Friday, December 6, 2013

Coming Full Circle, part I, in which I mull over the birth of a Stay at Home Dad Blog

It was, say, the summer of 2003 when I got wind of a little thing called Blogger. Billed as a free, simple platform for publishing anything and everything, it almost seemed too good to be true. My fingers started twitching. It would be my own little slice of the interwebs. There were even “blog rings” that would let me follow the few other people writing about similar topics. So without even a second thought, I signed up, hit send and just like that I was a “blogger.”

But I should probably back up for a moment.

At the risk of revealing that I’m an old guy, I am proud to note that I was an early refugee from the static tyranny of yellow legal pads and ballpoint pens the moment I got my hands on WordStar. It was the early 80s and it was magical. It was on a machine that displayed whatever you typed on a screen. You could go back and fix mistakes. No more clickity-clack of steel keys, no more smell of 3in1 oil, no more inked ribbons that reliably went dry each and every time you had a final paper due. With a computer I was a WiteOut-stained-wretch no more.

And it’s been an electronic free-for-all ever since: papers for school, letters to editors, opinion pieces for any paper that would have me and bits of ephemera for myself. Bits of ephemera that were, parenthetically speaking, really little more than poor imitations of S. J. Perelman. (The real irony is, of course, that it’s a stylistic thing that I can’t seem to avoid. Just consider this piece as a whole. Although there is eventually a point, it’s all discursive prose that noodles here and there and is chockablock with so many extra words that I can hear my copy of Strunk and White weeping softly. And see? I’m doing it right now.)

Anyway, mention of discursive prose brings us back to the summer of 2003 and Blogger. Until then I had been sending off pieces about this Local Issue and that Personal Observation to our local Gannett rag, the Journal News. (Pieces I sent on paper, in stamped envelopes via the fine folks at the USPS. I know, right?! ) The Gannett editor at the time seemed happy enough to publish much of what I sent, but now I had the ability to focus and publish my own column of sorts; and so Dad’s On The Couch was born.

Dad’s On the Couch? Yeah, I was younger, my kids were wee and I realized that this was the perfect outlet for sharing my experiences as a dad who was home raising his kids…

Anyway, tomorrow in Part Two, I connect virtually with some other dads via Web Rings and I discover that there was an official name for me: I was a Stay at Home Dad, with capitals.