Blog Stats” section. There is was.
Total views: 1000
So I’d done it. I’d pushed myself over the milestone. The great drum roll of anticipation in my head, rather than culminating in the victorious crash of drumstick on cymbal, fizzled out with a pathetic bleat born of an unholy union of a badly blown tuba and a discharging whoopee cushion.
So the modest majesty of the number 1000, the poetic coincidence of hitting the milestone on my dad’s birthday was lost. I had planned to write something about it. It probably would have been more reflective. Reflection is fine. There’s definitely a place for it, and in the coming weeks I will be writing more reflectively about my dad, but there’s also a time for humor and laughter, even laughter at our own pretentiousness and delusions of grandeur, at our own great visions and great thoughts that turn out to be less than great but amusing nonetheless.
So my vision didn’t turn out the way I anticipated. But I got a chuckle out of it, and I think my dad would have as well.