Whenever I wander back over to the shelf that is this blog, I think to myself, "man...I wonder if anyone still reads this anymore?"
And then I see how many days (weeks, months) it's been since I put anything of substance (or sometimes just anything) on here and the prescient words of Erik B come to mind...
"It's been a long time, I shouldn't a left you without a strong rhyme to step to..."
Here, let's just enjoy that groove together for a minute. Very few other hip hop artists of that period put the depth of the philosophy into the amazing lyrics quite the way Erik B did. I need to meet this dude. I have a feeling he and I could seriously shoot the shit for hours and have some wicked mix tape built up by the end of the night (or early morning as the case may be).
Is it weird? I mean that I see myself being friends with and having conversations with people that others see as 'famous' or untouchable in some way? I guess it might be. I don't know. I just always figured that things would fall into place to make that happen. If you had told me 5 years ago that my best friend would be someone who was a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, I might have looked at you a little sideways, but the revelation would not have surprised me. I would have just figured that by having that person in my life, I had something to learn, and something to teach. And, by the way, that has been the case. As I look at the people in my life now from the outer, extreme circle of facebook acquaintances, to the people who guard my deepest secrets, the universal connector is all of these people enrich my life in some way that I need. I have lessons to learn or lessons to teach, and we're all in the same classroom for this version of the syllabus.
It's pretty fucking cool, to be honest. If I stop and try to stare directly at what the lesson (and my role in the giving or receiving), I lose it. It flits away until I'm truly ready. And it seems that the times I am truly ready to learn or teach are the time when that is the absolute last thing on my mind. Then it's all of a sudden like, "boom. wake up, bitch. We gots to go to work!"
Jeeeeeeesus, Skaggs, when did you get so philosophical?!?
Somewhere around my 6th birthday. Every 7 years, my birthday falls directly on Thanksgiving. I was turning 6. My parents were hosting Thanksgiving for the whole famdamily and a bunch of people I was expected to remember 30 years later at a family reunion when they said, "I haven't seen you since you were six years old." Spoiler alert: I never remembered them, but smiled politely as though I did.
So, six year old Todd didn't really process too much about Thanksgiving. But birthdays. Yeah buddy. I knew ALL about that. And birthday parties! While the tone and timbre of the parties have changed for me over the years, I learned all I needed to know about parties early on. They were awesome. Especially if they were for you. And the more people at these parties for you, the better.
Can you see where this is going?
Six years old. Birthday boy. House full of people coming over for Thanksgiving. Only I thought they were all coming over for my birthday. Most of them didn't even know it was my birthday. So, no cards. No gifts. I don't remember if there was a cake or not. Actually, I'm sure there was a cake for dessert, but it wasn't a birthday cake. Second worst Thanksgiving ever (But I wouldn't know that at the time. From that day until the first Thanksgiving without my Grammy (early in the 80's), it stood as the worst Thanksgiving ever.
Pretty sure Todd the Philosopher was loosed into this world about 4:57PM on that Thursday in 1977.
And he's been here in one form or another ever since learning the lesson of "the world does not revolve around you, son." In fact, I think that might have been a direct quote from my father. It brought tears at the time (or more tears, as I may have already been sitting on my bed with the Star Wars blanket and Mickey Mouse and Pluto as knights sheets and pillow case set) when he said that.
The details are foggy. But that's the way it is with our origin stories, isn't it? Foggy until that moment when a singular detail emerges with crystal clarity and smacks us dead in the eye with a "Oh fuck yeah!! I had completely forgotten all about that!!"
Did I mention that this was going to be a fairly random and rambling post? I didn't? Shit. My bad. I thought you might have picked up on that when I went from 80's hip-hop to 6 yr. old Todd.
Well, yeah. Rambling randomness is afoot my friends. It's probably a good time to go back to your bookface feeds if you want.
OH! That reminds me.
I'm getting sick of The Book of Face again. It happens about every three months. And then I realize that someone will only communicate with me through that wretched platform, so I stay. And then about 2 or 3 years later it builds to the point where I can no longer take the bullshit. The Cambridge Analytica BS has tipped that scale a bit early.
Here's the thing. I'm not dumb. And neither are you. Of Course livre visage has been mining all of our data. From the day that it opened up from campuses to the public, its model has been to collect and mine as much data as possible. Why do you think it stopped being a university only app? Because students don't stay students for ever. It's a limited data set. And if they are going to make money selling data, they need a bigger pool. Boom, faycebooook is now open to the public.
Why do you think it claims it will never charge to use the service? Because it wants as many people as possible. Games? Advertising? Messenger? Video? Marketplace? Payments?!? Hell yes. All data points.
Within 2 weeks at the outside the book of face knows everything about our lives it can possible know. Because we give it the information it needs. The information it sells. They don't need to charge, they are making money hand over fist by us using the "service" they provide. And forget trying to figure out the algorithms to actually make it useful for yourself (like say, as an author trying to gain readers).
Do you know why retail stores move product and fixtures around in a store? Studies have shown that if a shopper takes more time trying to find something that has moved, they will walk out of the store having purchased more than they intended to, even if they had a list. I don't have the study that quotes that, but I work in retail. That shit is real.
All the bitching that happens when something changes on the feed, or your wall? Makes you spend more time. Clicking on things you might not have click on in your old routine.
All of that is to say that very soon I will be looking at deleting my FB account. I don't need it. It's annoying the piss out of me. And the reason I came back to the 'social' media in the first place is no longer there.
I'll still maintain Instagram (also owned by the bookfacers, but still somehow less evil at this point), and Twitter.
And of course this blog.
If you're worried that you won't see these posts because I don't have them on your wall anymore, you can do this, right now.
Hit CTRL+D. On a Mac, hit COMMAND+D. Almost all browsers will save the URL of the page.
Save it in your bookmarks. Come by and see me from time to time. I'll be around.
Hell, you might see me on the New York Times Bestseller list some day. (Spoiler alert: You totally will.)
And remember, if you get invited over for dinner, or Christmas, or Thanksgiving...be sure to ask your host if there is a birthday boy or girl. If there is, bring them a present. You will be the hero and change their life forever, I guarantee it.
Until then my friends, I'll see you on the other side.
And remember, it's not where you're from, it's where you're at.