Here’s A Nutty Thing

In May of 2011, if the interweb is to be believed, (and I guarantee you that EVERYTHING on the interweb is true), I decided to start a humor blog. I thought it would be fun to write funny things. I had heard about WordPress and thought that would be a fine place to plunk my funny ha-ha’s into the world’s consciousness, so I high-tailed it over there, (actually I may have low-tailed it, it was almost six years ago and I honestly can’t remember at what level I was holding my tail).

I went through the whole process of creating my account, linking it to my email address and whatever other preliminary things there were to do.

Just before I got ready to write my first side-splittingly hilarious article, I noticed that when I created the site I had misspelled the site’s name. Instead of “Things To Laugh About,” I had typed “Things to Laught About.”

At first it seemed like a small problem. But I was, in the lingo of those whacky kids, a n00b. I could not, for the life of me figure out how to access the controls of this already off-the-rails express train, and delete that one rogue letter from the title.

So I weighed my options. #1Live with it, and forevermore be known as the “can’t-spell-his-own-blog’s-name guy,” #2 delete the account and start from scratch, or #3 abandon the whole notion of writing funny things altogether.

Well, my vanity ruled out options #1 and #3, and I couldn’t figure out how to do #2. And since the blog was attached to my email account, it was being pissy about letting me do several of the things I attempted.

The whole operation was getting off to a very rocky start. In the end, I ended up with option #4. Create a new email account and start from scratch. It felt a little like leaving my family and going to live in Italy under the name Aldo Federici, but that’s the route I chose.

My cleverness, however, was limited, and the new Gmail account I created was sjvarengo, as opposed to the old one which was just svarengo. Can you see why I became a writer? It’s that level of inventiveness that allows me to create human being from electronic impulses in my mind, and to determine the course of their lives.

My plan worked, and on May 17, 2011, I posted my first article, entitled “Laugh, Damn You!”

The blog still exists and I still post new entries from time to time, and a while back I added a second blog to the same account, (a process which they have made much easier in the years since that first dreadful day).

Now we’re getting to the crazy part.

I have a friend who recently started her own blog, and as soon as I saw it I wanted to support it. I tried to follow the blog and post some encouraging replies. But when I logged into WordPress, I used my svarengo account, having quite forgotten all about the horrific episode back in 2011, and with those blocked memories I also blocked the creation of the sjvarengo email account. It took me a few failed attempts before I noticed that when I liked a post, the person that was liking it was thingstolaughtabout. With a “t.”

In a flash the details that horrible night came flooding back into my memory and, after rolling into a fetal position and crying for a couple of hours, I said, “I used a different email account.”

Of course I could not remember what account I used, and still could not access the memory of creating the sjvarengo account. If you’re like me you have more than one email account anyway, so I ran through all the addresses, including defunct Time Warner accounts and even a Hotmail account which I was so proud of because I beat my whole family and was able to register my account as simply varengo@. Take that, relatives. I think after I failed to log into it for several years, Microsoft may have scrubbed it from existence, but that wouldn’t have mattered if it was the correct login address. It wasn’t however.

So I decided to go into the basement of WordPress and see if I could find an account settings page or something that would tell me what email was attached to the blogs. After (literally) an hour of searching, I found it. Mr. sjvarengo.

It’s kind of funny right there, because of course that’s what I use as my pen name and the blog and this website both use that as their titles. But I had forgotten all about it.

Of course, once I’d figured everything out I was able to subscribe to my friend’s blog, click “like” and see the correct person’s name show up, and leave comments from someone who didn’t look like they’d escaped from their special education classroom to start a humor blog called Things To Laught About. It was all good.

Then another thought popped into my head, as thoughts are wont to do. (I have never had a thought pop into my knee). “Do you suppose,” I asked myself, “there are any emails sitting in Mr. sjvarengo’s account?”

So I mid-level-tailed it over to Gmail and attempted to log into the account. Of course, only having recalled that the account existed a few moments before this, the task of recalling the password was a little daunting. Because, of course, I only use super-secure passwords that are at least fifty characters long, and are a combination of numbers, letters, symbols, and blue whale noises.

That is, of course, a lie. I use the same handful of passwords over and over again, and even then I usually can’t remember them. And God forbid I should actually throw in a capital letter into the mix, well chances are I’m never getting in there again.

This time, it looked as though I’d outsmarted myself once more, as I ran through the short-list and found none of them worked. Eventually Google started getting a little nervous and informed me that one more failed attempt would result in an F-18 airstrike at the location of the IP address I was using, which would have been completely unacceptable, since my daughter was letting me work at her apartment. I didn’t care about the other thirty or so people who lived in the building, but I didn’t want to leave my daughter’s apartment messy. Or blown up. Literally.

So I started trying to reset the password. Have you ever? Talk about top-level CIA security vetting. I was sweating within seconds of beginning the process and ended up screaming “I’ll tell you where the pathogens are hidden!!”

Then, in an act of uncharacteristic optimism and, as it turned out, charmed luck, tried my primary, go-to password, with the first letter capitalized.

I was in!

Believe it or not, that did the trick.

Were there emails? People, there were emails.

So here’s the real funny thing about all of this. Because I never accessed the account, I never received any feedback about anything I’d written over the course of that past six years. WordPress has a stats page, so I knew that some of the blog posts had been read, (including one that included an in-poor-taste joke about Amy Winehouse and Lindsay Lohan having a “who-will-die-first” competition, which got (not joking) over 20,000 hits the day Amy died.) But I didn’t see any “likes.” I didn’t see the names of subscribers, if any existed. I pretty much felt like I was writing for myself, “Dear Diary” if you will, and making them accessible to 7 billion people who would never see them.

But apparently people did read, like, and subscribe. Over the past six years there were nearly 400 emails notifying me that folks like Blair (The Shameful Sheep) thought an entry was “pretty awesome” (WordPress’s choice of words not mine.)

Well, after another too-long and too painful process, I got the account linked into my Outlook app and I’ll know right away about these crazy people.

Moral of the story, even when you don’t know it, people are appreciating you.

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