Eventually people do catch on, and I mean to include myself. Once in a while I'd repeat something I'd posted to the site, and someone would look at me sideways and ask "Where on earth did that come from?" And I'd answer, with a perfectly straight face: "From my unauthorized autobiography." Facile wisecracks, after all, are my stock in trade. But after all those uncountable hours at the keyboard — well, I suppose you could count them, as they're not exactly infinite, but why would you want to? — as time passed and something resembling a narrative began to take shape, I realized that this wasn't so much a wisecrack as a Kinsley-type gaffe: an obvious truth I wasn't at all intending to disclose.

Why this should be so is at least somewhat easily explainable:

... a very real fear of mine: that something's going to happen inside my head, suddenly or gradually, and everything I associate with adulthood is going to dissolve into the fog and leave me basically a very large infant. The prospect of an ordinary long and lingering illness doesn't particularly trouble me — I have the example of my brother, who was lucid, if not always able to convey that lucidity, right up until his last few hours — but the idea of going through the rest of my days with a blank expression because I have no clue what's going on is decidedly disturbing.

Hence this urge to document the usual and the unusual, the wan and the wonderful, the predictable and the preposterous. Many of my oldest memories have long since fled, or at least concealed themselves; however, I cling to the belief, valid or otherwise, that if I do forget everything, with the obvious exception of How To Read, I'll have reference material to fall back on.

One drawback to this approach, I admit, is that this particular narrative is neither linear nor logical: as a firm believer in throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks, I should not be at all surprised that adhesive properties are something less than entirely consistent. And surely my 42-year-old self, gleeful at the thought of filling up a whole megabyte of free Web space, never anticipated the variety of weirdness I've been able to hurl. Way back in Vent #3, I noted that up to that point, I'd "smashed cable boxes, embossed metal tags, inventoried grinding wheels and tucked tacos" to keep the wolf from the door; while my employment has since become a bit more stable, the side interests have gotten both more diverse and more inexplicable: to cite an obvious example, in 1996 My Little Pony hadn't quite made it to Generation Two, and I certainly wasn't paying attention to it. (And besides, Derpy, despite a similar level of klutziness, is a lot more entertaining than Clover ever dreamed of being.) Perhaps stability in my workaday life demands some sort of compensation in the off-hours.

There is, I suppose, the issue of TMI: how much information is Too Much Information? I'm sure if I've erred, it's on the side of Too Much, if only because few complain that I'm not telling enough. I'm thinking this might be a subconscious response to the utter shock some people express when they discover that while they're not interested in the Net, the Net is interested in them. (Actual interchange: "Why is there a picture of my house on the Internet?" "Um, it's Google Street View. They have a picture of everyone's house." "How can they do that?") Alternatively, this perhaps could be explained as a psychological accommodation to McNealy's Aphorism: "You have zero privacy anyway. Get used to it." Evidently I'm used to it.

The Vent

  1 March 2013

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