Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Do You Give 'em What They Want?

Our office holiday party is coming up again. For years we have repeated the same variation on a $5-10 gift exchange – you know the one where everyone puts a gift under the “tree” and one by one you either go to the “tree” or steal someone else’s gift. Over the years I have come to recognize the audible groans when someone opens a cute little Christmas bell or a can of caramel popcorn. The worst was a box of BEAN-O – can you believe that? The groans are countered by the sighs when the gift is alcohol of any sort. Alcohol even scores over chocolate. The other favorite are bizarre toys. I remember one year feeling really victorious when I ended up with a bird that was propelled by a wind-up rubber band – something I really needed!

For years I bought something that I might like to receive, my gift falling into that broad category of unremarkable. Then I had a change of heart and decided I wanted people to fight over my gift. So I now look for the most unusual bottle of ale or wine or liqueur. It has become much more rewarding to see my contribution stolen multiple times during the game, sometimes with the final owner never even knowing the source!

I have read a hell of a lot of BLOGs recently. There too are emerging popular themes – anything to do with physical anatomy, and it doesn’t even matter whose anatomy it is! Anything to do with dating, weddings, or failed relationships. Anything to do with drinking. These are the ones that get the comments. It’s not the cute pictures of kittens, or situations involving ethics, or things that deal with the beauty of nature for the most part – not unless there is a particularly artsy element involved.

I have on occasion asked myself if I acquired an audience, would I be willing to try to come up with posts that would elicit their comments, that would entertain them, that would keep them coming back for more? Probably not. Even if I wanted to, I’m not sure where I would get the material. I just don’t seem to run into situations where I am talking about anatomy in public restrooms or finding my hand inside a stranger’s clothing or talking to checkout girls about breast appeal. Maybe I need to enlarge my circle of acquaintances, find a new neighborhood to hang out in, cross-dress, or do something to provide a new story (just kidding about most of that...)

So the real question is whether I would start to consider my audience when I sat down to write... if I had an audience and if I had something appealing to offer them. It might be tempting. After all, I caved on the gift exchange and love the attention my bottles of booze get. I would probably be so flattered by my readers’ comments that I would go for appeal instead of simply spilling my guts out day after day. I suppose I wouldn't be the first person to be corrupted by notoriety...

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