The trouble with ego is that it must be fed from time to time. I like to think mine is an insignificant thing, a part of me that requires very little attention. Besides, it does better when it is nourished by others. I’m never sure whether people are being sincere or condescending when they say nice things. But who cares? My ego can’t get enough of it.
Recently, my ego has been strutting proudly and taking its lumps. The reason for both is the page on blogspot.com that lets me know how many people are reading my blog and the countries they are in when they access it. The numbers are not earth shattering. On a good day, the blog will have ten or fifteen page views. The good days are the days I post a link on Facebook, which leads me to believe the hits are from friends and relatives. Perhaps they’re reading it just to be kind, but at least they’re kind on a consistent basis. And consistent kindness, whether sincere or not, nourishes the hungry ego.
Not everyone who reads the blog, however, is a Facebook friend. Someone in Russia occasionally drops by. In fact, there have been days when more page views originated in Russia than in the United States, not that there were more than two or three from either country. Once I even got an e-mail from someone in Russia. It was written in the Cyrillic alphabet, and I had to run it through the Google translator. The writer didn’t express an opinion on my writing; he wanted to know if he could advertise in the Star Beacon.
That caused me to worry that the Russians might be up to something evil. Maybe they were trying to get into my computer to relieve me of my identity and the paltry pile of cash in my savings account. But on a more egotistical note, I have spent a significant amount time thinking the Russians are stealing the things I’ve written and making trillions of rubles selling them as the work of Ivan Rippenov. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if they shared a few rubles with me, but they haven’t. Still, my ego being what it is, enjoys going to bed believing I’m Russia’s latest literary sensation.
But there has also been a worrisome visitor. A week ago, someone looked around the blog from a website with the ominous name getdentalimplantsnow.com. I admit to having some large gaps where teeth used to be, but I don’t think they’re big enough to be spotted from cyberspace. I am convinced it has to do with how I write or what I write about. Every word I put down must cry out, “These are the thoughts of an addled no-longer-young person.”
Do readers see me as a doddering old fool? There would be advantages: all my typos would be overlooked. “Don’t pay any attention to the misspellings, missing words and silly syntax,” the persnickety reader might say. “He’s not as sharp as he used to be, and he wasn’t very sharp to begin with.” Or maybe they picture me – at least the ones who remember Laugh In – as the lecherous character on the park bench who was always hoping to seduce Ruth Buzzi. The guy who defined the hereafter as “If you’re not here after what I’m here after, you’ll be here after I’m gone.”
Giving the impression that I’m a spirited skirt-chasing geezer is better than being thought of as a dispirited fogy. But, getdentalimplantsnow.com sounds like an advertising campaign targeting the old and toothless. And it’s taken a bite out of my ego.