Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Revealed at last!

Apparently my blog has finally been discovered...by my family.

How do I know this? Well, it's not because they told me. It all began with an anonymous comment I became aware of on an post written one month ago today in honor of David Bowie's birthday. One comment read:

I wonder if there might be another talented and impressive individual born on the 8th of January?
I suspected I knew who this was (and her birthday is January 8); so, just to be a smart-ass, I responded:
You mean Elvis?
I then immediately checked my Site Meter logs. There, around the time when the comment had been posted was an entry for a visitor from a certain ISP in a certain time zone. What tipped me off is that that particular visitor was on my blog for close to an hour and had gone through dozens of page views.


The next comment was rather cryptic, but left no doubt (to me, at least) as to the identity of the anonymous commenter:
Elvis, yes.

Soupy Sales is another.

...but this particular individual happens to be much closer to you. In fact, I believe you may share a certain genetic make-up. Surprisingly, there was no mention of this person, and the fact that she shares the birthday of your "favorite performer of all time."

This person remained in the womb, sacrificing one to two days of her life, simply to be born on the same date of the person she predicted would ultimately become your very addictive (and smoking) renaissance man. This will forever serve as a connection of sorts between reality...and your dream filled addiction.

The above should make you feel very important.

...all of the sacrifices and the giving. When will our dear talented and impressive individual, born on the 8th of January, receive?
Now I knew I could be in trouble.

It was one of my sisters. No doubt she learned of my blog from The Cranky Badger, whose attempts to teach the art of comedy are chronicled at The Quest for the Comic Grail, which you should visit immediately after you finish this jewel of creative prose by me. (Plug, plug, plug.) In fact, in my zeal to promote the Badger's latest project, I had decided the time was ripe to reveal Respectful Insolence in all its glory, albeit in a somewhat sneaky way.

But somehow she noticed I hadn't mentioned her birthday. I guess I didn't expect anyone to go back that far into the archives, once the wraps were off.

She probably deserves an explanation. At that time, I didn't really consider my blog ready for prime-time and therefore hadn't told anyone about it. (Also, I blog in semi-anonymity because I don't want the very first impression patients get of me when Googling my name to be my alter ego, a cantankerous, opinionated, plastic box full of flashing lights named Orac, who occasionally posts EneMan pictures when he's in a strange mood. Anonymity is also important as an added layer of protection--other than no use of names and my usual alterations of details in ways that do not change the essence of the story--for the privacy of my patients.) Even my wife didn't know about it until recently (the EneMan pictures again, which, tasteful woman that she is, my wife doesn't find one tenth as amusing as I do). In fact, until quite recently, I was vaguely embarrassed by the whole endeavor, still not being sure that it was any good, kind words from some readers notwithstanding. I wasn't sure that I even wanted to let my family in on it. (Having an alter-ego that can say whatever he wants is fun, after all.) After nearly two months, though, I've now gained enough confidence to realize that I'm actually OK at this blogging thing. The responses to my Auschwitz post and cancer denial post were so gratifying that I'm almost starting to believe that I might actually be able to excel at other kinds of writing besides the dry, technical, passive-voice, scientific paper and grant writing style that I've honed to a razor sharp edge over so many years. I had thought that twenty years of it had crushed the life and spirit out of my writing, but maybe there's a spark there yet, kept alive, perhaps, by my seven or eight years of Usenet flamewars. Finally, even though I said at the outset that this blog wouldn't be primarily about me, but rather about medicine, science, and skepticism, somehow it's evolved to the point where I've revealed more than I expected to. (Perhaps that is inevitable.) In any event, one month ago, I still lacked confidence. I didn't really see any point in wishing my sister a happy birthday in a blog entry because she didn't know about my blog and would never see the post anyway.

I guess that excuse is gone now.

So, dear sister, one month late, you now receive your birthday shout-out. I hope it was a happy one (I seem to recall that you weren't home when I tried to call). If I'm still doing this 11 months hence (as I hope to be), you'll get another.

Also, for those not involved in this little bit of familial fun, I would mention that my sister remains ever the contrarian, as perhaps you can tell from her comments. All of the other siblings were born on the 7th of a month. She could have done the same, resulting in a perfect string of birthdays on the 7th (wouldn't that have been cool?), but nooooooooo....she had to be different. She had to hold out one more day.

Which is just fine, because, as she says, she now shares David Bowie's birthday.

Maybe I should give her a call. It's been a couple of weeks, I think. It'll be interesting to see what she really thinks of this blog of mine.

7 example(s) of insolence returned:

At 2/08/2005 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's my gift, dear brother of mine?

Not to worry - just having fun. Birthdays at this age are to forget, right? That is, unless you're as cool as David Bowie.


At 2/08/2005 10:58 PM, Blogger Dr. Charles said...

good post! i often wonder if some anonymous commenter on my own blog is actually an unannounced family member lurking around... it would be an honor, but somehow the feedback much scarier!


At 2/09/2005 8:24 AM, Blogger Orac said...

Indeed it is. Maybe I should stick to medical and scientific topics....


At 2/09/2005 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't think that this lets you off the hook for that "black sheep of the family" crack you made about me.

You have TWO sisters, and this one is the only sibling that doesn't have a MD or PhD (or even a completed B.A.). Now how's that for contrarian?


At 2/09/2005 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous posting above:

Let the contrarian competition begin!

No, no...just kidding, of course.

We're both pretty!

Dr. Blogger, look at what you've gotten yourself into.


At 2/09/2005 7:31 PM, Blogger Orac said...

I see!

My only hope, I think, is that an apology and a trip to Club Lucky the next time I'm in town might assuage things somewhat...

Either that, or I am truly screwed.


At 2/18/2005 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is also another person who likes Club Lucky and has a birthday in January. I don't care what the other anonymous said, I like getting presents for my birthday.


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