When Colin asked me to submit the occasional post to his new blog Pencil Storm, I knew exactly what he was talking about. He probably wanted me to come in there like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross with a Type A Blogging Presentation, really whip the other bloggers in to shape.
Or better yet, a Gordon Ramsay kind of thing – Tommy C’s Blogging Nightmares! He’d probably have them all in a big, open blogging chamber, give them something to blog about, and then I’d go around yelling at them and calling them names, trying to make them cry. Some Tough Love – sure, Colin, I could serve some of that up.
Well, I don’t think it’s a fair question and it’s an ambiguous term anyway. He probably meant, let’s play it a little lower key than that, so the guys don’t get frustrated and productivity doesn’t halt. Got to think about the shareholders, roger that. I got you, Colin.
“Again,” Colin said patiently – he’s a very patient man, you just want to reach out and squeeze him like a patient, hard-rocking teddy bear. “Again, no. I’m just talking about a slice of wiseassery, maybe once a week. Since you’re sitting around being a wiseass anyway, and since we’ve known each other for twenty-five years, and since that’s how the blogosphere is. Kumbaya, you dig?”
A long paragraph, I’m afraid I didn’t catch the middle, just got startled out of a little mini-trance by the word “Kumbaya.”
I said, “Yeah, I’ll come by and crack some skulls for you, pal. No problem. Send over a car.”
Not how blogging works, and Colin seemed all-too-aware that I could log on to Pencil Storm from my own computer. Plus, I was standing right in front of him – no need for a car at all. Well, he’d certainly done his homework.
“Listen, Colin, if you don’t need my asskicking services then why did you call me in the first place? That’s my question.” Really leaned back and gave him the Russian Chess Player stare, too. Kind of like, Riddle Me This, Hotshot.
So Colin – again, very patiently, he’s just an absolute peach – tried explaining, “No, no. I didn’t call you, remember? This is my coffee shop and you just walked in and nobody said anything about you kicking any ass.”
I took a nice, tasty drink of steaming hot coffee, wondering why I would have just walked into Colin’s Coffee out of the clear blue sky and then imagined Colin hiring me to be a jerk to his bloggers. Mmmmmmmmm, it was good coffee.
So I left and sprang very slowly into action over the next few weeks. I did a little research on Pencil Storm by putting on a cool hat and going to Pencil Storm and reading what was posted there. It turned out everybody over there was better and smarter and more popular than me, and I felt a little bit like Jan Brady. One of the guys – Johnny DiLoretto – I remember from The Other Paper, where he used to write movie reviews which generated John Petric volumes of letters to the editor.
“I don’t know what movie you were watching, and I don’t like your tone, Johnny, and yip, yip yip.” That sort of thing.
That’s some hip, local stuff there, Rest of the Blogosphere, so just skip it or pretend like you got it so you look hip. There you go.
One of the other guy’s on the radio. He’s like the guy who goes and buys vinyl abums and then makes you listen to them even if you’re a tone deaf blogger who’s driving to Newark on Sunday morning. Sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, but he’s going to make me crash my car one of these days.
And there’s an editor – that freaked me out. The cool thing about not having an editor is you can post whatever you want and no one can stop you. The downside being of course that someone should frequently stop me, and I don’t talk too good and I spell less gooder, and also if you have undiagnosed mental disorders and no editor, then everyone is going to know about them.
Still I started walking around bitching about “my editor” for the better part of the week because it made me feel very writery. Damn, my editor is all over my ass about this unspecified assignment that Colin offered me on a whim because I ordered coffee and then just stood there looking at him instead of leaving.
As a result, the piece I’ve got up there now – you heard me, I called it a piece, because that’s what my editor calls them and he’s the boss, apple sauce – took about four weeks to write. I had also known the editor – Mr. Jeff Hassler – for decades and I remember that he was very, very scary. One time he snapped and beat an entire hackey sack circle to death with a tree branch on The Oval during the Turbulent Nineties. And everything I knew about editors in general, I had learned from comic books and their movie adaptations.
What do you do when you’re not Spiderman, Tommy C?
Well, what I did was hide for a while and now I’ve got a post up there. You can go see it by clicking right here.