Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: I launched this wee blog on April 28, 2012, three weeks before my 40th birthday as a means of charting the effects of the aging process on my opinions of, enthusiasm for, offense at, and/or detailed nitpicking of various works of art, expression, humanity, inhumanity, glory, love, idolatry, inspiration, hollowness, geek lifestyles, food, and Deep Thoughts. MCC has also served as a digital scrapbook for our annual road trips, comic cons, birthday expeditions, and other modest travels. It’s a general repository for any other content that comes to mind and feels worth the time and effort to type up, proofread, and release unto a world-at-large that rarely visits websites anymore unless social media points them there.
Basically it’s me me me me me, plus special appearances and other invaluable contributions from Anne, my wife of 17 years and #1 fan. This unpaid quasi-boutique hobby-job was built on a thin foundation with no claim to fame, virtually no preexisting fandom, no networking skills, no books to sell, no merch with my face on it to hawk, no funding from the Chubb Group, no patience for marketing (and pretty please never ever offer to provide me some for a price, because if you think I’m worth it, then by all means go share my works with your social pals for free, same as you do with anything else you genuinely like), and no educated grasp of “SEO” except to know that it rhymes with Vern Tessio, the Stand by Me kid played by Jerry O’Connell, who grew up to costar in Star Trek: Lower Decks, of which Anne and I have six episodes left to watch as of this writing, and watching those might be a more productive use of my time than registering my thoughts online for whomever to see, but it’s late and she’s asleep, which is the general household ambiance during my prime posting hours, so here I am.
Anyway, yes, I’ve been doing this for ten years. Ten of them! Sometimes it’s worth it. I have an entire page dedicated to archiving the best moments when all of this was most worth it. Well, that’s not counting the differently happy moments whenever Anne gives me verbal approval of an entry the next morning without using it as a prologue to soften the blow in a “good news/bad news” way when she then has to inform me of every fact or event that I grossly misremembered or misrepresented. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone hold you accountable in the absence of third-party constructive criticism.
It’s nifty that nobodies like me are even empowered by today’s internet tech advances and providers like WordPress. Alternatively, some nobodies can DIY themselves a fully top-to-bottom personal construct from spare parts, coding wizardry, and innate flair. But should a nobody keep at this for ten long years when it seems like they spend more time writing than the aggregated readership will spend consuming it? 2000-word chunks of niche bloviation aren’t exactly a hot commodity unless they’re relevant thinkpieces. Some entries from MCC’s early years meet that definition, but it isn’t my favorite writing format. My concessions to “give the people what they want” tend to take weird forms, apropos of myself. But is that worth it?
Let’s be candid, which too often is my thing: achieving longevity without sustaining a noteworthy impact is just stubbornness.
I don’t believe in astrology and will never know or remember anyone else’s sign except my own, but it was my mom’s biggest preoccupation when I was a kid, so I’m aware that stubbornness is very much a Taurus trait. So that checks out.
Regardless: ten years! Ten of them! That’s ten years spent crafting 2,437 entries (counting this one) that average at least a thousand words apiece. 2.4 million words is quite a measure of stubbornness. I’ve invested three times as many years in this site as I did in college. Neither got me a degree. Neither begat a career. Neither made me an idol of millions, or thousands, or a hundred. Both brought me loneliness and isolation in my weaker moments. Neither would’ve happened in the first place if certain people hadn’t said encouraging things to me along the way in the right places at the right times. Don’t ask me why a peculiar number of those encouragers were women over 50. And not all of them were English teachers who were paid to encourage me and give me self-esteem and hopes, false or otherwise. It’s just an inexplicable, lifelong recurring motif. God has His reasons for His choice of messengers. Then again, Satan does, too. So. Um.
That number again, for those just joining us: ten years. A full decade. 120 months. The same length as Friends, Smallville, and ten Firefly binges. The nice thing about not having a sizable fan base is no one has humiliating debates about which of your years was the worst. My personal picks would be either the pandemic years, which I think damaged me on intangible levels, and Year 1, when I was still figuring out how to write for an imaginary audience in my mind instead of for a guaranteed audience of friends, and had to teach myself how to minimize my public stupidities, like that time I misconstrued something and, of all people, eminently lovable comics legend George Perez had to take time out from his fascinatingly amazing life to correct me in this very site’s comments section. That blunder will haunt me forever and reminds me of an old Usenet adage that millions of social media users would do well to learn so they might suck less:
“Read. THINK. Post.”
As of this paragraph I’m now crossing the 1000-word mark and should consider wrapping up this besuited Peter Brady one-guy birthday celebration. But one last thing to high-five myself for: the coolest thing about about owning and running your own li’l hole-in-the-wall site is that it absolutely, thoroughly beats bestowing 2.4 million of your own words on someone else’s privately owned super-sized worldwide website, letting those 2.4 million words sit in their clutches for years, and then getting smacked in the face with the sheer horror of that site selling out to some bozo armed with all the funds and all the worst motives.
Why keep doing this? Because maybe it’s practice for what I’m truly meant to be doing someday. Because once in a blue moon, it makes a difference to someone out there. Because Anne still thinks I’m cool, which goes a long way toward staving off my introversion and insecurities that weren’t magically cured by turning 21. Because it keeps me off the streets, feels like a nobler calling than the internet trolling industry, and is flexible enough to bend toward whatever direction I’d care to head until and unless I can figure out my ultimate destination with all this incessant verbiage.
As Scott McCloud once wrote in his wondrous comics series Zot!, “Sometimes a direction is a destination.”
Onward is a direction. For now, writing onward will do.
Thanks for reading. Lord willing, see you next blogiversary.