the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

A One Day Break From Arrogance

I miss Brenda, my friendly therapist in Los Angeles, the one with the nice legs. During our last meeting, I told her I was going to New York for a few month. I was embarrassed to tell her this, fearing that she would consider it a cop-out, that I was running away from my problems rather than solving it. Instead, she surprised me and said it showed great progress.

“You’re taking action. It doesn’t matter what action. It could be an action that backfires. But it is better than doing nothing.”

My last two posts have been all about action. The purpose? I have no idea! The concept of publicly announcing my blog as the greatest blog ever created was so outlandish to me — almost sinful — that I became tremendously horny after publishing it. I’ve always hated those obnoxious blatantly-promotional blog badges, so placing one my blog was the equivalent of bungie jumping off of of Mount Rushmore, and I felt the adrenaline rush in the most obvious of places.

That said, I am a little worried that I am boring you. I seem to be writing a lot about blogging rather than real life. But let me assure you, if you read between the lines, this has anything to do with blogging. It is just easier to take action in the virtual world before attempting the same in the real world.

So, I took some action. I said my blog was the best blog ever created. I didn’t die from my hubris. The world is not all black and white, where every decision is monumental and forever. Recently, I even mentioned the word “divorce” with Sophia. But I said it in a clever, loving way. I said, “What is the worst thing that can happen? If we wanted to get married again, we could! Didn’t Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton get married and divorced eleven times?!” By presenting it in this manner, it defused some of the tension. We haven’t done anything, and it isn’t on the agenda right now, but it felt good to take some “action.”

OK, enough with real life. Back to blogging. I never liked guest posts. Two months ago, I had some guest posters write on my blog, randomly picked. They were terrific and I survived giving up some control. I never wanted to write for another blog. I started writing for another blog, for money — one that is corporate sponsored. Two days ago, I displayed a badge for a blogging contest, even later adding the actual link, after a blogger called me out for being a wimp.

But my biggest online nemesis remains: yes, advertising. That is my dragon. For years. I’ve written so much about this issue that other bloggers have started to make fun of me, like Rattling the Kettle.

I told Jennifer from Thursday Drive my plan.

“What’s the big deal? I can try advertising for one month and if I don’t like it, I can dump it.”

“Sounds good.” she said.

“It’s no big deal. I used to be against it for symbolic reasons. Bloggers would say they “deserve” to get paid for entertaining their readers. That statement made me sick. We’re all entertaining each other, like a barter system. If anything, I should be paying YOU for coming here and enhancing my blog posts with your comments. But enough. I’m done with this hang-up. It is time to take some action!”

At that point, Jennifer fell asleep on the other end, tried of me always IM-ing her and talking endlessly about myself. But it didn’t matter. I was ready for Healthy Arrogance, Day 3: Advertising and Money!

But then my brain started playing games. I felt a pain in my side and I had to lie down. I felt dizzy. My arrogance was slipping away. I know it is ridiculous. I know this all my seem very silly to most decent citizens. Whatever I decide, I don’t want the fear — and psychological angst — to make the decision for me. I want to decide myself — and take action one way or another, like I want to do with other things in my life. New York or Los Angeles? Married or not? Crest or Colgate? Advertising or not? It’s time to make a stand and overcome this. And not be so wishy-washy about the reasons.

Uh, I’m not ready yet for this decision. I need one more day.


  1. Jennifer H

    Geez. Fall asleep just one time…

    Maybe you should spend some time in Texas. Where they take the bull by the horns. Or something. I hear it’s good for a man’s swagger.

    (Now I just mucked up your choices, didn’t I?…NewYork? LA? TEXAS? Sorry.)

  2. natalie

    this is why we love you neil. you are real. i know you said that you can schmooze people when necessary, but i still think you sell yourself short. and jennifer is a great one to talk to. she gets it.

    texas…here i come!

  3. balou

    I have nothing to say. Just here to enhance. 😉

  4. Astrogirl

    None of this is easy. You’re doing some really tough stuff, and I’m so proud of you (I know that probably comes off as condescending, but I don’t mean it that way).

    Just remember -it’s a lifelong process. Some days you’ll move forward, some days back. Don’t punish yourself for the natural flow of the process. Let it be what it’s going to be. We’re all rooting for you.

  5. Danny

    I think you should do a one-month experiment and try to get as much advertising on your blog as you possibly can. Then you can report on how it feels and if you’re actually making a dime. Think of it as a helpful guide to your fellow bloggers, not any kind of “selling out” which it isn’t. If you hate it, you can take it off. Trust me, you won’t lose any readers because of it (but we’ll feel free to make fun of you if really weird ads start popping up!).

  6. better safe than sorry

    you’re talking about getting married again before you’re even divorced? that sounds kind of optimistic to me, where’s the real neil, the cynical one?
    btw, i prefer crest.

  7. sarah g

    regardless of what options are there, what is it that YOU WANT?
    no ifs, ands or buts. no ‘if its meant to be’ etc. that is how it’ll go.
    do you WANT crest or colgate? not why. just which do you want?

    do you WANT to put up advertising? not why not how. just do you want to?

    do you want to stay in new york? not why. just do you want to?

    ..and onward. …

    I pray that you enjoy the journey, wherever its destination may be for you.

  8. Finn

    Colgate. Definitely.

  9. patois

    Crest. Fresh mint gel. If you take on Colgate, I’ll have to go elsewhere.

  10. Twenty Four At Heart

    Crest. I’m an ex- P&Ger. Soooo, I can relate because I also find myself paralyzed by fear and indecision over major decisions. I stay stuck in nothingness as a result. It sucks to be us sometimes, doesn’t it? I completely get the need for action … any action. Hmmm… come to think of it, I could use a little action. 🙂

  11. TMC

    Ahem. “a blogger”? Fine, fine.

    If memory serves, you called yourself a wimp. Mine was meant to be an encouraging nudge. It’s not like you nominated yourself so you needn’t feel so weird about it. : )

    I am attempting the amicable let’s-stay-friends variety of divorce if you’d like to discuss it sometime. It’s weird, but not.

  12. People in the Sun

    Don’t bungee jump off Mt. Rushmore! You’ll hit Washington’s nose!

    And as for advertising, I say you should try it. Just don’t do those pay-per-posts.

    (oh, and don’t worry about being a self-obsessed blogger. I don’t think you’re alone there).

  13. kenju

    You sound just like me! And believe me, the older you get the harder decisions become!

  14. Crys

    i like when you post stories. they’re always good. little stories? too much to ask?

    come on. we’re worth it. well, i know i am

    (this better not double post. the wi fi in this shop is wonky. if it does, delete one so that people don’t think i’m being too forceful with you. which i totally am.)

  15. Memarie Lane

    I just added ads a couple weeks ago. I’ve never felt “entitled” to earn money with my blog, but figured if I can, why the heck not?

  16. Sammanthia

    Hmmm… I wish I knew what to tell you, that I was able to give you advice, but I can’t because I’m a bit wishy-washy myself. If I can make a decision about which brand of coffee to drink, and stick with it, I’m doing good.

  17. wendy

    Lot’s of decisions. take it one step at a time. But I agree with Brenda..action is better than none.

    If you get paid, I think THAT will turn you on. That’s good. You can think of yourself as paid for services…as it were. That will put some swagger in you step…

  18. Neil

    Wendy — You mean like a male hooker? I can see that.

  19. churlita

    Assertive men are sexy to women. Make the decision to advertise – don’t look at it as pandering for money, look at it as a way to get laid.

  20. Fancy

    Go for it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  21. Ginger

    Go for it!

  22. Akaky

    There are times when the always lovely Sophia just wants to throttle you, aren’t there?

  23. Neil

    Akaky – yes.

  24. G. Savant

    Shake that moneymaker, Neil, and sell-out while you’ve still got something to sell. You’re not getting any younger, after all. Stop giving away the milk for free, make ’em buy the cow.

    You, Neil. You’re the cow.

  25. deidre

    I am very impressed with your call to action!

    Well done!

    I’ve been debating on whether I want ads on my website too…Mostly, I just want people to read it! But if i could break even with paying for the domain name and getting money from ads –I’d feel good about it.

  26. Dana

    I can always read you through google reader, so I’ll never have to see your ads. 🙂

  27. chris

    You’re not boring me.

    I admire your approach to decisions.

    You don’t come across as someone who has a sense of entitlement re: advertising on your blog. I think you should throw the “hang-ups” out the window and give it a try. Like G. Savant says, “you’ve still got something to sell.”

  28. Chag

    Come to the dark side, Neil.

  29. Mrs. G.

    Not having ads these days makes you an Outsider and a Maverick…wink wink.

  30. Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas

    Neil – you’re not arrogant. That’s probably the last adjective I’d use to describe you. Thoughtful and pensive to a fault – now we’re getting a little closer. That said, it’s empowering to take action. Throw caution to the wind a bit and embrace the consequences, whatever they may be. But advertising? Really? You’re obsessing this much over ads? If it’s that much of a moral dilemma, then don’t do it. I don’t have them on my personal blog, but the blogs I get paid for does have them. It’s not that ads are bad. It’s just a matter of personal taste. Some of us like writing for magazines and others are novelists. It takes all kinds.

  31. Charlene in Arkansas

    LOL my shrink that i have seen since 04 made a comment to me yesterday how much i had improved since he changed my meds 2 months ago~~i didn’t tell him the improvement that i have made since june is because of blogging, not him or his meds~~i think since the drs have said my dad is going to die between 2 and 10 days, i still need my meds RIGHT now, but in a couple of months, i’m going to “step down” again!

  32. anna

    You’re crazy not to try to get advertising! You’re only hurting yourself. The high road is for suckers. And my blog is the greatest in the history of forever, so I’m not sure where you got your information, but whatev.

  33. Neil

    “The High Road is for Suckers” — I love that quote.

    I like your confidence, Anna.

  34. anymommy

    Your over analyzing angst is so endearing Neil. I mean that. You have one of the strongest, most honest voices out there, which is why we visit, which is why you should post some ads and see what happens. Few things in life are this easy to try and discard. Ads disappear with the click of a delete button. Can you think of any other decision you’ve agonized over that is that easy to reverse?

  35. leah

    tis’ the curse of a pisces, swimming in opposites directions at the same time. you may need to find a balanced libra to make the choice for you 🙂

  36. headbang8

    I really want to champion my content. So please send twelve one-hundredths of a cent every time someone reads this comment, OK?

    I put Google AdSense on the bottom of my blog, just for a lark. The blog’s subject matter is so esoteric and unsellable, that only one ad appears with any regularity. That of Oliver Steinhoff, Germany’s leading Elvis impersonator.

    I clicked on the link, once. Oliver has earned much acclaim as an Elvis. But I should really refund the twelve-one-hundredths of a cent that he had to pay me, since I wasn’t serious about booking him for a birthday party, hen’s night, or corporate function. He’s available.

    I also get a few pray-the-gay-away ads. Which only goes to prove that AdSense may read your blog, but it doesn’t always understand it.

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