A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT

I was minding my own business, trying to increase my circles on Google+, when my husband walked into the room with a shocked expression on his face. It was obvious that something was bothering him. I normally don’t care about the kinds of things that bother my husband, because he plays the accordion, and thus we are living in two different worlds. But the expression on his face was very alarming, and so I was forced to ask him what on earth was on his mind.

“Have you ever heard of a woman called Duce?”

“What?”

“She blogs, like you do. But she makes millions of dollars! How does she do it? And why aren’t YOU?”

“Calm down. You mean ‘Dooce.’ That’s Heather Armstrong, and she has been blogging for years, even though she’s just a kid, really. But she started blogging probably before that Julie girl did.”

“Julie who?”

“The one that made all of Julia Child’s recipes in one year, and blogged about it. We went to the movie. She is probably worth millions, too.”

He looked aghast. He swallowed a few times, cleared his throat, and went on.

“I thought you were a really good blogger.”

“Well, I like to think of myself as a writer. One who blogs. But yes, I do a pretty good job of it. I think I have a couple hundred readers.”

I obviously wasn’t getting it.

“But how come, if you are good at it, that no one is giving you money? This Duce woman makes over a half million dollars A MONTH. Her husband quit his job! I think they have servants.”

He wanted an explanation. He seemed to need one before his veins got any bulgier.

“There is an entire group of bloggers who have huge audiences. They blog about products! Advertisers court them. They have agents. They have exclusive contracts with vendors. One woman blogger I know represents BMW or Volvo or somebody. These bloggers work sixty hour weeks and have personal assistants. I blog in my pantry, and get no help from anybody.”

“So stop doing that! Can’t you put ads on your blog?”

“Let me ask you a question. If a person is shopping for a new car, why on earth would they go to Life with the Campbells for advice? Or let’s say some woman out there wants to try out some new self tanning product. She is going to ask ME which one to use? The last self tanner I used was in 1968, and I turned orange, if I recall.”

“So how do you become Duce?”

“It’s DOOCE, for Pete’s sake, and I have no idea!”

“Can you take a seminar?”

He apparently doesn’t understand. I am not young. My get up and go actually got up and went as soon as my second daughter left home. I have no opinions worth reading about cosmetics; I know nothing about cars; the world of organic, home made baby food has passed me by, and I am not interested in researching incontinence products for adults. I feel, therefore, highly unqualified to seek out sponsors who I would have to convince to place an ad on my blog.

“Ok. Let me explain. The women you want me to emulate blog for a living. They take meetings with executives from big companies. They test products. They go all over the country to conferences. They make ‘pitches’ to people to convince them to advertise with them. Did I say that these women have their own secretaries?”

He looked crestfallen. He slumped into a chair. Then he brightened.

“What about this idea? You could do all the projects in The Boy Scout Handbook in one year. You know? Learn to tie all the knots? Make biscuits in tin foil in a camp fire? Learn to use punk? Find your bearings by looking at the stars? Nobody has done THAT, have they? They might even make a movie about us—you.”

“They haven’t. But here’s a better idea. The world is full (well full might be overstating it a bit) of accordion players. What about an accordion blog? I bet there are a bunch of Italian accordion makers just wishing and hoping for a way to get into the American market. You can be the Duce of the Polka World!”

He wandered off to bed, with bellows and dollar signs dancing in his head. Phew. I came this close to baking biscuits in a Dutch oven. My apologies to Heather Armstrong and Julie Powell.

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