August 13, 2007
In the swampy soup of hopefuls for the 2008 presidential election, there is a man with a funny name. (No, not that one.)
We're thinking of the one named Fred (Thompson).
Say it out loud. Do it. Fred. Fred. In the South, Fray-ud.
It has the tonal quality of something being dropped on the floor, something heavy and damp-ish.
Waterlogged paper towel.
Ahem. Some of you may remember that I have a megacrush on every man on the planet named Fred. Yes, including this one. And the idea that we could have a Fred for president has indeed happily crossed my mind. So this Monica hooch better realize that she's walkin' on the flightin' side of me with this crappy-ass article.
London's Sunday Times last month interviewed a bevy of his ex-girlfriends, all of whom have drunk the Fred-Aid: "He's majestic," said country singer/Fredophile Lorrie Morgan. "Women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us."
Why? Is there something about the craggy actor we're not getting? Maybe he's ugly-sexy, like Mick Jagger?
Or maybe the name Fred is etymologically close to obviously sexy names like Dirk, Clint, James?
Grant Smith is an onomastician at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, who studies the branch of linguistics dedicated to proper names. He specializes in dissecting the monikers of political candidates and says he has a 65 percent success rate of predicting elections, based solely on name analysis. Not entirely convincing, but those odds would play in Vegas. "The name Fred is basic and homey," says Smith. "It should give people a reassuring image."
But is it, Dr. Smith, a sexy name?
"I would not say that. The name Fred does not suggest blatant sexuality at all."
Speak for yourself, dude.
At the Fredquarters of the Fred Society in Palm Springs, Calif., "Head Fred" Fred Daniel has been defending his good name against charges of boringness and dolt-itude for 23 years. Daniel, 52, founded the society in 1984 by combing the Los Angeles phone book for Freds and sending out a 500-person mailing. There are 5,000 Freds in the organization now, but Daniel must fight for every member. "Unfortunately, Fred has fast fallen out of favor," he laments. From 1885 to 1896, it was the 15th-most-popular boy's baby name. But the last time Fred appeared in the top 1,000 was 2002.
Be still, my heart, there's a Fredquarters.
We are trying to understand.
We are willing to admit that that some people find Fred Thompson, yes, sexy.
But we still cannot understand what that means.
What does it signify that we, as a country, are choosing to deem yummy a guy named Fred?
It signifies that you are a huge bitch for writing a 1000-word article making fun of a man for his name. His delicious, perfect name.
Seriously, this is journalism? This sounds like something my brother's basketball team would've come up with to rip on someone while playing X-box. How on earth did this ever get published? Maybe Monica's next article can be about how Giuliani will never be taken seriously because he has the same name as the little football player who could. Or how Mitt is something you use to take cakes out of the oven.
Good lord, journalists are lame. Lamer than any Fred I've ever met.
On Wednesday, I found out that a very good friend from high school, one I hadn't seen or heard from in ten years, was right under my nose. I walked into his office thinking I'd knock his pants off and was a tad puzzled that he didn't seem to be as surprised to see me as he should have been. The first words out of his mouth: "Hey, Sarah! Good to see you! I read your blog, and I'm one of those dirty liberals you hate." Gulp.
We had a pleasant talk about other stuff for a short while, but on the drive home I was fighting back tears. I figured I may as well have shown up to his office naked. Because of this stupid blog, he already knew everything there was to know about me and had pigeonholed me into nutjobland before I even opened my mouth. And what is with this telephone-tag group of my high school friends reading my blog? Here's a tip for incognito bloggers: when someone from your high school gets murdered, don't blog about it. People googling the story will find you. I hadn't talked to this friend in ten years, but he heard from Billy Bob who heard from Betsy Sue that Sarah has a blog. He's been reading it for lord knows how long but has never commented, emailed or left any hint of his presence.
I tried to imagine if other bloggers ever get that naked feeling when they meet someone new. Surely Glenn Reynolds is surrounded by liberal profs who know more about his blog than they do about him as a person. But my husband unhelpfully pointed out that Reynolds is a lawyer and far better equipped than I to handle shock and exposure.
So anyway, on Wednesday I was done as a blogger. I was ready to shut down this site so I could avoid the horrible feeling of being outed, which seems to happen more and more frequently these days. I don't even know if I have any strangers left reading my blog; it's all my uncle, my parents' next door neighbor, my entire high school physics class, and my neighborhood from Germany. And if I hadn't been on vacation and having to go home and prepare for my husband's birthday party, I would've headed straight to the computer and announced that I was shutting down this infernal blog.
Luckily, I actually had to calm myself down and think as I cooked the creamed corn. I reminded myself of all the wonderful things that have come from blogging. That my blog friends were calling and emailing me during my vacation. That people online took up the slack when my husband was deployed, and people like Toni sent me postcards of encouragement while people from my real life were ignoring me. That I wouldn't be heading to Hawaii next month for a blogger's wedding. Would I fly to Hawaii to see anyone else in my life? Doubtful...
And as I went through all the things blogging has brought into my life, I began to feel much better. I decided it doesn't really matter deep down if people from my high school are reading this thing, because I only talk to them once a decade. I talk to my blog buddies every day. Last week, CaliValleyGirl asked, "At what point does someone from one's blogging life, become someone from one's Real Life?" I think I'm making that shift, or at least realizing that my blogging life matters to me a whole lot more than my real life does. I don't even have any friends in my real life anymore.
And as I stirred that creamed corn, I also realized that I was right to start this blog. I had less like-minded friends around me than I even thought. Four years ago, I wrote:
I care about my friends and I don't want to lose all of them. But I wish I had friends that I could talk to about how I feel about the world. I have my husband and my mother, and that is basically it...and my mother lives an ocean away and my husband will be gone for a year. We're new to our post here in Germany so I don't have any strong relationships yet, and despite my efforts, I don't hear from my old friends that often. When my grandmother died, I called my mom's best friend to talk about it, and I realized how pathetic I am that I don't have anyone I can count on anymore. And the few relationships I've been trying to hang on to really disappointed me this past week.
I'm at a crossroads in my life where I am realizing that people don't stay friends forever (remember, I'm only 26) and that it's OK to grow apart and move on. I'd like to maintain a casual friendship with some of these people, but I'd really like to find someone who understands me and shares some common ground. I'm at a point where I more look forward to an email from Tim or Marc than from any friends back home, and that bothers me. It makes me feel lonely, but not lonely enough that I think I should keep pretending to be something I'm not so that someone will stay my friend.
I started this blog because I thought that all my friends were too liberal for me and I wanted an outlet for my true beliefs. It bothered me when all those friends found this blog and learned the shocking truth about Sarah. And in reading this old blog post, I see I haven't come as far in the past four years as I wish I had. I still worry that people won't like the real me, when in fact I should just focus on the fact that I have made friends like Tim and Marc who do like me for who I am today, not for who I was in physics lab a decade ago.
And again, if I had banged this out in typical blogging fashion, I wouldn't have been able to include a postscript: I got an email from this friend I chatted with in my hometown, an email in which he mused that it must be really hard to have a blog where everyone assumes they know everything about you, and that there's nothing I could write that would stop the two of us from being friends. And he signed it from "your pinko commie friend." And in the end, I feel better that he knows the real me than if I'd gone into his shop and chitchatted about inanities for half an hour.
For those of you who missed me while I was on vacation, be thankful you didn't hear from me on Wednesday; I would've quit. It's amazing what a few deep breaths can do.
And for those of you from my physics class, this is the real Sarah. I hope you like it, or at least tolerate it. And that it doesn't detract at all from your memories of the girl who nearly set both her partners on fire during the experiment on angular momentum.
I'm afraid after rereading my post -- dang, and I drafted this one too! -- maybe my friend came off sounding mean or rude, which was not the case. He has been nothing but nice over the past week; this post was about my reaction to feeling exposed, not anything he did or said that bothered me. Please don't think I was mad at him. But if there are others out there from ol' RHS, I'd love to hear from you before I walk into your place of business and feel like a jackass.
Oh, and this is the friend who handed me The Fountainhead. I have him to thank for that, no matter how dirty and pinko he is. And the physics experiment: that falling pendulum making sparks on the paper around the pulley fell a little too fast and made a nice fire instead of a little hole in the paper. And Sarah stood there stuttering while her friend got singed fingers and the teacher barked at her to stop being a moron and put the fire out.
August 09, 2007
Construction delays will force journalism history buffs to wait a few more months to visit the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news reporting and the First Amendment being built near the Capitol.
Lenin's Tomb quips, "I hope it includes a special clinic for journalists whose arms dislocate from the spontaneous back-patting."
A museum dedicated to the First Amendment. Incidentally, we caught some crap on the news last week in the motel, where a talking head made a remark about "Second Amendment literalists." Nice. I'd love to hear someone sneer about First Amendment literalists and see how that goes over.
August 08, 2007
Thus it happens that, on one of our many car trips circling the Midwest this month, we ate breakfast with Butterfly Wife. And Butterfly Wife is one of the few bloggers who's yet to meet my husband, so there's a milestone. She was gracious enough to meet us at the crack of dawn for a coffee before we headed out of town. I'm so glad she squeezed us into her schedule.
So who's next?
August 06, 2007
We're having fun, but if I never get in the car again I will be thrilled. We'll need another oil change the minute we get home. 9 hours the first day, 9 hours the second, 8 hours yesterday, 4 today, 4 tomorrow, and then another 15 on the way back home at the end of the week.
And it's not quite barfing all the way to Georgia, but we've had a heck of a time in all these car rides too. The first morning we had to go to three separate gas stations before we could find a working air pump for our tires. Then we decided to take the long-cut around Winston-Salem. We were nearly divorced or a double homicide by 9 AM. The second day, as we were chugging along making great time at 5 AM, we hit a crow. Seriously. All I could think about was Lomborg's stat that 250,000 birds die hitting windows every day. Well, we popped one in Louisville. Took out our driver's side mirror. Personally, I wanted my husband to back up and run over that crow a couple more times just to make sure it understood how ticked I was. Not easy to drive without that mirror. Also not cheap to get it fixed.
So then yesterday we start out with no problems. At the first rest stop, we get Charlie out of the car and notice he's covered in poop. Apparently he must've rolled in a nice pile before we left. We manage to give him a cursory cleaning and then let him roll around in the grass to dry off. He comes back covered in sticker burrs. Mind you, we're on our way to stop for lunch at a friend's house, a buddy from high school. I haven't spent any time with him in ten years, and I'm supposed to show up at his home with a dog covered in burrs and poop. Not cool.
Oh, and when we get there, Charlie lifts his leg on their sofa.
Please let us make it through the rest of the trip without any stories to tell.
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