The Joy of Recurring Gratitude

Thanksgiving Card!

Art by an anonymous Hallmark staffer, probably.

Every year I receive exactly one (1) greeting card wishing me Happy Thanksgiving. A fellow who works for my company in another state used to need my help on assorted requests several years ago, and I’ve been on his Thanksgiving card list ever since. Nowadays he needs my help only sporadically — if we have contact more than twice a year, I’d be surprised. But he keeps me in his thoughts. Above and beyond the pre-printed, mass-produced, well-wishing boilerplate, he writes a note of personalized appreciation inside each card, much more than just “Hi!” and a name. It’s always wordier than 90% of the Christmas cards we receive, the closest I ever get to an old-fashioned letter. It’s a tradition that used to strike me as odd, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate it as a kind touch that adds a modest, welcome flourish to the proceedings. Also, this year’s model looks niftier than ever.

To MCC’s longtime readers: thank you for being you. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks very much for the comments and the encouraging feedback, whether one-click or multi-paragraph. Thanks for your acts, great or small, that go a long way toward making this peculiar labor of love an enriching experience. Special thanks to anyone who’s ever recommended or just mentioned the site to any other human. Thanks to all of you for being there at every level.

Our family wishes a happy, blessed Thanksgiving to you frequent visitors and newcomers alike. May your holiday and your weekend be filled to overflowing with a continual parade of kindnesses, from the largest favors to the smallest gestures. And may you find yourselves pleasantly surprised at which moments come to mean the most.

Happy Thanksgiving from MCC!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

Every chef’s least favorite part of the Thanksgiving experience: the customer complaints.

In the spirit of the American holiday, the management here at Midlife Crisis Crossover would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving upon you ‘n’ yours, and to express our sincerest gratitude to You, the Viewers at Home. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks very much for your generous encouragement signals in all their varied forms. Danke schön for making this long-term hobby experiment enjoyable even when it’s not easy. And enjoy a Special Thanks during the end credits for just being You.

Whether you’re visiting loved ones, liked ones, or other ones, or opting out of the visiting experience altogether, may your celebratory meals be enjoyed in peace, love, harmony, and kindness in both spirit and tongue. May your gathering remain festive and filled with fellowship, and may it not turn into a flame war so atrocious that it earnsits own hashtag.

And don’t forget to thank the hard-working chef(s) and collaborators who made your Turkey Day feeding possible. Even if the turkey is a little dry, or the dinner rolls are a little overcooked, or they forgot to salt anything, or they think jellybeans are an acceptable substitute for stuffing, or they’re serving their homemade off-putting cranberry-rhubarb-coconut cobbler again, their generosity, diligence, and talents nonetheless deserve a round of recognition. After you’ve complimented them or handed them awards, then you can go fall asleep in their favorite recliner or on their living room rug. Cheers!

The Curse of the “Follow” Button

Follow Button Nightmare

Just so we’re clear, this haunting illustration is not intended as a superliminal message.

The Followers list of the average WordPress user is comprised largely of other WordPress users. The community is extremely supportive that way. On occasion I’ve even dug a little deeper into those notifications and discovered usernames popping in from Blogger, Tumblr, DeviantArt, YouTube, and other creative sites. If readers are attracted from outside the blogosphere altogether, that’s worth an elaborate victory dance in my book.

Some of that support is provisional, though — offered in hopeful accordance with the implied adage of “I’ll follow you if you follow me!” I’m not sure how many online communities this largely unspoken expectation pervades. When MCC first launched, I kept this guideline in mind, especially in the early era of single-digit daily traffic when any sort of response, human or otherwise, was a welcome change of pace from spending quality time with the Void.

The longer my resulting reading list grew from everyone I Followed in turn, the less I wanted to keep observing that adage. And yes, I mean “reading list”. I tried keeping up with all of them/you, even if the subject matter didn’t interest me in the slightest. It seemed the most honest response. I still read many, many blogs in any given day, but I’ve had to perform some serious triage for the sake of my free time and sanity. I’m unclear on when the “Follow” button became less a simple, literal statement for some users and more of a token to be swapped with passing strangers like marbles or pogs.

For some of my oldest followers…I think using the “Follow” button jinxed them.

Continue reading

An MCC Reader Survey for Every Man, Woman, and Spammer

Once again I’m reporting live from the Department of Trying Something Completely Different and extending this opportunity to YOU, the Viewers at Home, to share your feedback about your Midlife Crisis Crossover reading experience. This may be an imperfect structure (I’ve already encountered one unresolved bug), but I beg your forgiveness and your willingness to humor me in this flighty endeavor.

Assuming I didn’t break anything, embedded in this entry should be a simple survey — two pages, five questions in all — providing statistical info on the MCC readership at large to satisfy my curiosity, to help me think a little harder about what subjects to incorporate here in future entries, to show me whether or not the PollDaddy survey function is worth reusing, and to determine once and for all how many of you are real and how many of you are Matrix holo-henchmen.

Continue reading

Three-Hour Struggle to Craft Clever Way of Saying “Happy Thanksgiving!” Ends in Bitter Tears

Thanksgiving

I can haz turkee?

To anyone reading this, whether loyal reader or fleeting passerby:

In accordance with Bloggers Union Local 151 holiday bylaws, the following memorandum constitutes official notice that I, your humble entertainer for the next three to 120 seconds, hereby wish you and yours a blessed, happy Thanksgiving with utmost sincerity. For those residing outside the authorized Thanksgiving celebration zone, please enjoy your Thursday anyway, with or without turkey.

To comply with the aforementioned bylaws, this writer wishes to acknowledge the following with heartfelt thankfulness, probably in the wrong order:

* God, His son, and the Holy Spirit

* My amazing wife and my impressive son

* All other family members who communicate with me in any fashion outside holiday gatherings

* Whatever forces secretly keep America running without collapsing

* The creator of the four-day weekend

* Our dog (pictured), the most loving and amusing nonhuman in our household

* The manufacturers of this computer; the real inventors of the Internet; our current, ever-improving ISP; and the benevolent folks at WordPress.com

* My employers, more often than not

* My friends and compatriots in my various online communities, past and present

1000 Likes on WordPressParticularly near and dear to me this year are those who have read, followed, and actively supported me in my endeavors regarding my writing in general and this site in particular, now seven months old and not yet crashed or burnt. Any forms of feedback, from the simplicity of clicks to the extreme generosity of comments, have meant the world to me as I continue this process of exploration, experimentation, and indulgent navel-gazing. While the value of such input into my process is sometimes hard to quantify, the WordPress.com sensors insist that earlier this week marked MCC’s crossing of the 1000-Like threshold. I had no idea they tracked such statistics to that extent. I can’t believe they even have a dashboard icon for it (pictured). The longtime high-traffic bloggers among you probably enjoy this response level as a twice-weekly event, but a small fry like me is in no position to take any forms of encouragement for granted. Obviously I try not to rely on Likes as the foundation for my self-image, but I can’t deny that it’s nice to have some kind of measuring tool (no matter how unscientific) to confirm that I’m not necessarily applying this particular skill set on a daily basis entirely in vain.

Even if I am, at least my wife still thinks I’m cool. That’ll do.

Thanks for reading, supporting, and humoring me. Enjoy the day!

%d bloggers like this: