I should have written this first

Some of my Cycling ’74 colleagues have suggested that I blog, or at least post the occasional thing here that I shamelessly foist on my friends and colleagues.

So I said, “Um, sure.” And then I wrote about a squillion short paragraphs on everything under the sun and promptly freaked out. I am returning to it again (having already posted or submitted the first thing that I worried over), and realized that I should have said something else first.

This stuff you’re reading now.

It may be that I am demographically challenged, since—being a midwestern American–I am naturally loathe to think that my life is anything sufficiently special to warrant posting to the world in general; It might be a function of whatever age I am, and something I wouldn’t ever trouble with, were I younger or smarter or Canadian or Rosicrucian; I think of ranting to one’s friends (and being accepted for it) as a sign of friendship, and ranting to no one in particular as a sure sign of Having Gotten Off The Path Somewheres.

If your own life is kind of regular and might be mistaken for boring (no current hysterical misery, a regular schedule, a steady stream of quiet pleasures interrupted by the occasional extraordinary private or public experience), then the problem of bloggery is compounded by a faint whiff of apprehension: if you decide to fill your blog with things that interest you personally and genially recommend them to others, you might just be assisting in the devaluation of your own private currency of cool–that collection of hobbyhorses or interests that, in the absence of your fascinating phobias or appetites or addictions, make you worth squandering a minute’s time on in the first place.

[insert interval period of thrashing, self-laceration, writer's block, dining, and long walks here]

That’s all still true. However, I was thinking about all the people who’ve been decent or generous to me and have been central to the formation of my own sensibilities (This has something also to do with wine and low long-distance telephone rates, but never mind about that). I realized that there were just giving me lists of stuff and telling me stories–or telling other people stories while I was within earshot. I can’t ever pay them back for that, although I can thank them again and again. But I can do this, and honestly hope that there’s somebody somewhere who doesn’t know exactly what I know, have seen exactly the same stuff, and so on.

That’s a modest place to start. So, caveat lector.

Now, go make a list of the three people who are most responsible for helping you become the person you are. Take any one of those people and buttonhole them (preferably while sober) and tell them how much you owe them.

There. My first good and defensible piece of advice.

I should have written this first

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