Saturday, May 29, 2004

What's my line?

There once was a show called 'What's My Line'? I do believe but can't be sure the object of the show was to guess someone's profession. There would be several impostors and contestants (who I think were celebrities) had to ask questions and guess who was the real highway patrolman, etc. I'm not sure how I came to know of this show as I've never seen it nor can I vouch for the fact it was a real show.

I know that we're no longer allowed to have questions about the existence of some item of popular culture. Google is supposed to control for that. When you have doubts about the spelling of a name or the existence of a thing googling is supposed to remove those doubts. So I think the having of doubts about something googlable is now akin to misspelling after dictionaries standardized spelling.

Right now though, I choose to pretend that Google doesn't exist. Sometimes I don't want to know for sure...Sometimes I enjoy that old fashioned experience of not remembering, of being hazy, of not knowing what it is that person I used to know is doing with his/her life even as I try to beat others in being the first to modify the verb form 'to google' in as many ways as possible.

All this is preliminary to the object of this post which is: See if you can guess what I do for a living. If anyone does guess, this post will be removed immediately as it means I was too damn obvious. I now return to a question totally unrelated through which clues may be given as to my current profession.

Someone said that Mimi Smartypants was self absorbed. This guy, in fact. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find the post where he said it.

I recall when I first encountered online diaries. It did strike me that the people were a little self absorbed. It seemed they thought that others would want to read about the minutiae of their lives. That seemed both arrogant and self-absorbed until it turned out I wanted to read all about those people's lives. Sometimes I even wanted to see photos. With Mimi you even got inner thought processes, weird inferential leaps the type of which are almost never revealed in conversation with those you know well. The ones you actually have to spend time tracking in your own thoughts.

And it (the fact people such as Mimi) revealed these things was sort of like a dream come true. It turns out I always wanted to read other people's diaries (I guess I knew this about myself already). Then it turned out that, unlike a diary I found in the street, there were only a few diaries that could hold my interest.

I read for pleasure and only for pleasure. I am a reading junkie and reading may yet ruin my life. I'm a person who has read almost everything anyone else has read and more. I'm a scary reader. I've read so much that sounds pretentious but I only read it for pleasure and promptly forgot much of it. And it's the best pleasure because I'm a person who is not supposed to read any fiction. No, I'm not supposed to read The Brothers Karamazov and that makes it all the more tempting. Because every minute of every second of every day there is something else I'm supposed to be doing. While I'm taking a shower, there's something else I'm supposed to be doing. While I'm making dinner, I'm supposed to be doing something else. On a walk? Doing the wrong thing. Not doing what I should be. Sleeping? After six hours, yes, I've crossed the threshold into being bad. In fact, I'm nearly always supposed to be doing one thing and this means that I don't spend nearly enough time doing that thing.

I've read a hell of a lot, far, far too much. Every turgid novel I've devoured just reminds me that I wasn't supposed to read that.

In any case, reading Mimi Smartypants gives me pleasure. It continues to give me great pleasure and that I'm impressed by. I think there was a period of two or three months when my own bla bla was well crafted enough to give a stranger pleasure but she continues to do this day in and day out.

However, I can't look back with pleasure on those hours of enjoyment reading Mimi as every recollection of pleasure spent reading creates sharp and painful self-recrimination. So I'll have to forget this now.

And I would not say she is self-absorbed. I've emailed her and she's written back every time and the last time with a question about my own life. That's more interest in another than most of us show our friends these days.


Post a Comment

<< Home