It used to be I'd post stuff mainly to argue against points of view (primarily political ones) which I considered to be wrong-headed. After all, if you consider usenet and weblogs like this one to be the equivalent of old-fashioned debate halls, and if they're debating politics inside, then my point of view, the correct one, should be forcibly represented there. After a while, though, it began to become clear to me that no one is ever convinced of anything by on-line arguments. That kind of takes the edge off of all that strenuous advocacy.
Another reason I sometimes posted this and that to usenet was in order to share what technical knowledge I had, for what you might describe as a blend of altruistic generosity and self-aggrandizement ("re your post, I hacked this little proggy out for you in five minutes, look how smart I am, oh boy!"). That isn't a blend of two things really, those are just two ways, positive and negative, to describe the same emotion. But when you come right down to it I am not enough of a technical expert at anything to set myself up as Mr. Advice Guy.
Plus about the middle of last year I suffered a bad bout of computer burnout, and it was really getting me down. So I gave up struggling with computers in general for a while - I quit my job as the network administrator at my company, and got transferred back into the field as a land survey party chief, which is what I used to do ten years prior. This may sound like MS-bashing crankiness, but I maybe blame that flaky closed-source crap of theirs as one primary cause of that burnout. My head was too full of voodoo computer lore - you know, the kind of cheesy tricks (install the v.4.1.2 driver off the floppy, not the v.4.2 one off the CD, then rename this file, and reboot twice...) you teach yourself when administering Windows NT systems, which work OK, but you never, never know how or why - and I've been deliberately forgetting that stuff as fast as I can. In the last six months, I've gotten to the point where at least I don't dream about technical problems I was having with the company's servers and desktop machines... Also the physical exercise associated with construction work helps a lot: I've lost about twenty pounds of body weight, my muscle tone is a lot better (still nothing great, though), my respiration is twice as good, I don't get those odd pains in the chest, and my right leg isn't numb all the time.
Nowadays I post, mainly, because I like to string words together. Creative typing is fun. Subconsciously I knew it all along, and so do you. Don't you feel a certain pride when you contemplate a well-written post you wrote - a pride which, viewed objectively along side its cause, is really excessive? I think I first consciously realized how much fun creative typing per se actually is when reading the works of a few of the more imaginative trolls on slashdot (hi guys, you know who you are! - your fan WDK).
One day, it suddenly occurred to me that the best of their stuff, rather than being merely a sort of infantile verbal vandalism, a deliberately annoying affront to the integrity of the dialogue and the sensibility of the readers, was instead a real and well-realized art form. Where before I muttered "asshole! what crap," now I said "bravo! encore!" instead. Suddenly I saw it was no coincidence that "post" and "poem" have the same number of letters and begin with the same first two... Prose is fun! Like singing or dancing or playing a musical instrument. I especially like it when I can get a good rhythm and assonance going in a post, for me that adds a lot of pleasure to any post, even if the content is logically leaky or even downright defective.
It helps, of course, that a lot of times when I post, especially when it's late at night, I'm kind of drunk.
Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net
...hey that reminds me! the sun's down, where's the corkscrew?
"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.