Long-time readers are aware that I’ve tried a number of approaches to enlarging the audience of this blog. I’ve tried using trendy hash tags like #colo-rectal and #precambrian. I’ve tried using whimsical illustrations, ‘shopped photos and even cats. I’ve tried the direct appeal … shamelessly asking readers to refer their friends. (Of course, the usual recommendation is to post engaging content consistently, but hey, that’s not going to happen.)
After mulling this over, it has occurred to me that the best way to increase readership, gain attention, and generally make an impression is cancer. That’s right! Cancer. Just look at what it did for Frank Zappa and Steve Jobs, not to mention Angelina Jolie. Cancer is what makes doctors drop their usual peremptory tone and instead engage in serious, sympathetic conversations. It’s what sends thousands out to walk, run and bike endurance courses each year. And it’s what motivates the Make-A-Wish Foundation to fulfill people’s dreams.
So you can imagine how I felt when the prostate biopsy came back positive. But I don't want to paint too rosy a picture. Certainly there are downsides to being diagnosed with cancer. It does mean spending a lot of time with hospitals, doctors and nurses and copies of Newsweek from the Nixon era. It also means making difficult decisions, like how much quality of life would I sacrifice for the sake of more aggressive treatment? (Bear in mind that one of the qualities of life I’ve always valued is having lots of it.) And both the disease and the treatments have potential unpleasant side effects, such as death or difficulty peeing.
But the promotional opportunities are undeniable. Of course, I found out too late that cantankerous whiners are not really the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s target demographic. But what the heck? I’ll start my own charity, The Tech Curmudgeon Foundation for Cancerous Cranks, Misanthropes and Anti-Social Misfits. (Okay, so TCFCCMASM doesn’t really sing, but hey, MAWF?)
Maybe there could be an annual Tech Curmudgeon Ride, in which everyone has to use some unusual human-powered vehicle. Trikkes, ElliptiGOs, unicycles, etc. would be the norm. Of course, if this event ever became too popular, then the unusual would become commonplace. But at least it would get the name Tech Curmudgeon out there.
Of course, the odds are pretty good that this is completely treatable. Then I’ll just have to go back to trying to think of something clever.