Dumb All Over

I wrote a blog post last week about comments. It was an in-depth exploration of the relationship between content creators and their audience, asking important questions like “Isn’t engagement the point of social media?” and “Does staying away make you seem like a mysterious recluse à la J.D. Salinger, or just Kanye West-cocky?”

You’ll just have to trust that I wrote it, because I didn’t post it. I felt too weird about its navel-gazing vibe. This whole blog is basically one disturbingly long stare into my bellybutton, but that post took self-absorbed introspection to a new level. I started making a lot of drawn-out, groaning noises, like one does when one is in mild distress and feeling dramatic.

“Do you have any other ideas?” Jordan asked when I explained the problem.
“Yeah, but they suck,” I said, and groaned for two minutes straight.
“Well what are they?”
“Uh. I thought about writing one called ‘Fashion Blogging Seems Like Something I Could Do, Right?’, but then I realized it doesn’t.”
“It really doesn’t,” he said kindly. “What if you write about your new cat?”
“Yeah, I thought about writing a Winston Purrchill-themed list, but I don’t really know him yet.”

He remains a mystery. Immediately after I took this picture, he bit my head.

He remains a mystery. Immediately after I took this picture, he bit my head.

That’s when he hit on a brilliant plan. “Write a list about all the lists you don’t write.”
“Heh?” I said, like the well-spoken bombshell I am.
“Write a list of the terrible ideas you come up with,” he said. He’s lucky he smells good.

For every post I write, there are five to ten other topics I’ve considered and don’t use because they’re stupid. Those ideas get added to a list of potential lists I’ve been compiling for almost three-and-a-half years. Sometimes a topic will sit on the List of Lists for several months until I figure out how to write it or mutilate it and turn it into something else. Most of the things on that list will never leave it, however, because they’re way too dumb. These are those.

Lists That Made No Sense

1. Beautiful Words
Rhombus. Tintinnabulation. Deep vein thrombosis.

2. Noises I Made to Stop My Cat from Biting Me
Haaaarrruugghwaaaahh! Fffft nggaaaahhh! Shooowaaaaahhhhhhrrrrrmmmm!

3. A Clown’s Desk
…I’m not sure what I was going for.

4. Limpets, Man
This one started with a Wikipedia article about limpets and quickly devolved into an existential meltdown.

a limpet. I think that this is a fissurellid. ...

Man… limpets.

Lists That Were Actually Just One Thing I Wanted to Say

1. I Love You, Harrison Ford
Similar lists included “I Love You, Ira Glass” and “I Love You, David Bowie, Though I’m Pretty Sure You’re from Space”.

2. Bad Puns I Can’t Use
Boat of no confidence. Geddit? Geddit?! (I also do not get it, but I know I like it.)

3. My Unicorn App Doesn’t Work with iOS7
Don’t worry. It does now.

This is me, not my boss. I didn't want to embarrass him.

There’s magic in the world again.

Lists I Half-Wrote Before Discovering How Bad They Were

1. The topic: Possible Reasons There Was a Picture of James Dean Over the Front Desk of My Driver’s Ed School
A highlight: “Reason #1: Someone has a real sick sense of humor.”
The exact point I gave up: “Reason #4: No one in the office understood irony. Oh. That’s totally it. Mystery solved.”

2. The topic: Why Is Getting Out of Bed So Hard?
A highlight: “I don’t really need hair.”
The exact point I gave up: “Lately my super sleeping powers feel more like a super crutch did I seriously just write that have I no shame anymore I HAD DREAMS ONCE”

3. The topic: Notes from My Captain’s Log– Christmas Eve Travel Edition
A highlight: “Fifteen minutes into the traffic jam. There’s an exit, but I refuse to take it. I will cross this pass. The mountain is calling, and I must go.”
The exact point I gave up: “Three hours into the traffic jam. I knew if a trippy song came on I would lose all grip on sanity, and sure enough, Beck happened and now I’m an ice road trucker. The best ice road trucker who ever lived. The Kim Jung Il of ice road truckers. Wait. Is this actually crazy? This is actually crazy.”

4. The topic: Things I Could Do After Graduating College
A highlight: “Become a bounty hunter and also work at Disney World.”
The exact point I gave up: “Get drunk. Stay drunk. Die drunk.”

5. The topic: Lists I Half-Wrote Before Discovering How Bad They Were
A highlight: “I don’t really need hair.”
The exact point I gave up:

But not badly enough to reopen Photoshop.


  1. Steph

    I’m in a slump. I *seriously* almost posted a list of random lists I had jotted down for my blog. I might do it anyway. Yours was entertaining.

  2. pensitivity101

    I started a page headed ‘Ideas’. It’s got three entries on it. The ideas sound good, but the problem is how to write about them! Maybe yours is the way ahead (though what fishing, computers and Despicable Me 2 have in common I have yet to find!)

  3. fredrieka

    I have tried blogs in the past of personal things going on in my life which only brought out everyone’s opinion how to run my life now I just Blog as a dog and share things in a Therapy dogs life. Safe and easy

  4. Sparrowgrass

    I would read the beautiful words post happily. How do you feel about ululation? Gerontology? Elegiac? Oh now I’m afraid for those words in case you won’t like them too. I guess I wouldn’t be brave enough to write that post.

  5. Jane Clancy

    Glockenspiel. Bumbershoot. Is there a writer alive without a list a favorite words? Can I die happy without seeing your favorite word list? Please excuse me while I contemplate my navel. Oh. That didn’t take long. Your word list: Good Idea!

  6. TheFakeGourmet

    A list for you:
    1. A beautiful words list TOTALLY makes sense! Might I suggest adding discombobulation (hmm, not sure about beautiful, but it is fun to say!), conundrum, and serendipity (and all it’s forms) to the list?
    2. I get it — a boat of no confidence is the Titanic, right? Or maybe a Royal Caribbean cruise ship?
    3. I don’t really have a #3, but I felt like the list was incomplete without one…umm, three…whatever.

  7. battlewagon13

    I have the exact same list of blog posts I just can’t seem to put into practice. My beautiful words list though is actually a beautiful phrase list – with phrases like ‘country strong’ and ‘moon shine’ being right up there. Add in a ‘words that sound like they smell’ category and we could be twinsies.

  8. Pingback: This Love Has Taken its Toll on Me | Listful Thinking

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