Z is for Zilch

FE58492C-6D4C-4ECB-BCF1-FF260933D86EI’ve got zilch, zero, zip. So it’s a damn good thing that today is the last day of the 2019 A to Z Challenge. Because I’m used up. There’s just nothing left for me to give. And I didn’t even have a theme for this 26-post alphabet challenge, like many bloggers who participated in this challenge did. I was free to post about whatever popped into my tiny little head. And even with that freedom, it was a burden.

So it’s over. For another year. If I’m still around and still blogging in April 2020, I’ll have to think long and hard about whether or not to participate again in next year’s A to Z Challenge.

Of course, should I decide to do it again next April, I can always just recycle my 2018 A to Z Challenge posts, since the odds are that many of you won’t still be blogging in a year.

It’s true. I read a couple of articles I found recently on the internet — so you know they’re accurate — when I Googled “What is the average lifespan of a new blog?” One article said that the average lifespan of a new blog is about 100 days. Another site estimated that new blogs these days typically have a four to six month lifespan.

And for those few of you who will still be here next April and who may have diligently read each and every one of my posts for this year’s challenge, you probably didn’t read, much less remember, any of my posts from last year’s challenge. Thus, by next year, they’ll all seem new to you.

In fact, do any of you who were around for the A to Z Challenge in 2018 even remember what my Z-post was last year?

Hint: it wasn’t “Z is for Zilch.”


Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

An Honest Blogger

4CD745AD-5CB5-4C3D-A497-9439E58964DBRory, A Guy Called Bloke, wrote a post today in which he asked this:

How honest are you to your blog and as such, to your readership? Do you think you can be too honest, too open?

This question really struck a chord with me. Why? I was once told that, since I blog anonymously, I am not an honest blogger. Why? Because I’m hiding my true identity, and unless or until I reveal my true identity, I’m being dishonest and disingenuous.

Well I call bullshit on that. I have my reasons for blogging anonymously, primarily having already been the victim of identity theft — twice! So it has nothing to do with being dishonest or disingenuous.

With that out of the way, on my blog I write a lot of flash fiction, often in response to word or picture prompts. Fiction is stories that describes imaginary events and people. Fiction is invention or fabrication as opposed to fact. So, by definition, writing fiction is not about honesty.

I also respond to Q&A prompts, and I do try to honestly answer the questions posed. And finally, as my blog’s tagline says, I post about life, society, and politics.

Other than members of my immediate family, few of my friends or acquaintances know who Fandango is. If they did, the real world me might feel more constrained when it comes to expressing my deep down inside thoughts and feelings on my blog. After all, I have to interact with these people in the real world and I’m a relatively private person.

Thus, it’s here, on my blog, where I’m probably being more honest and genuine in expressing my inner self than I am in the real world.

So back to Rory’s question, I feel that I am honest on my blog and with those who read my blog. As to his second question, I do feel there is a risk of being too honest and too open — in the real world. But not when it comes to my blog, where I can write and post any damn thing I want.

Throwback Thursday — A Man of Mystery

IMG_2374I originally published this post on June 29th of last year. I thought that, since most of you were not readers of my blog back then, I’d repost it as part of what I’m dubbing “Throwback Thursday.” Enjoy.


 What, exactly, is a man of mystery?

I’ve heard that, for many women, a man with an air of mystery is quite alluring. They find him fascinating. They are intrigued, and perhaps even a little excited, by a man who seems to have something dark and hidden deep within him.

Something mysterious lurking just below the surface. Something a little dangerous. Something remarkably magnetic.

If you’re truly a man of mystery, women are challenged to figure out who you really are. Why you are so secretive, so aloof. What you are hiding. What deep, dark secrets are lurking within you.

Their curiosity piqued, they can’t help but gravitate toward you. They think about you, wonder about you. They find you hard to predict. They don’t know or understand your motivations. They want to know what makes you tick.

And it drives them nuts. Which makes you virtually irresistible to them. You become a real chick magnet.

I have never been mysterious, much less a chick magnet. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a guy. I’m not hesitant to say what I’m thinking or feeling. I’m open and forthcoming about who I am: the good, the bad, and the occasionally indifferent.

But I was curious — you know, just for my own edification — how a man can achieve that mysterious air.

I tried to find an explanation, or at least a good description, of what it is that gives a man an air of mystery. I couldn’t find anything formal, but I did come across some rather amusing steps, which I’ve compiled below, that a man should follow if he wishes to become a man of mystery:

  1. Wear sunglasses at all times, even at night.
  2. Wear a fedora hat and a trench coat, preferably with the collar turned up.
  3. Carry dry ice around in your car so that whenever the situation presents itself you can appear out of a thick mist.
  4. Call your voicemail and mutter secretively about “the deal going down” and “Code Red.”
  5. Whenever you leave, say you’ve got to meet your “connection” and walk off in a random direction.
  6. If your name is spoken out loud in a public place, grab the offender and say, urgently, “Shhh, not here!”
  7. Instead of having your friends pick you up at your place, make them get you at the airport or bus station.
  8. Be sure to look around frequently, as if you may be being followed.
  9. Every few hours, shake your head and say, “Crazy life, man, crazy life.”

Okay, so based upon these simple-to-follow steps, all I have to do to cloak myself with an air of mystery is to dress the part and act really weird and paranoid.

I think I’ll pass.

Hiding in Plain Sight

319F841E-7408-470A-AC0F-0CFAA1958906To a post that I wrote for the WordPress one-word prompt yesterday, a short, somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece of flash fiction, I received a comment from one of my regular readers (and favorite bloggers), Marilyn Armstrong at Serendipity, who wrote:

“This is one of those times in which I wish there was more of you in this and less verbal play. It’s cute, but where are YOU?”

Marilyn’s comment got me thinking. Marilyn is very open in her excellent blog about who she is in “the real world.” She posts about herself, her husband, her family, her home, her dogs, her work, her play, and the trials, tribulations, and joys of her life. Her blog is very personal and she’s quite forthcoming. And that’s why she has more than 10,000 followers.

My blog’s About page notes upfront that “My real world identity will remain a mystery.” I once had my identity stolen and it took many painful months to get that all straightened out. Consequently, I am perhaps overly guarded about revealing too much about myself, my personal life, and my family, which is why I blog anonymously.

Also on my About page, I reveal that I’m a retired, liberal, practical, and pragmatic septuagenarian. I also admit that I can be a bit cantankerous, as well as somewhat pedantic (i.e., fussy) when it comes to grammar, spelling, and usage.

Now if I wanted to be glib about answering Marilyn’s question about where I am, I could respond by saying that I live in San Francisco with my wife, our dog, and our cat.

But in reality, I’m a boring man, a senior citizen who lives a rather routine, nondescript life. I’m neither particularly inspiring nor especially interesting. Which is why many of my posts on this blog recently are flash fiction pieces in response to various prompts. What goes on inside my imagination is much more fascinating and colorful than what goes on in my real world.

So to answer Marilyn’s question, I’m right here. A piece of me is in every post I write, whether I’m expressing my opinions, sharing my observations, offering my perspectives, or flexing my imagination. This post and my words that you are reading is where I am.

I’m right here…hiding in plain sight.

A Man of Mystery

IMG_2374

What, exactly, is a man of mystery?

I’ve heard that, for many women, a man with an air of mystery is quite alluring. They find him fascinating. They are intrigued, and perhaps even a little excited, by a man who seems to have something dark and hidden within him.

Something mysterious is lurking just below the surface. Maybe even something a little dangerous. Something remarkably magnetic.

If you’re truly a man of mystery, women are challenged to figure out who you really are. Why are you so secretive, so aloof? What are you hiding? What deep, dark secrets are lurking within you?

Their curiosity piqued, they can’t help but gravitate toward you. They think about you, wonder about you. They find you hard to predict. They don’t know or understand your motivations. They can’t figure out what you’ll say or do next.

And it drives them nuts. Which makes you virtually irresistible to them. You become a real chick magnet.

I have never been mysterious, much less a chick magnet. I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of a guy. I’m not hesitant to say what I think or to be open and forthcoming about who I am, including the good, the bad, and the occasionally indifferent.

But I was curious — you know, just for my own edification — how a man can achieve that mysterious air.

I tried to find an explanation, or at least a good description, of what it is that gives a man an air of mystery. I couldn’t find anything formal, but I did come across one rather amusing description containing nine steps a man should follow if he wishes to be a man of mystery.

  1. Wear sunglasses at all times, even at night.
  2. Wear a trench coat, preferably with the collar turned up.
  3. Carry dry ice around in your car so that whenever the situation presents itself you can appear out of a thick mist.
  4. Call your voicemail and mutter secretively about “the deal going down” and “Code Red.”
  5. Whenever you leave, say you’ve got to meet your “connection” and walk off in a random direction.
  6. If your name is spoken out loud in a public place, grab the offender and say, urgently, “Shhh, not here!”
  7. Instead of having your friends pick you up at your place, make them get you at the airport or bus station.
  8. Be sure to look around frequently, as if you may be being followed.
  9. Every few hours, shake your head and say, “Crazy life, man, crazy life.”

Okay, so based upon these simple-to-follow steps, all I have to do to cloak myself with an air of mystery and to become a chick magnet is to dress the part and act really strange and paranoid.

I think I’ll pass.


This post was in response to today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Magnet.