IF

If you can keep your head, while all about you are losing theirs, you probably haven’t checked with your service recently.  Being short of inspiration for a blog theme, and too damned lazy to do some research, I decided to relate how I came to begin blogging.  It’s not as fantastic as, “Meteor strikes housewife on head,” but the steps leading to it just kept bringing up the thought IF.  You’ll see it a couple of times later.

I am a word-nut and language lover.  When I was working, I used to do two crossword puzzles a day, one of them at the plant, and depending on the job, sometimes on the line.  Since I retired, I have found another crossword available on-line, and now do three a day, plus six word-jumble puzzles each week.  I found a word in a puzzle one day and said, “I’ll have to look that up in one of my dictionaries, when I get home.”  One of your dictionaries??!  How many do you have?

Had to stop and count, at least eight, ranging from a 350 page secretary’s, to two 2000 pagers.  One of those was printed in 1952, and gives archaic words and British usage.  The other is modern and gives American-isms and technical terms.  Also possess a Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary thesaurus, an etymological dictionary, a word menu, two French-English, English-French translators, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Oh, no!  We had the partridge for dinner last week.

Searching for words could get a little time-consuming, and frustrating, so I started using the Dictionary.Com website, where I found my third daily cross-word puzzle.  They print several articles a week about words, punctuation and usage, and there is a discussion thread where I soon learned to linguistically give and take.  Didn’t take much.  I’d like to think that 75% of the writers were in grade six or lower.  That was about the level of writing.  Spelling, punctuation, capitalization, word usage….all atrocious, especially for a dictionary site, but some of the posters mentioned jobs.  Egad!  You want fries with that?

One night I saw an ad to explain the connection between Starbucks, and a great white whale.  I thought I knew what it was, but clicked it anyway.  I wasn’t even paying enough attention to realize that I had left Dictionary.Com, and had been dropped at the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress.  The first thing I saw was a message that the authors of this article had withdrawn it from publication.  I looked the page over and saw other articles.  None of them did much for me until I hit “Burrito Rage.”  Being a great fan of food, and particularly TexMex, that sounded delicious, so I clicked on it.

BrainRants had been on the blogscene for a couple of months and had been put up on FreshPressed.  Somehow they forgot to take him down for almost three weeks.  I read Burrito Rage, and laughed my ass off, and read the comments.  Then I sifted my way through his archives, and it only got better.  Damn!  This was nirvana.  Erudite people correctly using and spelling four-syllable words.  As I had on the dictionary site, I started to make comments, and Rants encouraged me to.  I learned to click on his commenters and go to other, similar sites, and was enthralled.

I had only been vaguely aware of “blogging”, and wasn’t even aware that my daughter had recently started one up.  I started gushing about all the stories, and jokes and wordplay that I was finding, and the wife and daughter decided that they had found a retirement hobby for me.  I mentioned to BrainRants that the daughter was setting up a blog for me, and he graciously offered to blogroll me, as soon as it occurred.  I didn’t even know exactly what a blogroll was, or what an honor was being extended to me, but I jumped at the chance.  I still haven’t worked out the complexities of attaching a blogroll to my own site, but should do it soon, to honor and spread the renown of a talented group of writers and blogs which I enjoy.

Talk about taking the road less travelled!  This is a road I didn’t even know existed seven months ago.  This is also like the butterfly effect.  Tiny chance after tiny chance after tiny chance have led me here.  If even one causative factor had not followed the one before, I would have missed out on some great times with some great people.

If I had not decided to save time and energy and go digital with my dictionary.  If I had not been so displeased with the quality of communication at Dictionary.Com.  If I had not pursued Ahab’s white whale, Moby Dick, all the way to WordPress.  If the Starbucks authors had not withdrawn their post.  If BrainRants had not been FreshPressed.  If any other of Rants’ posts had been selected for Pressing.  If Rants had not encouraged a tongue-tied fumble-fingered yokel to join the party.  Science fiction literature has been described as, The World of If, and this is so unlike the world I dwelt in up till a year ago, that it almost feels like science fiction right here on Earth.

I know that I am not as creative or exciting as most of the bloggers I follow, but every writer has a niche.  Mine is quiet and sedate.  I have been able to attract 35 followers, and slowly the number grows.  The flair and élan of some of them make me wonder what they find in my prosaic writings, but, all of you who follow, or even just drop in to read, are a balm to my ego.  I thank you all.  You encourage, and make an old coot happy.

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