Quote of the week

“If only” seems to bedevil all of us at one time or another. (If you’ve managed to avoid it thus far, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.) Sometimes it goes like this:

I wish I were one of those “successful” bloggers. You know. The kind who can paint a pretty picture of their lives — they have lovely kids, they are super-good at their work, their hobby projects always turn out lovely and just as they planned them, they never seem to struggle or agonize. All their pictures are nice and none of them turn out to have a bit of the laundry basket peeking out in the corner of the picture of something else. When they bake bread, it looks like a picture in a cooking magazine. But I don’t have enough perfection in my life to be able to do that — it seems like my whole life is a big hot mess, and so all I can do is show the slightly-more-successful parts of the hot mess here. Maybe if I had a spouse or family close by or lots of close in-person friends I could talk about the stuff that bothers me instead of posting it here, I could be one of those serene bloggers who seems to have a perfect life. I don’t know.

Truth be told, I think the warts-and-all approach is much more appropriate, at least at this level, where you’re not counting on the daily bloggage to pay for your daily bread. I often wonder how much I’d have to scour this place if I were trying to make a living from it, instead of writing off some insignificant sum each year. (By “insignificant,” I mean “somewhere in the high two or low three figures.”) Besides, we have the example of Adobe Photoshop to guide us. In the smallest possible doses, it can shed light on important details. Overused, it creates a monster.

On the term “hot mess” itself, I like this below-the-top paragraph from Urban Dictionary:

No one set of guidelines can perpetually determine what distinguishes a “hot mess” from an above-average train wreck. Regardless of the circumstances, you know it when you see it; because they are typically conspicuous, and obviously they are always awesome.

And you know, if you’re going for a train wreck, you might as well go for above average.


  1. Jean »

    15 June 2014 · 12:07 am

    I don’t believe those perfect life bloggers are telling the truth and nothing but the truth. Pshaw on them.

  2. fillyjonk »

    15 June 2014 · 2:16 pm

    Huh. I always thought of “hot mess” more like definition 3 on there – that there’s something not even remotely appealing about it. But several other definitions suggest “hot mess” could apply to someone who is a mess, but is also still “hot” in the attractiveness sense.

    I will declare that some days there is not a great deal that seems attractive about my life. (But then again, I could be being ungrateful there; it would be far less attractive to be living in, say, Mosul right now.)

  3. CGHill »

    15 June 2014 · 4:09 pm

    Most people think my life is far more interesting than I do. I suppose it’s simply a matter of perspective.

  4. McGehee »

    15 June 2014 · 5:42 pm

    I certainly assumed a “hot mess” was supposedly someone you’d enjoy being around despite the contagious shambles they represent.

    There was even a time such an attraction was not altogether hypothetical to me — but I usually came to my senses before I got burned.

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