My blog at stallioncornell.com has been up and running since 2007, which, if you think about it, is about four decades in internet years.
Most blogs die quickly, but mine won’t go away. That’s because other people have interests and hobbies — they fish or golf or stack chewing gum wrappers. Me? I write. Whether or not people want to read what I write is irrelevant to the equation.
In the days prior to the internet, I filled up three-ring binders, spiral notebooks and old Franklin Day Planners with all manner of scribbled nonsense. Yes, the web has now given me the opportunity to inflict my neuroses on the world at large, but I think of that as your problem, not mine.
In any case, it’s still perplexing to me what gets noticed and what doesn’t. When my 2012 post about Mitt Romney removing a hornet’s nest from my cousin’s air conditioning unit went viral and got picked up by several national news outlets, I was pleased but not really surprised. It’s a fun story that showed a human side of a presidential candidate in the midst of hard-fought election season, so I expected it to attract some attention. I was astonished, however, when I became the de facto leader of an online rebellion against the Order of the Arrow.
Confused? Me, too.
It just so happens that early in my blog’s history — Sept. 16, 2007, to be precise — I wrote a post titled “The Order of the Arrow,” which described my miserable experience being inducted into the Boy Scouts of America’s honor society, which I described as “one with secrets so secret that I can never reveal them, mainly because I can’t remember any of them.” What I did remember was the “Ordeal,” the O of A induction ceremony that I found to be a thoroughly miserable experience. I thought a few laughs could be mined from sharing the details of my adolescent folly, and, the next day, I moved on to something else. I never expected to say another word about the Order of the Arrow for the rest of my life.
Google, however, had other ideas.
If you Google “Order of the Arrow Ordeal,” or “Order of the Arrow Secrets,” I’m one of the very first links that pops up. If you Google “Order of the Arrow Ordeal Secrets,” I’m the top hit. To this day, I get dozens of daily visitors to my blog to review my O of A musings, and many of them leave behind rather colorful comments. “(P)retend to be a man and quit your (whining), you little girl!” wrote one. “(Y)ou disgrace the brotherhood by reveling (sic) these secrets,” wrote another, even though I neither reveled nor revealed anything. Others aren’t as nasty, but they’re still not happy with me. As one commenter noted, “I guess I just don’t understand why some 20+ years later you are so filled with resentment.”
Except I’m not. But what little vestigial resentment I still harbor has been frozen in digital amber forevermore, and it’s made me the go-to guy for online Order of the Arrow bitterness. It’s an honor I did not seek, but it’s one I have come to cherish. I now realize that this will be the only thing for which I will be remembered after I die.
So if you’re thinking about launching a blog, you’ll likely encounter some unexpected twists and turns along the way, so be prepared. And yes, “Be Prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America, home of the Order of the Arrow. No matter what I do, I just can’t stop revealing/reveling secrets.
Jim Bennett is a recovering actor, theater producer and politico, and he writes about pop culture and politics at his blog, stallioncornell.com.