Patsy Porco

Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

Me, Myself and I

In Humor, Religion on August 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Busy, self-important people often say, “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.” This belief, in turn, keeps them even more busy — which is why they also say, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”

The answer to their plight might, at first, appear to be cloning. Or, that thing that Hermione did in one of the Harry Potter books. She cast a spell on herself which allowed her to be in two places at once. It didn’t work out that well for her, however. She got confused, and more importantly, she confused the hell out of her friends.

What is my point, you ask? My point is that those people with their delusional opinions of themselves have three choices: they can either get over themselves, become hospitalized for exhaustion, or locate their alter egos and have them help out.

Not long ago, I discovered one of life’s truths. Since there is nothing new under the sun, this truth has, no doubt, been previously discovered. But it’s never come up in any conversations that I’ve had, so I’m taking credit.

At the time of my revelation, my sister and I were having a conversation about sunflowers. She said that they were her favorite flowers. I told her that they were mine, too. Then she said that she and I had a lot in common; we even have the same voice. (Years ago, a complete stranger who was walking ahead of her on a street in downtown Columbus, Ohio, heard her laugh. He turned around and asked if she was Patsy Bahner [my maiden name]. He had heard me on the radio, but he had never met me.)

As soon as my sister said that we had a lot in common, I automatically responded, “That’s because you’re a continuation of me. Just like I’m a continuation of Mom.”

We both pondered my declaration for a second, and then pronounced me brilliant. (Well, one of us did.) Then we drank more wine.

I’m naming my new belief Co-Creationism. Here’s how it works: we all have God-only-knows-how-many alter egos strolling the Earth. Some of our egos are becoming better souls, some of them are muddling along not accomplishing much spiritually, and some are on that proverbial Highway to Hell (see: Book of Proverbs). When our many souls eventually merge together for an appearance at The Great Reckoning, each of us will be hoping that the color of our final soul is on the whitish end of the white-black spectrum.

This new (to me) belief should appeal to forward-thinking trend setters. It won’t be long until Hollywood types start wearing (or “rocking” as they say) my Co-Creationism toe rings (color of rings to be determined).

All of this deep thinking has exhausted me. I think I’ll have one of my alter egos take a nap.

Organic Growth

In Humor, key words, keywords, WordPress on August 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm

WordPress just awarded me a virtual trophy for my virtual trophy case. The trophy case exists at WordPress offices, which are virtually located somewhere in cyberspace (“cyber” meaning “virtual”).

My trophy was for getting 50 people to follow my blog (I am extremely grateful to all of my blog subscribers. Thank you!). It  took me four years, and my blog’s growth was mostly organic.

Some people get 50 followers on their fourth day. But, they are either famous, have a lot of relatives, or get “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress. Blog posts that are Freshly Pressed are featured by WordPress on their Freshly Pressed page. WordPress bloggers and readers flock to this page, to find good-quality writing on numerous topics. Being Freshly Pressed is a sure-fire way to attract readers. Otherwise, your blog is just one of trillions of blogs, all badly key-worded,* and destined for the slush pile of blogs sitting on a virtual desk somewhere.

As I said earlier, my blog’s growth has been mostly organic, which means “grown with products only found in nature” — which, in my case means “via word of mouth, or accidental.” Like organic gardening, you have to have faith that your garden (blog) won’t be eaten by slugs (ignored) and will eventually produce an edible (wildly popular) commodity. The only fertilizer you can use is natural. I am full of natural fertilizer and I sprinkle it freely on my posts, so that isn’t the problem.

Time is the problem. It takes too long to grow things organically. I’m about ready to haul out the big guns: chemicals (curse/sex words). I’m pretty sure that curses and sex words are looked up more often than “humorous essay about my dog.” Using profane keywords should get me more readers, but is it worth cheapening my blog, just to get people to read my posts?

Hmmmm. I don’t ******* know. Maybe, just once.

*People who are looking for something specific online will Google specific keywords (i.e., chicken recipes; how to build a brick wall; pictures of hot women/guys; etc.) So, it’s very important to use commonly searched words in your post or in your tags (words from your post that you choose to label your post with). It’s not an exact science. Thousands of people use the same word combinations, so, if you don’t use the right keywords or keyword combinations, and if you’re writing about a topic that many others are writing about, when someone searches for your topic, your blog may appear as entry 10,000 in a keyword search, on page 928. People pay a lot of money to come up with keywords and keyword phrases that will get them to the first or second spot on the first page of a search. Most people never click to the second page (let alone page 928) when searching for information. Keywords matter, sometimes more than content.

A Tough Opponent

In Humor on August 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

A Facebook, and real-life, friend of mine posted advice about compassion (see below) to her Wall. It’s credited to Andrea Heiland.

My personal battle is with Wealth. And, my opponent is a coward. Every time I advance, Wealth retreats, just out of my reach.

Thank God that Health is on my side. Health keeps me in the battle.

I’m thinking of staging an I-no-longer-care-about-Wealth offensive, which might cause my opponent to let down his guard.

Battles by Andrea Heiland

 

Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania … and Nora?

In Books, Humor, Writing on August 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm

I just finished a book, Murder Me Now, by Annette Meyers, about a bohemian flapper poet/detective, Olivia Brown. When Olivia isn’t detecting (or drinking gin in Greenwich Village speak-easies), she composes poems which she later recites to her adoring fans. And her fans are legion. People stop her on the street, halt their conversations on trains, and line up for hours outside a venue at which she is scheduled to appear, just to hear her recite her work.

Between you and me, I find it hard to believe that poetry was ever that esteemed, even a century ago. Poetry confuses me. But, I don’t think most poets know what they’re writing about anyway, so I’ve never worried about my lack of insight into a poem’s meaning.

Olivia, however, is no regular poet/detective. She has a muse, whom she creatively calls “Muse.” When she feels a poem upon her, she only has to sit at her desk and ask Muse for inspiration. Nine times out of ten, Muse puts all of the poem’s words into Olivia’s head, in sonnet form. All that Olivia has to do is type.

I’m no stranger to muses. I’ve been known to ask deceased writers to a-muse me. Sometimes you’ll hear a person say that a living person is his muse, but the person talking is usually a man who has designs on the woman he calls his muse. As soon as their relationship fizzles out, he’s on to another muse.

I prefer a muse who is dead. You don’t have to meet for coffee or buy thank-you presents for spirit muses. If I could find a muse who would write my blog posts for me, instead of just inspiring me, that would be another plus in the muse’s favor.

My favorite form of writing is the humorous essay. When Erma Bombeck died, on my birthday, I took it as a sign that she was to be my muse. I asked her to inspire me and, for a while there, I thought she did. But I get the feeling that she didn’t find me funny enough to bother with, so she moved on.

I think that either David Sedaris or Dave Barry would be a perfect fit as my muse, but they’re still alive, which rules them out … for now. In the meantime, the search continues, but I think I’m getting close to finding myself a muse.

It’s said that everything happens for a reason, so when my friend recently loaned me her copy of a Nora Ephron book of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck, I took note. When I started reading, I had a eureka moment: “Eureka! I have found her!” I know, like I’ve never known anything before, that I would very much like Nora Ephron to be my muse. I would welcome her inspiration. I would really welcome her actually writing my blog posts, but I’ll work up to that request.

In the meantime, I have to get Nora to agree to take me on, which might be too much to ask of her. In fact, she’s probably appalled that I’m asking her to muse me at all — especially since I am incorrectly using the word “muse” as a verb meaning “inspire.”

In Nora’s lifetime, she was a talented, sophisticated, intelligent, witty, sardonic, and hilarious writer who was widely admired. Why would she lower herself to muse me?

The answer is: because I’m alive and she’s not. I can keep her voice alive during the rest of my lifetime. That reason alone might sway her. After all,  even though she died, I’m certain that she still has lots to say.

What do you say, Nora?

Who’s To Say?

In Humor on August 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Back when I was young and idealistic, I tried to do the occasional good. (I wasn’t fanatically idealistic.)

For a few years, I worked in radio and, once a week, I would go to a makeshift studio in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and read the day’s newspaper to the blind listening audience. Some of them knew of me from listening to WCOL-AM, where I cohosted a middle-of-the-night call-in talk show on Saturday nights. I also manned the control board from Sunday through Thursday. In truth, that shift wasn’t an on-air one. I was supposed to air talk-radio programs and live sporting events. After those ended, the station aired syndicated programming.

But, in the middle of the night, my bosses weren’t listening, so sometimes I would play music and chatter on-air. I had a small following of a handful of people who would call off-air and keep me awake through the long night.

I also brought a pillow and an alarm clock, for nights when I chose to actually do my job as prescribed. On those occasions, I would sleep on the floor behind the board while the automated shows and commercials played. My alarm clock would get me up to play the news at the top of the hour. Then, I’d go back to sleep, unless I felt like doing a live music show.

So, to return to my original topic: I would read to the blind once a week. A few dozen people each volunteered one day a week. We worked in pairs, and read the daily newspaper until we finished it. It was a small operation and I’m not really sure how our audience heard us. I think they had special receivers.

When I moved to Manhattan, I signed up to read to the blind, but this time, it was competitive. I was only able to get fill-in shifts because of the demand for shifts by aspiring actors. They were cutthroat about getting on-air time, so I quickly lost interest in the cause.

My sister’s boyfriend accused me of only doing it so that I could say that I did. Was he right? Maybe. It was an interesting thing to bring up when talking to people I knew, or strangers on the bus. They always looked very impressed at how altruistic I was. So, maybe I wasn’t so altruistic, after all.

Now that I’m older and less idealistic, I know that I sometimes do things for a self-serving reason, even if I’m not aware of it. So, if you’re my friend, you should know that I’ve always wanted a full church at my funeral Mass. If my death precedes yours, I would appreciate your attendance. That’s not the only reason I’m your friend, but it’s one of them.

I’m just kidding. Or am I serious? Who’s to say? I surely don’t know.

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