Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tomorrow, the World!

When I started writing this blog, I had no expectations. I figured, at best, there would be a handful of family members and friends who would kindly humor me by reading a few posts from time to time.

"Oh, look," you might say upon seeing my note on Facebook alerting you to a new post being published. "Mark just put out a new little blog on his little rambly thingy. It's called 'A Sock In My Shorts?' I don't like the sound of that. It sounds dirty. I think I'll wait for the next time he writes a syrupy sweet one about his family."

Truth be told, I'm not much of a blog reader. I'm not much of a reader at all, actually. My reading happens in fits and spurts, and I get tremendous satisfaction if I reach the end of a Reader's Digest three-pager about a spelunker who had to chew through his own rappelling gear in order to save a kitten from a mountain lion before my legs fall asleep from the pressure of the toilet seat pushing up into them.

Strange to think I was an English major in college. And a lit major for the first two years! I guarantee in those first two years at SUNY Plattsburgh I read maybe -- maybe -- five books from cover to cover. While I never cheated or plagiarized anyone else's work, there were plenty of times I turned in six-page, ten-page and even twenty-page papers after staying up until 2:00am in the all-night study lounge at the student center, yanking quotes from chapters I hadn't read to support a thesis I hoped was correct.

One time, I wrote a paper on the first half of "War and Peace." Problem was, I had read only half of the first half of "War and Peace."

Have you ever read it? It's 1,200 freakin' pages long! I can barely make it to the end of an Emily Dickinson poem and they're expecting me to read this never-ending borefest? Ten pages into it and I was hoping all the characters would pull an Anna Karenina and throw themselves in front of a moving train...

Anyway, I plucked a thesis out of my butt and wrote the paper. Then I started skimming through the book for supporting quotes. As I skimmed, I realized my thesis was wrong by 180 degrees. I literally was able to leave my paper mostly intact, drop in the quotes I had found, and where I said something wasn't true I simply changed it to say it was true and vice versa. That was the only "A" I ever received from Dr. Burde.

So, having suffered a lifelong aversion to reading, I'm always surprised to see so many people embracing the activity so rabidly. As someone who fancies himself a writer, I appreciate it, but I'm still surprised when anyone reads anything I have written. In January when I published my first post to this blog, I was amused at how quickly certain people picked up on it.

Now, when I look at the tracking of hits coming with each new post -- particularly those that have catchier titles and are muchly more betterly wrote -- I'm amazed to see visits to the blog by people living in places in which I know for dead certain I cannot possibly know anyone. Look at the map of the United States below. Every flag represents someone from a city who visited this blog.

If I rack my brain over each location, I'm sure I could come up with the usual suspects from Facebook for about ninety percent of them. A few of them are probably just me checking in while I'm traveling for business. Houston and Charlottesville definitely are. But that doesn't explain the map below.

I'm pretty sure I've never traveled to Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Italy, England or Russia. And I don't have any penpals in Moscow or Dubai of whom I'm aware. I can understand how someone in New South Wales might stumble across my review of "Dinner for Schmucks" from some intermediary website or search engine, but please tell me why the hell someone in Dhaka surfed their way to "Toilet on the Edge." Twice!

While I'm trying to keep this international notoriety from going to my head, I have set what I think is a perfectly reasonable goal for "Ramblings of a Very Pale Man." Before 2010 draws to a close, I want to be able to track hits from every continent. So far I have North America (no thanks to any support from Canada or Mexico), Eurasia, and Australia. All I need to get is South America and Africa. I doubt I'll have much luck with Antarctica. Something tells me they don't have a very strong WiFi signal down there.

But if you think there's a chance of a penguin with bluetooth checking in one day, I'll keep it on the list. Maybe my next post should be all about krill recipes and the dangers of leopard seals.

© 2010 Mark Feggeler

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