This is the one hundredth post since moving to WordPress. Some bloggers write a hundred posts in a fortnight, but we subscribe to our long-held “let’s just do it tomorrow” policy. This means it takes us fifteen months to reach this august total.*
I’ll admit: the vast majority of it has been crap. Sorry about that. But, it’s my best crap, and, frankly, I don’t mind my best crap. Plus, it nice to know that more people are reading my crap than ever before. I’m thankful that y’all find some of this crap meaningful. So, thank you. Tell your friends.**
Yet, a few of you know that this is not the one hundredth post for A Red State Mystic. Some of you were there in the beginning when I started at Livejournal the summer of my freshman year of high school. Yes, I’ve been blogging since 2001. That’s, like, thirty years or something of chronicling my life’s thoughts in words and thousands of pageviews (just this year!), multiplying comments, numerous subscribers, so on and so forth.
Anyway, before I quote Ecclesiastes and Kierkegaard and Le Mythe de Sisyphe in one breath about how life is toil without reward because of the sharp edge of death, I think it’s time to celebrate! You can’t really have an existential crisis when “we gon’ celebrate and have a good time”, right? So, let’s go back to 2001.
A cantankerously cacophonous modem was your slow gateway to the information superhighway. After school, you’d rush home and wait for your crush to message you on AIM. After an hour of the most delectable pain of should I/shouldn’t I, your brother picked up the phone to call his girlfriend, knocking you off the net and ruining any chance you’d ever get at love. Unlike him, you are destined to die alone. Accepting this fate, you’d swear and brood in your dark bedroom, listening to Mahler, Shostakovich, or Simon and Garfunkel. Because, damn it, baby, “a rock feels no pain and an island never cries”!
Once recovered, you’d go practice bassoon for an hour or so, or maybe study for a while. Then, you’d fire up the modem again. You’d log onto AIM to see that your crush had some silly away message. You would be both deflated and charmed all at once. Your delicious union — the fated mingling of two souls! — would have to wait for another day. You tap your fingers on the desk. Life in high school was so damn boring. You tip your chair back.
Then, you’d log onto Livejournal to post something. Your crush would probably see it; your crush would probably fall in love with you once they read it. But, you had nothing to say. Damn these infernal words! Damn this tongue-tied nothingness! So, you’d copy and paste on of those surveys and fill in your answers. You’d sigh. It’s not much, but, it will have to do. It will have to do, for now.***
In honor, therefore, of one hundred posts and more than a decade of blogging, I’m decided to do one of those surveys. In fact, I did this survey in January of 2002. I thought it might be nice to revisit it. I liked some of the answers so much, I kept a few of them. I hope you enjoy:
1. First Name: Andrew, “Andy”.
2. Hair Color: Brown.
3. Middle Name: Nicholas.
4. Hair Style: Newly shorn and perfectly coiffed — perfect for a man of my wit, carriage and demeanor.
5. Eye Color: A smoky grey/green, like the mists of the Isle of Man.
6. Height: Shorter than most everyone I know.
7. Location: Northeast Tennessee.
8. Birthday: April 15th.
9. Zodiac Sign: Aries.
10. Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?: No.
11. Do you have a crush?: I mean, doesn’t everybody?
1. Favorite Animal: Lion or the Blue Whale.
2. Favorite Sport: Really? I do like (American) Football. Basketball is too fast and Baseball puts me to sleep.
3. Favorite Color(s): I’m partial to dark blue, brown, khaki and black.
4. Favorite Friend(s) Offline: Too many to name! Jon, Zach and Justin, for sure!
5. Favorite Friend(s) Online: Y’all!
6. Favorite Song(s) of the Moment: The Bad Plus’ cover of “Heart of Glass”.
7. Favorite Movie Quote: The entire script (mostly) of The Shawshank Redemption.
8. Favorite Store: Barnes & Noble; amazon.com; and Belk (for bowties!).
9. Favorite Feeling: Contentment or success.
10. Favorite Shoe: I prefer discalced, thankyouverymuch.
11. Favorite Scent: Indiana in August. The Mountains after a good rain.
12. Do You Wear Make-Up?: Nope.
13. Which is more important, personality or looks?: Personality.
14. What kind of personality do you like in a guy/girl?: A substantial personality.
15. Do you move fast or slow in a relationship?: Glacially slow.
16. What is your idea of the perfect guy/girl?:
17. Would you ever ask someone out?: Yes. I have and will in the future, too.
Love, Life & Friends
1. What is the first thing you notice about someone?: How they carry themselves, either alone or with a group of people.
2. Whens the last time you cried?: A few tears? A few days ago. Ugly cry? A few months ago.
3. What do you want to be when you grow up?: An older version of myself. (A great answer, 2001 Andy!)
4. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?: No,
5. Do you want children?: Not really. I imagine they’d need lots of therapy.
6. How far have you gotten?: That’s not an appropriate question.
7. Do you like someone right now?: Didn’t you already ask this above?
8. Do they know?: Not sure.
9. Do you have a best friend?: Fortunately, yes!
Within the last 24 hours, have you . . .
1: Had a serious talk?: Please, I only talk I do is serious. Who do you think I am?
2: Hugged someone?: Yes!
3: Gotten along well with your parents?: Yes! I spoke to them on the phone!
4: Fought with a friend?: No.
Do you like to . . .
1: Give hugs?: I love hugging.
2: Give back rubs?: If asked.
3: Take walks in the rain?: Not really. But I do like standing in the rain.
4: You ever have that falling dream?: Ironically, no.
5: What is on the walls of your room?: My Diploma. Some icons. A framed letter.
6: When you chew gum, what kind?: Really, one has to have a chewing gum preference? What kind of question is this?
7: Do you use chapstick?: Yes.
In the last month have/did you . . .
1. Drink?: I’m an Episcopalian. So, YES. Duh.
2. Smoke?: Yes, tobacco. But only socially.
3. Drugs?: Just cold medicine.
4. Have Sex?: This question fills me with laughter.
5. Made Out?: As does this one.
6. Go on a date?: A lady never kisses and tells, you nosy little survey!
7. Go to the movies?: Not in the last month, but I do watch a lot of grainy, black and white French new wave films at home.
8. Go to the mall?: Yes. It is the fourth circle of hell. And filled with high schoolers.
9. Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: Over a week, yes!
10. Eaten sushi?: Yes! One of my favorite things EVAR!
11. Been on stage?: Several times, mainly as an accompanist.
12. Been dumped?: Not this month!
13. Had someone be unfaithful to you?: Not this month!
14. Watched The Smurfs?: Weird question. No.
15. Hiked a mountain?: No, but I want to start back hiking soon!
16. Made homemade cookies?: No.
17. Been in love?: And out of it. And back again. And out of it . . .
More stuff . . .
1. Are you popular?: What the hell does that question even mean? I remember when I was in middle school and my cousin once asked me the same question. Even then, I didn’t know how to answer it. I mean, people know me; apparently, my reputation precedes me most everywhere I go. I have an active social life. So, what does that mean?
2. Are you pretty?: Compared to Sartre? Yes. Compared to Camus? No.
3. Do you have your own phone line?: I’ve even got my own smartphone!
4. What is your favorite word to say?: Antediluvian, Sisyphus, Cylindrical.
5. What is your favorite phrase to say?: “I mean!”, “Come on!” and “Really?!”
6. What are you doing right now?: Answering your stupid questions.
7. What song are you listening to?: I’m listening to The Bad Plus’ “Never Stop” album.
8. What are you wearing?: A beret, a silk dressing gown and cashmere slippers.
1. Cold or hot?: Cold. I keep me apartment at around 65 degrees all year around.
2. Lace or satin?: I’m a proper Anglo-Catholic! Lace up to your eyeballs, of course!
3. Blue or Red?: Red.
4. New or old?: Old. Duh.
5. Rain or snow?: Rain.
6. Give or receive?: Both.
7. Wool or cotton?: Cotton.
8. Rose or Daisy?: Roses!
9. Private school or public school?: I went to public high school, but a snooty private liberal arts college. So, private, of course!
10. Chocolate milk or plain milk?: Chocolate. But you have to make it with syrup.
11. Celsius or Fahrenheit?: Neither. Science is witchcraft.
12. Spring or Fall?: Fall in my corner of Tennessee is beautiful.
13. Inny or outty?: Inny.
14. Now or then?: See above.
15. Scent?: Don’t laugh, but I like the smell of lavender. I also like peppermint.
16. English or Maths?: English. Math is for misanthropic troglodytes.
18. Bath or shower?: I pretty much only take showers, but I do enjoy a good soak!
21. Cursive or print?: I think I’m the only person born after 1985 who writes in cursive. If I write in print, it hurts my wrist. It slows me down!
22. Do you like surprises?: Mostly.
23. Paranoid or Cautious?: Yes. Cautious because I’m paranoid.
24. Heights or Crowds?: Heights. Definitely heights.
25. Half-full or half-empty?: Neither. The glass is broken. Life is terrible.
27. Do you/Would you dye your hair?: Never.
28. Speeding or running red lights?: Yes to both on a frequent basis.
29. Gold or silver?: Gold.
30. Bad habits?: I crack my knuckles. I struggle with getting enough/too much sleep.
31. Piercings?: Nope.
33. “Maybe” or “Mebbe?”: Maybe. What am I some kind of scullery maid?
34. Snore or talk?: Snore.
35. What do you wish you’d done?: Where do I start?
37. Do you have one of THOSE voices?: I have several voices that I use for comedic effect.
39. Neurotic or psychotic?: Moreso neurotic. But the tests say I’m clean!
40. Do you talk to yourself?: Yes. But usually when only alone. I also argue with myself from time to time. In fact, I think 98% of my writings come from these irrationally dialectical arguments that carry on inside me.
*: And, by “our” and “us”, I mean “my” and “me”.
**: Plus, even if I never become a famous writer, some snot-nosed Ph.D candidate three hundred years in the future could use all this mediocre crap as a footnote in his dissertation about religion in middle American Millennials from the first quarter of the twenty-first century. Oh! To be a footnote before passing away at a brilliantly young age with the consumption — or possibly going mad with syphilis — because that’s what all the real writers do. (Note to self: Get working on that destructive gambling habit — Fydor is my inspiration, donchaknow!)
***: If you’re wondering: Yes, this is the same process I go through everyday before writing.