Hump Day Hash For My Hungry Homies

Four fantastic fables for the Fourth.

Image by Claudia Peters from Pixabay

Usually, I write about others I’ve discovered through serendipity. Today, I will share some articles before I disappear from this writing platform like some dissident Russian journalist.

I say this because I discovered to my horror that my most popular writing article was un-curated.

It was actually my only curated article on writing, which might have been a mistake from the beginning, given the circumstances. For some inexplicable reason, one of my rants was selected by Medium curators in the writing category at 1:03 AM PDT last August. My only guess is talking about walking my dogs must have scored points with those Corgis hard at work.

This created an incredibly advantageous window for all my fans in Mogadishu, who could read my sparkling humor piece with their morning coffee, as well as that prime Sunday evening slot for the three non-Party people in Siberia who have computers and internet access.

I have the proof the article was curated.* I don’t know precisely how I pissed off the gods of Medium so much. I can only guess at three possible transgressions (although my readers my point out dozens of others):

Crime #1: I wrote a story about the C-word (not what you’re thinking) and mentioned the soon-to-be-leaving radioactive Rolli, the coffee addict who exposed criminal activity on this writing site, while the corporate overlords did nothing except screw with him.

Crime #2: In another article, I encouraged new writers not to sell their souls. However, I might have committed the unpardonable sin of mentioning a rival writing site and point out its advantages:

The value of your writing corresponds to the response of ALL the people who are interested (and therefore more knowledgeable) about a specific subject, not a single overworked staff reader tasked with evaluating hundreds of articles each day.

Crime #3: Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I mentioned Medium ten times in the curated article… TEN FUCKING MONTHS AGO. I violated the rule about Medium not curating articles about Medium — like countless other featured writers — and they finally enforced the rules.

For some reason, this article got far less attention than other articles I’ve written, but it keeps on plugging away, collected readers, claps, and the occasional shekel, which is far more valuable than I realized, with my limited knowledge of Yiddish.

The article was no better or worse than my other work, but it did follow an unintentionally listicle-style structure that Medium loves so much. The only thing I didn’t do was give it one of those horrible headlines like “Are These Four Critical Things Missing From Your Blog?” My headline was comical and failed every test for writing a good headline. but nothing could stop its rise to the top. Don’t believe me?

My headline was so compelling it earned the top-ranked search result on Google. Just search for “An Open Letter to Writers Who,” and you’ll see what I mean.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I stumble upon a really good article and have no memory that I even wrote it.

My half-satiric take on self-improvement articles made me smile because I found more wisdom in the quotes by Mr. T than 90% of the writing in the featured article section.

I always ask, “why read fake news when you can make your own?”

I answer the question with some Photoshop fun and needle some of the more popular social media balloons.

If you don’t have time to read a Malcolm Gladwell book, please let me pass on some of the high points, along with some fun historical facts.

I’ve been using the term snake oil salesmen for years to talk about the people who making money selling shovels to desperate prospectors, knowing full well that the vast majority of the gold has already been sucked out of the earth. Little did I know that snake oil used to be a highly prized and effective treatment!

Why did I link to seven articles when the headline only mentioned four? It’s the cardinal rule of all good writing: always under-promise and over-deliver.

Enjoy the July 4th weekend.

FOOTNOTES:

Here’s a screenshot to prove it happened, just in case they realize their error and remove the story. Which they have now rectified.

Author screenshot

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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