As many of my friends will tell you, I am ridiculously hard on myself. So I greet my birthdays with a rather punitive evaluation of where I’ve been, where I want to be, and all the ways in which I’m not there yet. This year is no different. As usual I am struggling to be satisfied, to be proud of what I’ve done, and not rail against my shortcomings.
Perhaps I should take a page out of Klout’s book and tell you all the ways in which I’ve influenced the world this year? Klout is a website and a very peculiar phenomenon to me. As far as I can tell, using a combination of algorithms, antifreeze and voodoo, this site measures a person’s influence over their social network. It’s far too adult for a dewy eyed and fresh-faced young lass like myself to understand, of course. But it seems that every time I make a passing comment on Twitter or Facebook it gets factored in to the topics that I am influential about. Like the day I discovered that I am a specialist on bacon.
That’s right, bacon.
A while back I wrote a piece of flash fiction involving murder and bacon. One day a large amount of people from Stumble Upon (a site that uses old sneaker shoelaces, antifreeze and voodoo to help one browse the world wide interwebs for interesting content) flocked to my blog to read it. At the time, I must have prattled on to the twitter community about the powerful aphrodisiac that is murder and bacon. Eventually I discovered that the story had been accidentally categorized at Stumble Upon under “logic”. If there’s one thing you all know about me, logic has virtually nothing to do with the content here at Madame Paradox. Can you imagine how disappointed all those M.I.T. grads were when they arrived here and found me waxing poetic about four legged women and my remarkable ability to smell moldy cheese from 100 yards away?
But I digress. Some of the topics Klout thinks I am influential about make sense like writing and authors. A few however defy explanation. As of this morning for example, I am influential about the Master’s Golf Tournament. Which is interesting because other than my phenomenal one-month run as miniature golf champ of the Pixies in day camp circa 1969, I’ve never spent much time thinking about the sport. It is a sport, isn’t it? Where does the Masters golf tournament take place, anyway? Do they enjoy a lot of bacon, and bacon related products while they’re on the links? Perhaps that explains it.
Also, apparently I am influential about teeth. Ironic really, considering I have no dental insurance.
And oh, congress. Loads of you are hanging on my every word about congress. Except congress, who isn’t hanging on anyone’s words about anything these days. Pity we don’t have some kind of system in place in this country to vote in representatives who look after our best interests…
I know for true entrepreneurs hoping to strike it rich in the world of blogging that influence and reach are serious topics. And I haven’t spent 250 years in advertising without being able to appreciate the importance of such things. But for me, writer-girl slogging away in anonymity at my keyboard in my messy Manhattan apartment, the concept that I’m influential feels a bit absurd. I imagine holding sway over the dust bunnies in my apartment. That’s me, the Contessa De Swiffer Sweeper. Also, there’s an unconfirmed rumor that the throw pillows on my couch will be giving me an award later this year for the girl most likely to sit on her ass and watch eight hours of Project Runway.
Speaking of which, thanks to the birthday purchase of a fine tablet known as the ipad, I have recently been exposed to a lot of apps. But I haven’t been able to find some important ones. For example, where is the app that will help me pick the right man? Here’s how I imagine it will work. Using a combination of pushup bras, antifreeze and voodoo this program will scan my potential mates. If I have chosen in error, a voice prompt that sounds remarkably like Heidi Klum will say, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.”
Naturally if I’ve met someone worth pursuing, I’ll hear Tim Gunn shouting, “Make it work, people. Make it work!”
How about an app that tells me what wine to pair with righteous indignation, and how to dress for a philosophical crisis? I think that would come in very handy, don’t you?
Is there an app that will tell me which pair of jeans will make me look like I have the ass of a twenty-year-old?
Perhaps I haven’t quite grasped the app technology just yet.
You know if Klout were using enough antifreeze in their app they’d know I am actually an authority on flummery and tom foolery, and using archaic vocabulary words that interfere with a readers enjoyment of my posts.
Maybe you all need an app to tell you what point I’m trying to make here?
It comes down to this. Another year of my life has passed, and I guess the person I’m trying to influence the most, is myself. So my birthday wish isn’t about gifts, or parades, or Fringe’s Joshua Jackson arriving at my door wearing nothing but an enthusiastic grin (although it would just be common courtesy to invite him in if he shows).
My hope this year is for more strength, a greater will to change and grow. I want to be more authentic. To work harder to face the fears that interfere with my ability to become more…me. It’s a tall order, I know. I think there’s an app for it in iTunes. It’s called “Life” and once you pay your 99 cents there’s no telling what’s going to happen next.