Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Meaningful Post

This post has great meaning. I am actually saying this without realizing how meaningful it is. It's simplicity is what makes it elegant, and when I finally commit it to the internet, my life will never be the same.

It begins with several of my followers. They leave comments, telling me how much my post affected them. Never have they read words put together so beautifully. They were amazed at how profound my message was, and they could instantly feel it. It's THAT moment. The moment when the course of their lives was altered. Not only would they never see the same old situation as they had seen it every day, but they were never going to do that thing that I mentioned they should never do.

Those who follow my blog then get in contact with my followers that didn't comment. "Have you been following Rob's blog? Did you read what he said on 24 June 2010? If the answer is no, then you need to go there right now, read what he wrote, and never forget the meaningful message he left there." Those who didn't leave comments before now leave comments as well, with just one that claims he/she/it didn't get it. Although I censor the comments, I approve that last, as it wasn't rude or insulting. His/her/its opinion is just fine with me, so long as this person played nice with all the other kids on the block.

Now that all, or at least most, of my followers have read my meaningful post, more than a few get a bug in themselves to share it with those who aren't followers. My blog's web address is shared during phone calls, over coffee, and posted on a forum or two. "You must read the meaningful post. It certainly spoke to me, and I think it's applicable to all who still draw breath. And as Rob suggested, we should all bounce a tennis ball throughout the day on 9 July 2010 to demonstrate our solidarity pertaining to the meaningful post." The concept takes off as someone tags a name to the day of bouncing a tennis ball. Just as there was the accident that was known as "boobquake," by simple virtue of my being male there will now be "ballquake."

This is where the warning comes in one of my e-mail accounts, (the one not linked to this blog). It reads: "Dear Rob. Your meaningful post has gained some recognition on such-n-such forum. Here's a link. You should read what people are saying." What it means, however, is, "Hang on to your [endeared body parts]. Your life is about to explode."

I've been oblivious. Being disabled, all of my days are Saturdays and there's been no rush to do anything. I go to the site and see a thread bearing the general concept of my meaningful post. In only two days, there are now hundreds of replies. The masses have read the aforementioned post, and they all get it. They won't see that daily event the same way. They won't ever do that thing I said people shouldn't do. And to show how much they believe in my message, they have vowed to not only bounce a tennis ball on 9 July 2010, but are trying to get their friends and family to bounce tennis balls on that date as well.

Disbelieving what I'm reading, I check my e-mail. The world at large broke my in box...or tried. There are HUNDREDS of messages claiming in the subject heading that a comment was left for the meaningful post. There are so many, in fact, that I don't bother to open them individually. I head for my blog and into the comment moderation page. What I see is incredible. Message after message exclaims that the meaningful post was, indeed, quite meaningful for hundreds of people. Not only are they with me on every point, but some share a few of their own stories about that daily event. There are even a few that are ashamed, for they have done that thing people should never do, and they are now sorry they did it. They hope that, although I don't know them, I will forgive them. (Of the hundreds of comments, one joker tells me he/she/it ALWAYS does the thing he/she/it should never do and enjoys doing it so much they will continue to do so.) (I reject it, simply because it was rude.)

By the next morning, the meaningful post is, at the very least, an internet sensation. AOL and MSN both headline their news with the meaningful post, including links to my blog. The count on comments is out of hand. I can't keep up or hope to read all of the comments, so I accept them all.

An investigative reporter from a local newspaper has done his/her/its homework, and has called to ask for an interview. This intrepid reporter wants the scoop on the meaningful post. What inspired me to write it? Did I expect anything like ballquake? How many fingers am I holding up?

This is absurd. I was simply speaking my mind about something that affected me, as I do quite often. Now there is a movement on the issue. By day number four, there are hundreds of thousands of people all over the world who will bounce a tennis ball on 9 July 2010 in honor of me, the meaningful post, and the message it conveys.

In a feeble attempt to slow the progression, I write a meaningful followup. My 6,003 followers all leave a comment. The general message: "It's too late now, Rob. The message of the meaningful post is out there, and ballquake is on."

Because so many people are involved, more than one source of news wants my attention. Would it be okay if they joined me in my bedroom via satellite at some ungodly hour of the morning to talk about the meaningful post and ballquake? Do I think ballquake will become an annual event? If a train leaves NY at 10:30 AM and travels at 35 MPH, and another train leaves Chicago at 11:20 AM traveling at 40 MPH, where and when will they collide?

I've been seen on the news, which managed to get broadcast on the web, so almost everyone knows my face. Strangers approach me to shake my hand. Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages ask me out on dates. (Sorry, ladies, but I'm spoken for.) Mothers want me to touch their babies in the hopes that my sweat will infuse their children with the incredible wisdom found in the meaningful post. And miraculously, every human being I encounter has a tennis ball somewhere on their person. (For some, I am forced to look away.)

On 5 July, I receive a phone call from Wilson Sporting Goods. Their best marketing people couldn't come up with a better sales campaign, and they want to send me a check for my good work. I ask if this is a prank, as no corporate executive would give away the sum which is promised to me. A quick search reveals tennis ball sales are up 3000% and rising. It's no joke. They want to send me a six-figure check.

Before, I was just some disabled guy who would babble on his blog about that which is and isn't important, personally and globally. Now that I've posted the meaningful post and the meaningful followup, people are hanging on my every word. When I have nothing new to write, they go back and read older posts. Other meaningful posts are found, and my new readers wonder why they never heard of me until recently. They cannot wait until 9 July rolls around so they can bounce their tennis balls with thousands of others on our planet.

Thus, the post and ballquake steamroll forward, with me becoming all but a bystander. It's beyond my control. If I told everyone to stop, they'd all point to the meaningful post and proclaim that I was speaking out of stress. "Fear not, Rob. We will carry on the message of the meaningful post, and our balls will be displayed appropriately come 9 July."

On 7 July, I have my surgery. When I get home, I discover there's been a delivery. Everyone planning to participate in ballquake is now aware of my disabled plight, and has sent $5 to the newspaper that made the initial report on me. The newspaper, in turn, has delivered the mail to me. Hundreds of thousands will participate in just two days, and each has sent me $5. And so it is, as a "get well present," I go from living beneath poverty level to becoming close to a millionaire. (It certainly would be nice to have internet fortune to go with internet fame, would it not?)

I am overwhelmed. I never expected such wildly popular feedback from expressing my opinion. While my health is still on somewhat shaky ground, my life has been altered. Now, with the excessive money on hand, I'll be able to do something about that thing I see every day. And as for that thing people should never do...? Well, it's practically being taught in classrooms. "It's just not nice to do it."

Come 9 July, I have a housemate drive me to the nearest mall. News crews have gathered, as has a crowd. Ballquake is on. The collected masses see me and start bouncing their tennis balls. It is the most bizarre "standing ovation" I've ever heard. To show that I am with them on the "holiday" I accidentally created, I produce my own tennis ball and bounce with them. It is "the bounce heard 'round the world."

All of this would be nice. I mean, a mere $5 sent to me by a few hundred thousand people would not only set me up for life, but allow me to be as charitable as my heart and mind are. Sponsor a few meals at various soup kitchens. Donate gifts to underprivileged kids during the holidays. Feed a hungry stranger now and again. That kind of thing.

There's just one problem. I don't have a meaningful post to make.


Loulou said...

Eh, they're all meaningful. At least you don't write sub-diffused-rage posts obliquely referring to how *irritated* you are with one of your blood relatives, fully knowing that the message will not only fail to penetrate, but even if it did they probably wouldn't get it...

Also, hello again. (I'm duty bound to say here that I doubt internet fame is anything to get worked up about, as you would likely attract a fair share of cranks, haters, trolls, and assholes. Such is the nature of the web, and life.)

Nefidean said...

That wasn't very nice Rob, don't you know people are too gullible with the internet that they would believe anything that happens in the future today!

And By other people I totally don't mean me!