Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Too Old for Schadenfreude

Quietly plodding along - that's me here in Bloggerland. And, frankly, I wouldn't have it any other way though at times I might pretend to myself that I'd like to. Too many times in real life, and even online, I sought to be the guru of various things, and in doing so I found me spreading myself too thin, biting off more than I could chew, and neglecting the very persons I should be most attentive to. I'd get so thin and chewy that too often I'd have to abandon things I'd taken on with my tail between my legs and with profuse apologies to those I had disappointed by not being able to maintain the head of steam necessary to fulfill what I had made into unnecessary obligations for myself. My road to hell was mostly paved with good intentions gone sour by my desire to be popular.

Case in point... A long time ago when I first got on the 'net I discovered IRC. (Internet relay chat - sort of like AOL's chat rooms but on the "real internet" rather than on AOL.) I used a chat client named mIRC which had fantastic scripting capabilities. I set out to become the scripting king on my home channel and I did well. I wrote scripts coming out the wazoo to maintain control of our home base. I could fire up my 'puter, set it on auto pilot and it could single handedly control and run the channel, automatically kicking off any users who dared to type things we, the channel moderators, considered verboten while blowing whistles, ringing bells, and distributing attaboys to the deserving. Everybody came to me with their scripting questions and suggestions. I regularly worked long past what should have been my bedtime to write lines of code. I ignored my wife and kids; I begged off from doing things and going places with them so I could meet my implicit obligations to virtual strangers whom I'd never meet. I was the scripting god! Until one fateful Father's Day when Dee in no uncertain terms told me that I was doing a sucky job of being a father because I was living in front of my computer and ignoring the kids. I've hated Father's Day ever since because she was totally right and as a day set aside it does nothing more than remind me of a time in my life I'd dearly like to forget. All because I wanted to be hot shit for a bunch of strangers like an asshole kid back in junior high.

As usual I'm beating around the bush with too long a preamble because what I'm really writing about is a fellow blogger who recently half threw in the towel and my feeling of schadenfreude as a result. I read him on occasion, but mostly with some degree of hollow resentment. He was Mr. Popularity and his name popped up all over the place with kudos and profuse thanks because he did this for that blogger and that for this blogger. He was, it seemed, to the sex blogging world, what I had sought to be on our old chat channel - the self appointed, self made holy man on the mountain. Haunted by my former desire for popularity I found myself feeling envious whenever I read about yet another of his accomplishments and saw his name up in lights for some contribution to somebody else's blog, and it had even irked me for quite some time that he never considered me good enough to toss me a link in his sidebar. It was as if he was the captain of the sex blogging football team and I was just another guy in the stands eating a hot dog and watching the game, and when I read yesterday that he was planning to tone down his omnipresence I felt a small sense of glee.

I'm ashamed to have felt that way in reading about some of his problems and his need to back away from them because in part they sound a lot like the same troubles I used to create for myself. I'll just keep doing what I do here - writing without the pretense of being anybody's swami and having the time to smell some roses as I plod along, and I'll wish for my former "nemesis" in his partial retirement that same sweet smell of the roses.
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Rosie said...

Joe, interesting post and I know of whom you wrote. We each have to troll along in our individual worlds. Some of us are smart enough to not even attempt a blog. You are to be admired for taking/making the time to share yourself and experiences. For that goes a thank you. XX

~ Storm said...

Yeah I understand your feeling. I have someone very much like that in my vanilla blogging world. The Queen of Everything. She is always threatening to pull the plug, then comes back, etc. etc. Gets old. And sometimes we just feel that way about someone who grandstands.

Hey by the way, did I do something to make you mad or am I just not interesting enough any longer? I notice you don't link to me any more and just wanted to make sure it wasn't something I did!