It Makes Old People Happy to See You Reading! 

Story Time (previous tales)

8 Improvements Readers Want From Online Writers:

1 - Stop With the Lists, Already:
9 ways to do this. 3 ways to do that. 1 stupid move that dooms you to failure. It's as if everything in our lives can be chunked into neat, easily digestible bits of information. Not true. It also suggests we've grown so stupid that we need numbers to recognize the start of a new thought. We always kind of figured that's why writers used paragraphs.

2 - Be Substantial, or at the Very Least, Less Vapid:
How many articles entitled X Number of Things to Never Say In a Job Interview are we supposed to see before we begin poking ourselves in the eyes? There are hundreds of thousands of you writing out there. For heaven's sake, please come up with something original.

3 - Be Specific:
We already know that it's bad for our careers to tell our bosses to go to hell. We'd really like specific and concrete examples of how your advice will help us. If you're making it up as you go along (like I am) then have the guts to admit it. If you use outside sources of information, then provide a link. If you're worried about us not coming back to your article once we follow the link, then improve your writing.

4 - Use Bigger Words in Longer Sentences:
We understand that you feel as if you need to write to the lowest common denominator, but how about throwing a bone to those of us who can read somewhere above a 5th grade level? That last sentence held more than 30 words and some of them were polysyllabic! Did any of you writers out there have trouble understanding it? What makes you think you're smarter than we are?

5 - Match Title And Content:
Bait and switch is dishonest and that's a bad thing. So, when you lure us in with a catchy title and then fail to deliver matching content, we call you bad names. Maybe you don't care if we call you bad names. But we want you to know, all the same.

6 - Quit Hiding The Product:
You probably need money to buy food and there's money to be made in highlighting goods or services. Have the wherewithal to hint, up front, that the information you're providing is a big, long, perhaps paid-for advertisement for a product that was given to you for free. Have pity on those of us reading at a 5th grade level. We can't always tell when you're pushing product. That's likely the point.

7 - Be Brave:
If you feel strongly about something, then say so. We're not going to start hating you and stop reading because your writing makes us think. In fact, it make us more likely to check your updated posts. You don't have to go all crazy-obnoxious-conspiracy-theory on us, but avoiding any trace of offense turns your words into the blandest of processed cheese-foods.

8 - Give Insights Into You:
You're in the wrong racket if it scares the pants off you to know that what you write might live forever. Yes, you have a reputation to market. Yes, you fear, somewhat justifiably, that any controversy you stir might sink you at a later date. We're not asking to see pictures of your bare bottom (nothing personal, we're just sayin'). But it sure would be nice if you let your light shine, if only a little. Think of the dead writers you admire. We bet none of them hid behind their words. Neither should you.

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Can we buy real poo next time?


So... This morning I get into the shower.


I’m carrying a brand-new bottle of shampoo. My favorite brand. I use it all the time. Really. It enables what little hair I have to be soft and glowing. Sure does. Yep. I saw it in a commercial. So it must be true.


I’m in the shower. I’m soaking wet (no surprise there). I snap open the lid of the shampoo bottle and hold it over my upturned hand... Nothing comes out. I squeeze the bottle. Nope. Nothing. At all. I unscrew the cap. Beneath, I find a plastic seal.


What the heck? On my shampoo? A plastic seal? Against what? Shampoo thieves? Shampoo diluters? Shampoo adulteraters?  Shampoo switchers with hair removalers?


What's this world coming to? I bought the same brand and size bottle a couple of months ago. There was no plastic seal. Probably some Homeland Security rule or something. The Shampoo Czar declared an orange state of emergency for all bottles. I shouldn't joke, I know, I'll end up on the watch list - if I’m not there already.


I try to remove the plastic seal. Should be easy, there's a little tab to pull. I pull on the tab. The tab pulls off. The seal stays on. I curse (out loud) at the wonderful engineering behind such a design. Now what? I’m nekked. Soaking wet. In the shower. What might I have that has a chance of piercing a plastic seal? My teeth? For a shampoo bottle? Even *I’m* not that dim.


I have a valve at the shower head that lets me turn off *most* of the flow, to save water while I'm soaping up. I don't use it, of course, being a Wasteful American, but it's there nonetheless. I manage to rip open the shampoo bottle's plastic seal using the edge of that shower head valve-handle. A couple pieces of plastic manage to escape. They hurry down the floor drain. To wait several months before causing a clog. At the worst possible time. Plastic's bad that way. Ornery plastic. Mind of its own, plastic has.


I screw the cap back on, trying not to get any water into the shampoo. That'll change the composition of the shampoo. And, somewhere, give a shampoo chemist bad dreams. I hold the shampoo bottle up and, with vim and vigor, snap open the top.


Hold on... What's that coming towards me? It's a big blob of un-watered-down shampoo. Heading straight for my right eye.


!! BLINK, FOOL !! My brain screams.


"Who, me?" Asks my eye. My eyes are sort of slow, sometimes. They've been headed downhill ever since I started wearing bifocals.


Blam! The shampoo lands right on the lashes of my right eye.


!! DON'T BLINK !! My brain screams.


"Who, me?" Asks my eye. And it blinks. I told you they were sort of slow, didn't I? My right eye is now filled with searing shampoo-lava. It burns. With a big B. And a big URNS, too. I hear a shampoo chemist giggling, somewhere (later, when I’m thinking more clearly, I'll put some water into the bottle to get even). I stick my face into the shower stream to flush the chemicals from my eye.




I don't know what mornings are like at your house. But here, it's a whole lot of people vying for limited resources. That's why I’ve always crawled outta bed first. No matter where I’ve live or whom I’ve lived with. I want to be at the top of the schedule. The first in line. I always want to kick off the schedule. It comes from being a second child. Really - ask any second child you know. If they say it isn't true, they're fibbing like a sack of (sham)poo.


Top of the schedule I am. Still, during mornings, everything has to run like clock-work. Everything. It's like the tides at Normandy on D-Day. The orbits of the planets on a moon launch. Everything has to be lined up just so. Bing. Bang. Boom. Including the amount of time *I* spend in the shower.


It's not that somebody's waiting to use the shower. Nope. But. There are only so many butts and only so many commodes, y'know? And, in a house this old, butts, commodes, showers, and faces are all connected by pipes. All in one nice, neat, sweet, perfectly connected string of events. Like the co-incidences that brought you to this point in time.


I'm running behind my regular schedule because of the sealed shampoo. And my face is in the shower because I’m rinsing shampoo-magma outta my eye. My right eye. My left eye wonders what's going on.


Somebody else, somewhere else in the house. Lifts their butt from a commode. Relieved at finishing one of their first tasks of the day, they push the flush handle... I feel a drop in the water pressure - the cold water pressure.


!! FACE...BACK !! My brain screams.


My face (which isn't nearly as slow as my eyes) pulls back from the soon-to-arrive flash of heat. I even manage a step back and away. Some reflexes, huh? Of course, it takes an instant before the water rises to scalding temperatures and another instant before I realizes that the course of the shower spray is now aimed directly at what some would politely term my “naughty bits.”


My brain screamed something at that point. I don't recall what it was. Except it started with bad words and went on with bad words and ended with bad words. I think I used every bad word I know. That's a LOT of bad words. Trust me. Lots. Luckily I was ‘way too busy dancing around the too-hot water to listen very much to what it was I was saying.


I was kind of tender toweling off. My shampooed right eye looked as if I smoked a bale of weed (perhaps I should say what I have read a bale of weed eye would look like. Homeland Security and all that). My left eye looked more angry than anything else. And slow.


Stupid shampoo.