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Joe deSousa, Unsplash.com

Medium, stop messing with my anonymity

It’s time to take a stand against hearts, applause, and even money

Any time you let others pigeon hole you, you end up in a dirty place, because pigeon are dirty, so logically their holes are dirty, too.

When you mouse over an author, you will see a list of “Top Stories” by that author. I noticed this, and looked at my own list. To my dismay, someone or some algorithm decided that two of my top three stories weren’t even stories. They were responses to other people’s stories. In the supposed, but now questionable, immortal words of Winston Churchill,

This is an insult up with which I shall not put!

If someone were to ask me what subjects I know best, or, at least write about the most often, it would not be what is listed as my top stories. My favorite things to write about are humor, sports, writing and politics.

I think most creative people will look back have varying amount of praise and criticism for their own work. When I read someone’s comment about one of my articles, I will look at the original article and immediately clean up any typo I find.

Regardless of whether I’m writing dreck, like my good friend Gutbloom, or prefer to babble, blather, prattle, jabber or gibber (the verb for creating gibberish), the very least I can do is correct the faults I’m able to notice.

My lack of fame and fortune as a writer are testaments to all of the faults I’m unable to see.

Or, as my favorite war criminal/philospher Donald Rumsfeld used to say, these are unknown unknowns:

Having said that, I want to push back against Medium from again imposing its arbitrary, external and completely irrational standards on me and my writing.

If I am to be ignored, I shall be ignored on my own terms!

These are my favorite stories, regardless of whether they are the most popular ones. Here they are, by category.

#1 Wisdom wrapped in humor. It’s like taking any random hors d’oeuvre and wrapping it with bacon. Instant sizzle!

Who wouldn’t love to know the meaning of their own writing mixed in with Buddhism, quantum physics and an eerie political prediction that came true six months later? I know I’ve already passed the threshold of Simpsons fans, Monty Python fans, and rapidly approaching the Dennis Miller ratio, but I still love this piece.

I always felt that open letters are a wonderful way to horn in on someone else’s attention, so why not horn in on someone horning in one someone else’s attention? This story pops a lot of narcissistic balloons, including my own.

This is listed as my top story because it got three times more reads and twice as many fans as any stories I’ve ever written. But I liked it because it represented a breakthrough in my own consciousness with respect to (quoting Churchill) the crap up with which women have to put. Plus it was parable.

#2 Sports and humor. As a former professional tennis player and coach, there’s actually one thing I know about, so this article gives people some insight into a few things that only the most ardent fans would know.

#3 Politics and humor. I guess there’s a pattern here, right?

This is my favorite news story, because it brings up the criminal behavior by Michigan Republicans that caused the Flint, Michigan water poisoning crisis, critiques the media’s negligence in exercising its responsibility as the fourth estate, and satirizes social media. In addition, it features a swell flow chart that took a lot of time for me to design. And finally, it was an experimental attempt at using the interactive qualities of Medium by creating 20 Easter Eggs in one story.

#4 Collaborative Writing and humor. This was a fun exercise in trying to create a community of writers, which petered out in less than a month, but it was still a blast to interact with so many creative people. It also became my first publication.

#5 Family Stories. I can’t take too much credit here as I only reported the facts as they happened, but the situations were almost too funny to not have been created by a screenwriter.

Everyone has a story with a parent where you’re aware that you’re falling into an old habit pattern, but you just can’t escape it.

That bittersweet combination of pride in your child growing up and the recognition that you’re getting too old to keep up with the kids.

#6 Trolling and Humor.

I relished the subversiveness in creating a false competition between dog and cat people. Plus, I ambitiously and aggressively attacked alliteration in its most aberrant and abominable articulations.

#7 Fake News.

Nothing like using a little photoshop magic to create a fake newspaper headline!

Here, I explored the world of creating graphics of fake tweets. There are actually programs online that do this for you.

#8 Awesome Life Hack.

My first and last sincere attempt to share some wisdom I learned the hard way. You’ll appreciate these lessons in about twenty years, after you’ve learned the hard way, too.

It felt good to take a stand on my writing. If something gives you a chuckle, so much the better.

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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