My wife, Lois, had never asked me that question, so I was non-plused when she posed it: “What do you do with all that information?” Do with it? I thought. It was embarrassing. I had no answer.
Lois was referring to my ongoing rants about politics and politicians, the news media, wars and military spending, etc. Worse yet, I was always explaining stuff to her, trying to “enrich” her worldview, so to speak. Maybe her memory had dug up the waiter’s line from The Shining: “But when my wife tried to prevent me from doing my duty, I ‘corrected’ her.” I was never THAT bad (I don’t think). Still, my “lessons” must have been pretty insufferable. They quickly earned me the nickname Mr. Negativity.
Do with it? Frankly, I stewed over it, I harped on it, I ground my teeth in my sleep dreaming about it. But actually “do”? What a poser!
Of course, what her question prompted, motivated, and pricked me to do was to start this blog. Which presented me with another dilemma. Now that I had the space (thank you very much, wordpress), what was I going to DO with it. Argh! That word again. I thought that in retirement, I didn’t have to DO anything if I didn’t want to. But it turns out freedom isn’t free, that retirement and terminal maturity (aka old age) do not stop consequencies from occurring. Preach to Lois, get a reaction. My personal interpetation of Newton’s Third Law.
I had first come to wordpress.com in 2014 at the suggestion/urging of my friend David Eason, who writes the blog Longing For A Song on WordPress. (If you haven’t already, check it out. There’s poetry in every entry.) I’m not at all sure this reaction (i.e., my blog writing) is exactly “equal and opposite,” as Newton would have it. It almost surely is commensurate with my abilities as a thinker and writer. I’ll leave that statement where it lies (or lays, if you’re not hung up on the old grammar).
What I really, really, really wanted to do was get the world on the right track. For a change. Finally. At last. (Someone has to do it, right?) As someone who grew up without computers and the internet (or cellphones, cable/satellite TV, 4-stroke lawnmower engines, or the slightest hint that I might be living in The Matrix), I probably over-estimated this new power of the word. Sure, you could broadcast without need of a press, a TV station operating license, or even a good PA system (for the kids: that’s a Public Address system; aka, a big loudspeaker). But on the downside, in the flood of words, mine were almost guaranteed to get lost in the interference.
In a way, however, that’s actually kind of reassuring. I mean, do I really want to be responsible for shaping or disfiguring the impressionable minds of the next generation? Besides that. While I could cite facts gleaned from my latest reading, I would only be passing along someone else’s facts and wisdom, or their fabrications and warped ideologies. Who likes chewing someone else’s cud? Not even cows, I’m guessing.
So, where exactly does this put Wide Margins, the Blog?
I guess we’ll all find out together. Did I say “all”? That sounds awfully optimistic. Still, Wide Margins is what I’m calling this space, so I suppose there’s ample room for optimism. Stay tuned.
That last is only a suggestion, by the way.