This promotion from WordPress has been running on my dashboard for a while. The good news is, it doesn’t seem expensive. The bad news is, it doesn’ seem expensive. I suppose this is a good service for those who can really use it. Yet, for those of us who probably don’t need it, $3.50 a month looks quite different when I add that up to $42.00 per year.
If I’m James Patterson or John Grisham, then maybe having my entire media presence tied together makes sense. However, if I’m any of those people, I don’t really need everything tied together because nobody’s going to notice it or care about it one way or the other.
My first question to WordPress–if we were having a discussion about this–would be: “Will that $42.00 e-mail address sell more than $42.00 in books a year?”
I’ve done a lot of things that were supposed to portray me as a professional writer. My view is that most of them weren’t noticed by the people they were supposed to influence: publishers, movie studios, agents, bookstore, book distributors, and prospective readers. Needless to say, looking bad isn’t good, though looking good may not be as important as the people selling writers all these “makes you look good” services say it is.
It comes down to this: if you can afford to throw money at your book marketing, you don’t need to throw money at it. If you can’t afford it, it won’t help.
You’ve probably guessed that I’m not going to add a firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address to my life.
On the other hand, if you think I’m wrong about this, please send me $42.00 and I’ll give it a try.
When My desktop PC had to be taken back to factory settings–which was a lot of trouble–that meant my browsers had to be re-installed. The new versions didn’t know my passwords.
I’m tired of passwords. Every site has a different set of rules about length, special characters, CAPS and lowercase letters. We’re told not to write these down. Many gurus also say don’t allow your browser to remember them for you.
So, when I tried to log on to WordPress today with my new browser, I couldn’t remember my password. I tried all the usual passwords even though we’re not supposed to have usual passwords. I clicked on a link that would allow WordPress to generate and–I swear I’m not making this up–the suggestion looked like this: BDH#$%cX*%qw.
Get real. How the hell can I remember something like that? Perhaps Data on Startrek, the Next Generation can remember that, but otherwise, nobody can. So, I used something easier and wrote it down on a list of 10000000000 other passwords for everybody from my doctor’s office to Microsoft to Amazon to Facebook.
If anyone breaks into my house and finds an empty Funk’s G Hybrid sack beneath the house, they’ll discover my list of passwords. There are snakes and spiders there, so who ever needs to play like they’re me and log on to WordPress and create a fake post will have to be very determined.
I’ve seen enough TV crime shows to know that even if I didn’t need a password and could access my accounts through a fingertip reader, somebody would kill me and use my finger to log on. So, there’s no sure thing, password-wise. The only plus to forgetting and constantly changing my passwords is the fact that we’re told to constantly change our passwords. That means we’ll forget them more often and change them more frequently. Maybe that’s how the whole password thing works.
Now, if I could only remember the danged user names (other than my e-mail address) which a lot of sites require.
When I log on, I normally see a WordPress notice that says there are 100000000000 messages in your SPAM queue. Basically, I think that if a spammer does such a poor job trying to comment on one of my posts that his/her comment ends up in the SPAM queue, s/he is sending substandard SPAM. But today, the queue was empty.
I felt so alone, discounted maybe. Perhaps spammers are boycotting my blog because they go in the SPAM queue where their efforts are all for nothing.
Here are some examples of the kinds of wonders I usually find in the queue:
I notice that you need some interesting posts in this blog. Get posts from our software and you’ll never write another one. (Hey clown, have you noticed that I’m a writer and can hardly call attention to my work by using canned posts?)
Date Russian babes. (My wife doesn’t allow me to date Russian babes.)
Try this safe and effective Viagra substitute for a stunning 15-hour erection. (If I go into the gigolo business and/or start dating multiple Russian babes, I’ll let you know. Don’t call me, I’ll call you–yeah, right.)
Our off-grid investment plan is so effective and private that only 10% of our clients end up in jail for money laundering. (I hope those clients weren’t using too much bleach.)
I’m going to bookmark this post so I can come back and read it again. (Please don’t.)
Free burial insurance without having to list preexisting conditions. Many of our clients have been dead for weeks before a well-meaning relative forges their signature on the application. We guarantee that only 10% of our clients wind up in the wrong grave yard. (Tempting, but no.)
We’re selling real SPAM at a discount. This week, 50% off “SPAM® with Portuguese Sausage Seasoning” that normally sells for $3.50. Free “Wood SPAM® Brand Piggy Cutting Board” with every thousand dollars you order. (Okay, you’re Hormel Foods trying a new marketing approach, right?)
Scientists have proven it’s now safe to brush your teeth with Saniflush if you don’t use it 100 times a day. We have a warehouse full of the stuff we snapped up when the brand was discontinued, and that means a deal for you. (No.)
New home security system test. Our pros will attempt to break into your house to see if your system works. If you don’t see us, your system failed. If you do, your system is effective. Send $1000 and your address along with the typical times of day when nobody’s home. (You guys work for SNL right?”)
Guard your Internet connection from fake news. Download our $56.00 virus and you’ll never see another phony news story again. (Will I see any more SPAM?)
If your comments ever end up in my SPAM queue, try again, you know, if you feel lucky.
After finishing the festive part of my day–putting up the outside Christmas lights–I gulped down a shot of morphine, calmed my mind, and went down into the WordPress netherworld where the spam queue is guarded by snakes, lost souls, and the ghost of Jack the Ripper.
Fortified against demons and chaos as I was, I felt as strong as anyone does when they confront their personal hell. Maybe I should have studied Jung’s “Red Book” longer rather than taking drugs. Listen, I’m not making this up: neither Carl Jung nor morphine prepared me for the utter and infinite nothingness of an empty spam queue.
Perhaps so. After all, we’ve learned–as I posted yesterday–that we have no clue what reality is all about. Stands to reason, we probably know squat about unreality as well.
Unreality is an empty spam queue
It’s like falling into the Chamber of Secrets and finding no secrets–or even a nasty basilisk
It’s like going to your late aunt Agatha’s abandoned house to clean out the attic and having a cold feeling that her noxious ghost is there, but not seeing anything and not being able to convince anyone else is time to leave.
It’s like watching a horror movie on a dark and stormy night when the power goes out and you feel like you’re not alone.
It’s like all kinds of things, but most of them are outside the scope of this post.
The only real thing in the spam queue is the sound of dripping water, or maybe it’s blood or Gatorade–nobody quite knows–but I heard it today and within the vast nothingness of the afternoon, the normalcy of the sound became worse than the sound of the tell tale heart in Poe’s story. Drip…drip…drip. Nobody ever finds the dripping water, or whatever, because the place is jam packed full of spam. Except not today.
It’s not that I miss the spam, those penny Viagra sales, the services that write posts for your blog, the prospective foreign wives who want marriage and a green card before they disappear, the something-for-nothing stock brokers, the SEO experts who say my blog isn’t SEO optimized, the people from Colorado selling pot in oregano bottles, and all the other black market crap that’s actually cheaper at your downtown department store.
No, it’s not that I miss it, I don’t believe it isn’t there. Somehow, the unseemly became unseen like an invisible mirage. You’ve probably seen those horror movies where scary music blasts into your head every time some hapless character opens a closet door–yet nothing bad springs out. You know something the hapless character doesn’t know. What you know is that after 15 closet doors have been okay, the 16th door is hiding something really bad, something so bad that the sound track won’t even tip anyone off that the door should never be opened.
That’s the feeling I had this afternoon in the empty spam queue, you know, that it wasn’t really as empty as it looked, that I’d walk around a corner with my guard down and fall into a pit of maggots selling auto insurance to anyone in my state.
Worse yet, with no visible spam, the place was open to all possible spam, the spam of my nightmares, the spam I think about on lonely roads, the spam people threaten me with during Facebook flame wars–this is the cruelest cut of all, the “empty” spam queue, because the spammers know that the spam of my fears is worse than anything they can ever deliver.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the occasional author of paranormal stuff (surprised?) like Cora’s Crossing, Willing Spirits and Moonlight and Ghosts.