Saturday, June 30, 2012

Turn the Page

Not much for five and a half year's work, is it?
Truckin’, like the Do-Dah man.
Once told me you’ve got to play your hand
Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a damn
If you don’t lay ‘em down.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it’s been.

— Grateful Dead, “Truckin’”

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it was bound to happen. Sometime around midday on this hot, quiet summer Saturday, some poor befuddled soul clicked a link that brought him or her to this site, thereby registering the one millionth visit to Your Humble Bloggist’s opinion emporium. The Earth continued to spin in its orbit, the sun continued to track across the sky, and—to the best of my knowledge—nobody reported hearing trumpet blasts signalling the beginning of the Interregnum. From these signs, I will venture to conclude that Life, indeed, Goes On.

It was slightly less than five and one-half years ago that your Masked Opinioneer first planted his standard in the sand of this new yet unapproachable internet. What began as a lark, a way to practice writing unrelated to my daily duties, and an editor- and copywriter-free zone for me to inflict my ideas and beliefs upon an unsuspecting world morphed into... well, frankly, not much more than that. Over the intervening years, the tone, topics, and breadth of material I have addressed here have changed, sometimes notably. But I still write because it is fun, I occasionally feel I have something useful to add, and to-date nobody has found an effective way to stop me.

Writing here has also opened me up to a broader range of insights and influences than I would otherwise have enjoyed as a blinkered member of the relatively cloistered and inbred society which comprises my personal and professional milieu. I have begun correspondence with a few individuals of apparent genius, whose knowledge and occasional wisdom has deeply enriched my own. And I am not reluctant to admit I have established a few close friendships as well, all with people whom I have never met in the flesh and likely never will.

* * *

What you, O Dear and Long-Suffering Readers, have gleaned from my self-indulgence is harder for me to discern. I hope I have contributed some valuable insights into the actual and proper functioning of the global financial system (two different things, sadly). I also hope I have introduced some of you to the work of writers, artists, and poets whom I find important touchstones and inspirations in my life. And finally I hope I have made some of you think a little more deeply about subjects outside of finance and markets with my occasional forays into more speculative and wider-ranging topics. Only you can decide whether I have succeeded in any or all of these objectives.

I do not kid myself that 1,000,000 visits over five and one-half years represents anything remotely approaching what a normal person would consider “popular,” or even influential.1 This has been a cottage blog site for me and my readers. However, I do take comfort that more than half of you have visited here more than once over the intervening years. Either I have offered something worth a return visit or two, or you have appallingly short memories for the distress I may have caused you in the past. Either way, I will take the credit.

What I cannot take credit for, however, are the vast waves of traffic which have been sent my direction by far more popular and influential writers and aggregators than me. My writing is difficult, obscure, tendentious, and exceedingly long—not to mention frequently plain wrong—so it is with gratitude that I acknowledge the generosity of such titans of the econoblogosphere as Felix Salmon of Reuters, Tadas Viskanta of Abnormal Returns, and Josh Brown of The Reformed Broker. They, along with far too many others to properly mention, have been the original and ongoing sources of the majority of traffic and regular readers I have gained over the years. Thank you.

And thank you, O Dearest and Most Misguided of All Readers, for flattering my self-indulgence with your attention over the months and years. While it may do no credit to your judgment that you actually read my scribblings, it reflects a naïve generosity of spirit and charming gullibility which is all the more valuable for being so rare in today’s cynical, hyper-sophisticated, and charmless world.

In closing, I am reminded of David Niven’s reaction at the 1974 Academy Awards when his introduction of Elizabeth Taylor was interrupted by a man streaking naked across the stage behind him:

“... isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

If I have done nothing more than make you laugh at my shortcomings, Dear Reader, I will be a happy man.

Ta for now.

Related reading:
And in the spirit of self-indulgence, I have collected a few pieces on cognate topics below—some obscure, some less so—which you may find amusing, informative, or both. If you do not, feel free to leave your criticisms and suggestions in the Comments section following. (Oops.)

On pseudonymity: Do You Trust Me? (February 23, 2011)
On my writing habits and philosophy: Fragments (February 26, 2010)
On my appalling wordiness: A Tedious Argument of Insidious Intent (May 6, 2007)
On this blog’s founding mythos: Molon Labe (September 1, 2008)
On my occasional descent into naughty language: Not Safe for Work (April 25, 2008)
On everything else not elsewhere categorized: Welcome to Duloc! (April 21, 2009)

1 Editorial addendum by Mrs. Dealmaker: “Only five years? It seems like ten.” Everybody’s a critic.2
2 Perhaps now you understand why I prohibit comments on this site. Mrs. D does not need any help.

© 2012 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.