It’s a historic day here in the land of less is more. We have reached the magical land of 100 posts.
That means that since September 2010, I’ve typed roughly 400-600 pages worth of material. By my estimation, that means, at most, there’s 20-40 pages of really good writing mixed in there someplace.
In order to commemorate this remarkable event, I’ve taken the time to go back through all 99 posts preceding this one to give you my thoughts on the 10 best less is more posts so far. But because a list, standing alone, doesn’t give you the quality and content that you’ve all come to expect, I’ve gone the extra mile and actually taken the time to explain why I’ve made these selections. My analysis is, as always, completely serious without a hint of sarcasm. Enjoy.
#10: book jacket poison
Like many of my older posts, this one is too long. However, the core message of this one – that stories about amputees overcoming adversity and being inspirational are fundamentally boring – is near and dear to my heart. It’s that kind of clichéd messaging that leads to this, an exchange a woman had with me at the airport the other night:
Strange Woman: [Materializing next to Dave from nowhere] “Thank you, sir.”
Dave: [Confused] What? Oh, no, I’m not military.
Strange Woman: [Welling up, voice breaking] Thank you! [Leaves]
[5 minutes elapse and Strange Woman returns]: May I ask how that happened?
Dave: [Trying not to be rude but not wanting to re-engage strange woman] Car accident 15 years ago.
Strange Woman: [Welling up again, voice breaking again]: I hope you got justice.
Dave: [Having no idea how to respond] Um … I did.
Having a middle-aged female come up to you and not be able to complete a sentence without choking up is disconcerting at best, and downright off-putting at worst. If we got away from the amputee as inspirational “other” motif, I wouldn’t have had to deal with this well-meaning lunatic. Then again, maybe the fact that my flight had already been delayed 6 hours colored my reaction. Ummmmmmm … nope. She was nuts. We need a new message to protect ourselves from this kind of stuff. Read the post.
First the bad: the repeated use of the phrase, “examples abound” now makes me want to puke. The fact that this post still makes the top 10 despite that nearly unforgivable grammatical sin rests on the strength of the post’s last third.
It involves a Broadway show, the sour Mr. Ticket, a world-famous rock star, and the triumph of the underdog (who also happens to be my younger son, Jackson). Oh, and the Buddhist concept on which the post is based is one of the most important things I learned after my accident.
#8: move (part 1)
First of all, this post leads with one of the most disturbing images you’ll ever see. (Yes, even more disturbing that the real-world photo of a dead fish that’s in a much-higher ranked post discussed below.) And yet, the image is perfect. When one of my readers tells me that upon seeing the image and reading the post, she had to go and work out for 2 hours, I consider that a massive success.
Second, I still maintain that the discussion of a real study conducted at the University of Missouri is one of the great scientific achievements of our time. Forget Higgs boson, this Seinfeldian research project establishes why everyone – not only amputees – better get off their keisters post-haste.
The first post on the list that truly reveals just how neurotic and screwed up I am. But since a central principle of this blog is that my neurosis and general screwed-uppedness should entertain, view from a ladder serves an important purpose.
I’m a “comfort zone” kind of guy. I don’t like to venture outside it. This post highlights how my son unwittingly taught me that risking failure is a (the?) key element of an interesting life.
The fact that Oscar Pistorius just qualified for the Olympics made this post a whole lot more relevant.
Any post that involves me writing a hypothetical scientific research abstract deserves inclusion on this list. The fact that I do a damn good job of explaining what really goes on in most guys’ heads while attempting to dance elevates it to the top 5. This is cutting-edge insight, folks.
My interview of my wife, Cara, is priceless – and proof that I don’t prep my interviewees – based solely on the following exchange:
Cara: I’m sure that if I read your blog religiously –
Dave: [Outraged] You don’t read my blog religiously?!?
* * *
Cara: I live the blog, I don’t have to read the blog.
Touché, My Love.
This one required more research than almost any other post. But it was well worth it.
If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have learned that there was a band that wrote songs like “Brown Tie is a Clip-On”, “You Win, I’m Stupid”, and “One Arm Left”. I wouldn’t have uncovered Angry Amputees, a band that actually only has one amputee among its members, and that titled its only album, “Slut Bomb”, with a cover that included both a slut and a bomb. I wouldn’t have found Phantom Limb, a truly good band from England.
And I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see these three words appear in succession for perhaps the only time in the history of humanity: “Brechtian punk cabaret.”
This post includes a real photograph of a real fish that really fell out of the sky. It’s also one of the most tightly written, meaningful (to me) things I’ve ever authored. So much of what we deal with every day is “noise” – stuff that catches our attention but doesn’t really matter. The story of the falling fish, on the other hand, has depth. It may even be (heaven forfend) profound.