Milestones Behind and Millstones Ahead

Me sitting at one end of a small table with two large slices of pizza on it, each on separate trays. One of them is closer to Anne the photographer.

Portrait of the author having brunch with his wife/photographer Anne at Pizza di Tito, an outtake from our Indiana Comic Con 2023 experience.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we have annual traditions ’round these parts! Two of them recently came up for renewal and passed without mention. Let’s kill two birds with one stone here, or at least whiz a pebble past their beaks just to get their attention.

I launched this tiny personal 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. MCC entries are rarely shared with others in that manner; when it happens, it’s extremely noticeable in our dashboard stats and sincerely appreciated with all my heart.

Last month MCC reached its 11th birthday. As usual the WordPress software congratulated me as an auto-courtesy. Preprogrammed niceties aren’t quite the same as flesh-and-blood acknowledgment, but they help break the silence of what might otherwise have reminded me of that time Peter Brady overdosed on teenage smugness and was flabbergasted when no one attended his birthday party. I think about that episode a lot as I watch site traffic dwindle and wonder if I should bother mentioning my blog anniversaries anymore.

Screen shot of the notification I received on our PC with the WordPress logo on top: "Happy Anniversary with! You registered on 11 years ago. Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging."

A copy of that notification. If only every bot interaction were so gracious.

Speaking of birthdays: every year I note my gratitude here for another year of survival, particularly in the pandemic and post-pandemic eras when sometimes every new breath has felt like a prize. Back in 2020 I ruminated on how many celebrities I’ve outlived and how unfair that seems on some cosmic level infinitely above my pay grade. Time marches on, the Lord keeps letting me stick around for whatever minor purpose within the Grand Design, and that list keeps growing. Case in point: the amazing Taylor Hawkins was only three months older than me.

Last year I turned 50, that massive pivot point in many people’s lives when their physical entropy accelerates, their second-guessing about their life choices intensifies, their regrets upgrade from irritating bugaboos to haunting specters, and they laugh less at “over the hill” jokes. I blogged about the milestone as usual. My Facebook friends were kind to me on the day of, but among the WordPress audience no one cared. Last Wednesday I turned 51, but the occasion’s been demoted from its former status as a recurring frivolous headline. I still plan to uphold the site’s general direction in which I write about things that no one but me cares about, here in my self-appointed role as The Most Irrelevant Man in the World, but I can at least scratch one personal peccadillo off the personal blog’s yearly personal checklist due to lower-than-low ratings.

Gray birthday with a hand-drawn pic of a stern Dwight Schrute captioned, "It is your birthday."

Anne now loves Etsy and other online craftspeople, and bought me this nicely apropos card…

The Office birthday card opened. Message inside: "It is a statement of fact." Also inside is a pop-up desktop holding ugly-colored balloons and an "It is your birthday" Print Shop banner.

…complete with Dunder Mifflin pop-up party, Schrute style. Designed by Lovepop.

April 28th and May 17th each still mean a lot to me, but are they worth dwelling on at length on a public personal platform, using entire paragraphs instead of GIFs, emojis, or selfies? Or should I just buy myself a donut each day and leave it at that? For the moment, I consider both traditions upheld, albeit with a half-entry apiece. Partial observance is still observance.

Technically this thematic downsizing saves me time for other writings, which would mean more if I were writing more lately. Longtime MCC followers may recall the early years when I was so much more prolific that at inception I posted daily for thirteen straight months. Back then I could write for hours every night after work and function passably on 5-6 hours of sleep. I was on exactly zero prescriptions and fueled by the excited hope that all this might add up to something useful and/or entertaining. Man, those were the days.

Today I’m older, need more sleep, and would rather respond enthusiastically to positive reinforcement than write into the aether and wish for attention. I mean, I can still handle the latter, but the high-effort/low-yield ratio is less charming nowadays. Trust me: if I thought I had a readership beyond Anne and five other people, I would absolutely find the time to write more. Hence why I postpone all other hobbies, activities, and adult responsibilities to get our comic-con recounts posted as quickly as possible. There’s a measurable demand for those…even though 95% of that demand is for cosplay photos and not for anything connected to our intrinsic individual worth.

Anyway, whenever I feel like writing for writing’s sake, here’s a look at the planned MCC entries that should be coming in your near future, most of which are months overdue:

  • Free Comic Book Day 2023 results, a geek holiday that Indiana Comic Con ruined for me this year
  • The final three chapters of Our 2022 Road Trip
  • The next travel miniseries after that, concerning an impossibly wonderful four-day experience we had in March (my Facebook and Instagram circles know what I mean)
  • The next travel miniseries after that, concerning where Anne and I went for my birthday this weekend
  • “Best CDs of 2022 According to an Old Guy Who Bought 10”
  • “Old Guy with a PS3: Year 8”
  • A rundown of my non-movie TV/streaming viewing from 2022, which I began tracking for the first time ever
  • “My 2023 Reading Stacks #1”
  • My annual comics-collecting rundowns for 2022 and 2021 (fortunately no one ever holds me accountable for deadlines or anything else I do here, except sometimes typos)

…and more, more, more! Well, when the act of writing becomes a self-motivated joy once again and these don’t feel like homework I’ve assigned myself, like millstones hanging around my neck and weighing me down until I finally relent and write them out of guilt. Maybe I could burn some of them off as quick, sentence-free listicles with lots of emojis, which are a foreign language to me. They don’t count as writing, but I suppose they count as Content™.

Or I could look into that appalling A.I. fad, though I doubt they’ve yet invented the algorithms that could replicate my convoluted stream-of-consciousness syntax, my parenthetical digressions that multiply like Tribbles, my gratuitous references to The Wire, or all those maddening typos, which might be careless mistakes but also count as evidence of my commitment to Keeping It Real.

4 responses

  1. We enjoy reading your blog! Your distinctive perspective and real voice are game-changers in the world. Keep sharing, because your words make a difference. Thank you for being yourself!

    Thanks – TheDogGod


  2. Wow! Well, I can’t speak for anyone but myself — those ventriloquism classes were a scam! — but as far as I’m concerned this blog is my favourite! Your writing has enriched my life! I thank you for it!

    I offer you my belated congratulations on your birthday and on your anniversary!


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