by Bill Cope
When I wrote this, it was intended that it come out on Dec. 27, 2013, a week and a half ago. Something happened and it didn’t show up when it was supposed to. My editor explained what the problem was, but I nodded off during the explanation and missed most of it.
Parts of it are a tad dated, as you will see, and I could have revised it. But that would have required me to cut entire paragraphs out and throw them away. It’s easier just to add this intro and leave the rest of it intact.
I am writing this blog episode under the assumption very few people will read it. Not that I assume lots and lots of people have read or will read the other ones. Frankly, I have no sense of how many people are reading these blog thingies. Writing them feels to me like yelling into a big, pitch-black cavern where you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face and you’re not even sure there’s another soul there in the darkness with you.
It’s different with the real, pulp-and-ink newspaper. You can at least see them disappearing off the racks, which of course doesn’t necessarily mean the folks picking up those papers are reading my stuff. But at the least, I can assume that it is actual human beings carrying them off, even if it’s for no other purpose than to line gerbil cages and swat flies.
But not so with these blogs. As far as I know, all I’m doing is dumping load after load down some infinite virtual verbiage chute where they, along with everything everyone else types into the Internet, are consumed by some hitherto undiscovered digital life form that exists only within the World Wide Web—at least, until they figure out a way to breach the divide, at which point we’re all in serious trouble once they get a taste of real flesh and blood.
But I have gotten somewhat off track, haven’t I? Not that it matters much because, like I said at the start, I’m assuming hardly anyone is reading it. I mean, Xmas has been over only two days now, and I imagine those of you who aren’t still working your way back through the woods and over the river to get home from Granny’s house, or who aren’t down at the mall returning stuff, are probably playing your brand new video diversions on your brand new Game Box/X- Boy/Wii-Wii gadgets.
Hell, I know I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this if I’d gotten any fun toys I could be playing with. But by the time I went to bed on Xmas night, I’d gotten all the fun I was going to get out of my brand new house slippers. And what I thought was a miniature BB gun turned out to be a butane barbecue lighter. And what the hell am I going to do with a... oh dear, I’m wandering again, huh?
What I’m getting at here is that since I don’t think there will be too many people reading this, I’m not very concerned with what I write. However, that does not mean I don’t have a purpose in writing it. I have decided to conduct a little experiment today—which begins right now.
You see, my eyes aren’t what they used to be, and to be honest,they never did amount to much even back when they were what they used to be. As a result, I find it easier, sometimes necessary, to dial the font size up when I’m writing. You know... so I can see what I’m doing.
I tell you, it makes the actual process of writing a much more enjoyable experience when I don’t have to worry about an eyeball popping like a ripe grape from over-exertion, know what I mean? Of course, before I send my columns in for printing, I turn it all back to squint-size. Newspapers are struggling enough without having the extra expenditures that a size-26 font would cost them, just in ink alone. And imagine how many more trees would have to die if every letter and every word were three times bigger than they are now.
However, I recently had a revelation.
The blog doesn’t take any ink or any paper at all. I just uses up, uh... just what does it use up?
Nothing, I guess—unless you consider the pixels... whatever they are. I mean, have you ever had to go buy extra pixels for any reason? Like, when you enlarge a YouTube video, or zoom in on some of that porn you watch so much of?
And where would a fella go to buy extra pixels, anyway? I have never in all my wandering come across any stores that sold pixels, nor have I run across any ads for them, even on the Internet. So I am assuming pixels are plentiful—that at present, there is no shortage of them—and that they are free. Therefore, it doesn’t matter at all how many of them I use, does it? All I’m doing is taking up some extra space, which doesn’t matter since it’s only virtual space to begin with.
And that’s why I’m performing this little experiment. In case you haven’t figured out what it is I’m experimenting with, I’m trying to gauge what effect on the Internet there might be if my text is larger than usual. It seems to me that most bloggers, commenters, news reporters, site reviewers, etc.—in other words, all the people from all the various corners of the globe who enter their ideas and messages and tweets and such into the web... the cloud... the whatever you wish to call that big roiling mass of writing that constitutes electronic media... usually do it in the same font size that I do. Which is size 12. I don’t pretend to know what that means other than I’m pretty sure it’s not 12 inches. Or 12 pounds. Or gallons.
But today, I am releasing it onto the Internet in the same font size in which I write it, being size 18. I had to make arrangements with my editor, who agreed to let me do it this once with the caveat: Don’t get in the habit, Cope. We don’t want people to think this is The Reader’s Digest or something.
But honestly, now that you’ve seen it, don’t you think it’s better? Isn’t it relaxing to sink back into your Internet-surfing chair and read without having to pucker up your nose and stretch your eyelids out sideways, just to get the words to come into focus?
I tried a few other sizes. Size 24 (as follows) seems like I was pushing it a tad too far, and size 36 (as follows)
is just ridiculous.
No, I think size 18 is about right, and wouldn’t it be nice if the whole Internet were so easy to read?
What's more, I can’t imagine that the digital life forms living down there in the bowels of the www would have any reason to come slithering out into non-virtual existence, not when we’re loading them up with such plump and juicy letters as this. Can you?