This is my 240th blog post. It’s a nice round number, highly divisible by tens and twelves. It’s also a whole lotta bloggin’, a whole lotta crankiness. Probably as much as any middle age crankypants can produce, especially every Monday morning for … gasp .. almost five years. There’s only so many times that I can whine about cats, banks, reunions, faulty memory, and more, without beginning to repeat myself. That’s why the time has come to change my format.
Going forward, I’m only going to blog when I have something really interesting to say. Yes, I hear you kibitz, that could be never. It could end up being once a week again. But for now, there have been too many Sunday nights when I’ve found myself staring at the keyboard wondering what I would post the following morning.
Lots of times those pieces that I thought I’d phoned in, as the saying goes, were those that resonated the most with my small coterie of deranged though devoted readers (you know who you are). But the fact is, my numbers are down. WordPress does a great job of tracking statistics, and the trend is clear. My annual hits have gone from 10,430 in 2011 to 8,890 in 2012 and (as of yesterday) 8,032 in 2013. As many people have told me over the course of my life, I’m just not as funny as I used to be. If I were a TV show, I’d be cancelled.
There are other reasons to make this shift, of course. My fantasy was that Nancy Graham Perry, former editor-in-chief of AARP The Magazine (which has the largest circulation of any magazine in the country), would read my column, see that I could turn out brilliance on a deadline, and insist that I write a humor column for her. Never happened. The folks at Boomer Living were kind enough to re-post my columns, and I thought that would provide some exposure. Didn’t happen. I consolidated my first 100 columns into an e-book, Middle Age Cranky at 100: Muddled Memories and Fine Whines. Didn’t sell.
I even fantasized that after I wrote about meeting Joel Stein – who does snarky at Time the way I do cranky here – that he might actually write about me, and that might spike my readership. That didn’t happen either, but it also smacked of Ed Grimley fantasizing about Pat Sajak, so the less said about it the better.
Another reason to slow down now: as I look back, my favorite columns are my earlier ones. The great thing about writing from the perspective of middle age is that your whole life provides fodder. But I’ve run through the really good stories, methinks. Time to think more about quality than quantity.
There’s another problem: I have no right to be cranky. When I started this blog, we were still deep in the Great Recession. I had things to be cranky about, but certainly far fewer than a lot of boomers. The fact is, given how well my career is going now, and how lucky I am, I really don’t have much to be cranky about. Nobody who has a pool in the backyard, a convertible in the garage, and vacations on the calendar has any right to complain these days. If I do, you should slap me.
Here’s my plan: Over the next five weeks, I’m going to re-publish my favorite posts over the last five years. After that, I’ll be cranky when the mood strikes. Part of me hopes it’s often. Part of me – the cranky part – suspects not.