Mickey Mantle, the Hall of Fame baseball player, was also a chronic alcoholic. One day, terribly hung over, Mantle arrived at Yankee Stadium with the game already in progress. When he appeared in the dugout, Mantle was immediately sent in to pitch hit. Despite his condition, Mantle went up to the plate and hit a home run. After rounding the bases, Mickey Mantle returned to the dugout, and was reputed to have said:
“You have no idea how hard that was.”
Writing blog posts, the number of which has now reached a thousand, is not hard. The writing process, for me, is as joyful as I imagine smacking the horsehide was for Mickey Mantle. It’s what we do. And doing what you do provides immeasurable satisfaction.
Before going on, let me just take a moment to bask in the deliciousness of analogizing myself with Mickey Mantle.
Coming up with post ideas can be hard. Though not always. Sometimes, three or four come flying at me on the same day. On other occasions, however, nothing worthwhile jumps to mind. And then, somehow, something does.
This has always been the case. In the coming up on four years that I’ve been doing this, there has never been a day when an idea I felt motivated to write didn’t ultimately appear. Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that this extended run of consistency does nothing to alleviate my insecurities. I suspect that a mentally healthy person would find my four years of uninterrupted reliability encouraging. Pollyannas! What do they know! I mean, the string has to end some time, doesn’t it?
Sitting on my desk is a carved, wooden box stuffed with three-by-five cards filled ideas that I’ve come up with for possible blog posts, but I’ve discovered that “going to the box” feels like visiting a basement closet full of stored-away clothing. Though once, they fired my enthusiasm, these fallback ideas now seem musty and out of date. Maybe if I’d written them when they came to me. But I couldn’t. I was occupied writing something else. I mean, how much can you write in one day? I have a life, you know!
Well, the truth is, I pretty much don’t. Which brings us to the really hard part of this undertaking, the core of the comparison to Mickey Mantle’s hitting a homer while severely under the weather.
I have told friends, when I’m describing my range of current experience from which to draw blog post ideas, that I feel – and please excuse the political incorrectness – like a guy in a wheel chair, swatting flies. (I did, in fact, recently write about a spider living on our kitchen window. So the analogy turns out to be less analogy than fact.)
Lacking a life of incident and excitement – I know, there were recently two weddings and a baby, but they weren’t my weddings, and it wasn’t my baby; I was merely a bystander, rather than, as I’ve been in the past, a participant/bystander, writers, by their nature, being both of those as the same time.
To repeat myself, lacking an eventful life from which to generate ideas for blog posts – although a busy life itself might have deprived me of the opportunity to blog, but let’s say it didn’t, if only to, finally, get to the end of this sentence – I have opened up my biographical trunk and, like an archeologist (a nasty one) looting mummies’ tombs, I have made off with its most valuable contents.
In preparation for this post, I went back to my original post called “Welcome” (January 16, 2008). In it, I provided samples of what I had in mind for this blog. Though lacking any kind of premeditated plan – I actually started with nothing in mind at all – it turns out I have hewn surprisingly closely to my original…what I said I was going to do.
I have spoken extensively about show business, though, perhaps, not extensively enough for some readers, eager for illuminating glimpses behind the scenes of the classic series – The Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi, Cheers, The Cosby Show, The Larry Sanders Show – I was involved in.
I wrote a post suggesting that perhaps I have a form of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), since my recollections in this department come to me as battlefield flashes rather than detailed recollections. Who knows? Someday, I might hit my head and suddenly remember everything. Though I’m not looking forward the hitting my head part, imagining that “remembering everything” would require a rather serious knuck. I am not really an “everything for my art” kind of guy. I have my limits.
I wrote about camp, and I wrote about living in “Swinging London” in the 1960’s (though the swinging, regretfully, was primarily engaged in by others.) I wrote about sports, most notably and controversially, about how Canadian football is better than American football; it is, except for the players.
I wrote about the night classes I took at UCLA, though not substantially, since, being old, I was often asleep before the classes were over.
I have written about cowboys, excerpting from my unpublished book, Sagebrush Memories, and have written about politics, excerpting from my unpublished book, Both Sides Make Me Angry. That’s what I did from the time I stopped working in television till the time that I started this blog. I wrote books nobody wanted. Which was enjoyable while I was working on them them, though considerably less so when they wound up in my filing cabinet.
Of course, I could not have known in “Blog Post One” that I would undergo heart surgery (with robots) or any other recent events that I’ve found worth chronicling (somebody found hundreds of dollars and they thought it was mine, but I gave it back, because it wasn’t.) So there are always current occurrences to talk about. As well as original musings concerning the world around me, and the world inside my head.
Still, having virtually cleaned out the trunk, and with the thought that “How many noteworthy experiences and original musings can a little Jewish man have?”, I can’t help wondering what meaningful, interesting, informative, and hopefully humorous things I have left to tell you. I really don’t know.
I write this blog because I like to and because I need to. And as long as that remains the case, I will continue to do so.
As for the concern of what’s left to say after a thousand posts, I will henceforth count my blog posts following the example of, what I’ve been told in a Canadian joke, is the “Newfie’s” (a person from Newfoundland’s) method of counting fish:
“One fish…another fish…another fish…”
Those “Newfies” knew how to handle their “fish count” anxiety. I plan on following their example.
As for you, whoever and how many ever you are, let me express my heartfelt appreciation for your support in Italian for no reason whatsoever: