I saw boys, toys, electric irons, and TVs
My brain hurt like a warehouse
It had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things
To store everything in there
-- David Bowie, "Five Years"
Monday is the 5-year anniversary of the debut of this feature, now known as Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood.
A lot of things change in five years. At the time I began this thing, I was about to lose my job as a program analyst for Bank of America. I'd been faking my way through that job pretty well, but when it came time to decide whether to take the relocation package to Portland, Oregon, or remain at home and take my chances here, I decided to stay. And the blog was going to be my creative outlet to get through the hard times ahead. Through an extended bout of unemployment, a health scare that revealed a pituitary tumor that culminated in brain surgery and recovery, and a radical career change, there's no doubt that tickling the pixels has been an important constant.
The second post I did was the one where I set out the tone I had in mind for this feature. The principal points read as follows:
There's a scene in Bull Durham where the Kevin Costner character prattles on at great length about what he believes. Since the movie was filmed in 1987, he couldn't blog and instead had to talk to Susan Sarandon. Oddly enough, Ms. Sarandon hasn't been returning my calls, so I thought I'd share some random thoughts in my very own blog.
You can be a Great American hero and still be a moron. Charles Lindbergh, meet John Murtha.
Who has been more influential - John Rawls or Hugh Hefner? You could make a good case that Lou Rawls is more influential than John Rawls.
I don't really want to talk to Susan Sarandon.
Lee Harvey Oswald did act alone.
Five years later, I still believe all those things are true, although we don't have John Murtha to kick around any more. Looking back, the one thing that seemed true to me then still animates this feature -- you can be serious without taking things all that seriously.
Sometimes my brain does hurt like a warehouse. I bet yours does too. We store so many things in our consciousness and we spend a lot of time trying to make sense of it all. I don't know if writing a blog, or reading a blog, helps that much. But I do know this -- if any of the 2,330 posts that have appeared in this space since December 13, 2005 have helped my readers to sort things out, or at least made them smile, it's been worth the effort. And I still think pretty highly of Lou Rawls.
I've made a lot of great friends in the last five years because of this blog, and I've renewed friendships long dormant. That's been the best benefit of blogging. To all of you, I thank you for your support of this feature. And I hope that, at a minimum, I haven't made your brain hurt a lot.