The Fine Art of Duck and Cover

I am quickly approaching my 42nd birthday which means two things:  I was born in 1968 and come next October, be listening for the sirens.  And not because I am trotting out that old euphemism about candles and hot firemen.  Nope, I plan on my birthday parties to be worthy of police responses…someday.  I figure that by the time I hit my 90s, I will have earned the right to disturb the peace a bit with some good ole wild celebrating.  Because birthdays are a big deal.  And because, sometimes, for a just a bit, I do enjoy being the center of attention.

But sometimes, I would just as soon have everybody overlook little ole me.  I guess the difference is if they come peering at me with a gift-wrapped prezzie in their hands.

Because as much as it may surprise some of you to hear this, even extroverts who regularily take the stage can get a bit freaked out over being the center of attention.  Sometimes, everybody looking at you just makes you want to take a cue from Bert the Turtle and do some serious “duck and cover”.  (Anybody else old enough to have done the whole “nuclear holocaust” drills as a kid?  Oy.  Nothing like that little brand of fun to make a kid grow up maladjusted and more than just a wee bit jumpy around loud noises.)

A fine example of this need to go hide under my shell happened just a little more than a month ago.  July 2nd to be precise.  Some of you who read this blog regularly have probably figured out that you get a smidgeon of what’s going on in my life…or what rolls through my mind at the particular moment I start typing.  July 2nd started out as a fairly nondescript day in my life.  I was running around the house, coffee cup grasped in one hand, wearing slippers and jammies, and trying to get my kids ready to go to day five of a soccer camp put on by our local park and rec.  I was probably on cup two of my magic elixir of life and on argument thirty seven when I remembered that it was in fact, Friday.  And I needed to post my blog.  Which I hadn’t written yet.  (Do you see where this might be going?)

Between arguing over appropriate clothing options for running around a grassy field (shoes, not flip flops; shorts, not sparkly skirts, for example) and appropriate breakfast options (yes, a granola bar will work; no, ice cream won’t) I whipped out a post about a conversation I had overheard that week.  I had told my husband about it and we both thought it was funny.  So that was the quick idea for the blog I threw out there and then ran out of the house.  I barely proofread it, let alone thought much about it.

Somewhere between the 4 year old sobbing over “hating soccer so much” and the 6.5 year old sprinting like a gazelle around the field, I checked my work email on my iPhone.  Then I opened up my personal email and thought, “wow, who’s this commenter on my blog?”

My “One Armed Stripper” story happened to get picked up by WordPress for their front page and I went from getting my usual thirty to seventy-five hits on a story to averaging 2400 a day for about a week.

And I quickly went from thinking all the attention was awesome to wishing I could just crawl under some protective shell.

It would have helped if every commenter came bearing shiny prezzies, but some came carrying bombs.  And my blog, which I started oh so long ago as a place to just share funny little stories suddenly became a place of over-exposure.

So, it was with a big sigh of relief to see my stats counter finally move thirty days past that blog post.  No longer are those big-ass spikes on my counter staring me in the face, making me acknowledge just how freaky all that attention had been for a few days.

Which brings up a few things for this writer.  Namely, I need to figure out how to deal with attention because we know it can’t all be shiny, beautifully wrapped presents.  And someday there’s going to be another tab up at the top of this here blog that says “as a writer” and my writing will be getting way more exposure than just this blog.

So, if anybody happens to have a turtle shell large enough for a middle-aging woman 5’1.5″ tall to hide under, I’d like to buy, beg, borrow, or steal it from you.   Thanks!

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8 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Duck and Cover

  1. I ducked and covered all through elementary school. Even then I remember thinking, “I really don’t think this is going to protect me from fire.”

    I know what you mean about the attention. One time I had a YouTube video that was featured on a ‘Stupidest Videos of all Time’ site. I was mortified.

    Happy Birthday.

    • ~giggle~ I agree. Like being under my desk is going to save my hiney from a nuclear warhead. Thank goodness those days are over. Not that we necessarily are any safer, we just aren’t terrorizing the kiddos about it, twice a year. 🙂

      Thanks for the birthday wishes – I’ll have to reread this comment on October 17th. 🙂

  2. First, 42? No WAY. I don’t believe it. Impossible. Second, I think you’ll get used to “being in the spotlight,” especially if it is a more gradual transition. July 2nd was a shock for you because it was sudden, unexpected and then gone without much of a fuss. If your blog stats had gradually increased, I think you would have coped with it better. OR even if those numbers had stayed that way, I’m sure you would have found a way to deal with the pressure. Either way, I think you will be fine. You’re kinda awesome like that.

    • LOL! You’re too nice. I shall indeed be turning 42 this fall. I plan on having a “Meaning of Life” party – don’t worry, I’ll post all kinds of party invitations as I truly believe all should be celebrating. Not just my birthday but something. 🙂 (ps. Hitch Hiker’s Guide fans out there? If so, make some noise!)

    • Ha! I suspect my 15 minutes of WordPress fame have passed. But thanks for thinking that. Oh, and may I be so bold as to say you are the finest looking, ahem, Equus asinus asinus, that has graced my blog all day. 🙂 The yellow head phones really makes the whole look “pop”. xoxo 🙂

  3. Greetings from Australia! Your ‘Stripper’ article was the first one of your missives that I read. It was absolutely hilarious. This lead me to put your blog under my ‘favourites’ and I swing past every day to check for new stories. Loving them, keep up the great work.

    • That is so sweet – I love knowing there are folks who like me enough to come back on a regular basis. Can’t always guarantee much funny, but I do aim to be funny at least some of the time. I guess you’ll just have to let me know how I’m doing on the keeping you laughing front. 🙂

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