Broken eggs and the end of my blog



Today’s the first time I’ve put anything into this space since June 11, which represents a span of dormancy that never would have happened in the first six years I wrote this blog. At one point I was averaging ten posts a week, and sometimes five or six posts would erupt from my mind in the very same day. I had things I wanted to say, and was glad to finally have an outlet for them on the Internet.

In my experience, many blogs take a similar arc to mine. The person who starts them opens up with a burst of energy and creativity, only to have their interests dulled over time. Life changes, and priorities get reshuffled to the point that the blog isn’t so important anymore. I had managed to avoid that fate as of June 11, 2017. I even wondered how many more years I would keep my individual soap box going. It turns out–as I’m shutting this down the moment I finish writing this–that the number is smaller than I ever would have guessed.

Abraham Lincoln has been one of my most significant muses when it comes to stories for my blog. I’ve always admired how he came from nowhere, and left a mark on the world that those with superior advantages and opportunities never will. The greatness of this man is beyond our ability to fully grasp it, but I find it encouraging that some have continued to try.

I picked up a couple of books the other day at the annual Newberry Library book fair in Chicago. In one of those books, a collection of essays about Lincoln by historian James McPherson, I learned a small nugget about Lincoln that I didn’t know. When it came to waging the Civil War, McPherson said, Lincoln often used the analogy that broken eggs cannot be mended. As I read that line, it seemed like an appropriate metaphor to bring down the curtain on my little corner of the online world.

How many posts did I throw out into the world? Over 1,500, and I stopped counting a long time ago.

How many words were contained in those posts? My initial goal was to put a million words out into cyberspace, and I’ll just imagine that between the actual posts themselves, the keywords I attached to the posts, the responses I typed out to those who left a comment about something I had written, and the drafts that were started but never saw the light of day, I made the million word plateau somewhere along the way.

How much sleep did I lose out on? Quite a lot, I would suppose. It’s probably better if I never find out for certain.

In typing out this valedictory post on a perfect summer afternoon here in my beloved Chicago, my desire to write a blog now feels like broken eggs. Rather than letting BlueBattingHelmet fade away into nothingness, I’m taking one final stab at putting some words out there, for anyone who may be interested in reading them in the future.

I had a lot of fun doing this, but now it’s time to go on to something else. As Prince sang in a song that I heard in a pet store earlier today, “Life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.” The teenager that I was when I first heard this song would agree, and so do I.

And with that,


It’s time for me to try


Today I got some shocking news about my older daughter’s first caregiver. I hadn’t seen her in more than a decade, but the news of her sudden passing over the weekend brought memories flooding back to me. Her name was Amy, and I am grateful to her for taking care of my daughter once upon a time.

I’m just a few days away from a birthday myself, and for the first time I’m thinking about the possibility that it could be the last one I’ll ever have. I suppose that’s  also been the case for every birthday I’ve had, but this is the first time that I’ve ever contemplated that possibility. I doubt that Amy knew her last birthday wouldn’t have any more to follow, but that’s how it turned out. I wonder how we would react if we had that knowledge in advance. It would be much better to act as if a birthday could be the last one, than to know this for certain.

I’ve written several posts ruminating on the deaths of people I don’t know: Clarence Clemons, MCA, Darryl Kile, and probably many others. Last fall I also reflected on the murder of one of my former students. And today I think about the passing of a person that I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I’m reminded that my own time will come some day. Everyone’s will, whether we choose to think about it or not.

The age that I’ll get to, hopefully, in a few days will be the same age that Freddie Mercury was when he died. And the same age that Natasha Richardson was when she died from a skiing injury. And many other people, known and unknown, who made it to 45, but not to 46. With this in mind, I’m going to suspend writing any new material for this blog. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday, and maybe I won’t.

So why am I walking away from something I enjoy so much? The short answer is I had a flash of inspiration today, and I want to follow that to see where it leads. Otherwise, I’ll never know for certain. Following a voice is one way to put it, but I can verify that there will be no ball fields built in the corn (and I couldn’t resist the Field of Dreams reference, either).

In a little less than two years, I’ve created–and essentially donated–hundreds of images and a few hundred thousand words to the digital archive that we call the Internet. And I’ve loved doing it, too. Now I’m going to see if I can parlay that into something else. And in case it matters, I’ve always wanted to use the word parlay in this space, and now I’ve accomplished that.

The Rolling Stones once told us that “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” So now’s the time to try. All the best to anyone who reads this.

Bye now!

I’m of two minds as I begin to write this post. On the one hand, I’m disappointed that I’m devoting even a moment of my time (and possibly yours) to the woman pictured above. She’s as narcissistic as they come, and I’ll put her name in the tags for search engine purposes, but I’ll not speak her name here. I think of her as Lady Voldemort. I wrote an earlier post with this person in mind, but refused to use her name there, too. You know who it is.

On the other hand, I’m thrilled to be writing this. The word schadenfreude fits so well in this situation. She’s freaked out because the years on the gravy train seem to have come to an end. No longer is anyone willing to pay her to simply be whatever she is, with the expectation that a considerable number of Americans lead lives that are so devoid of any value that gazing into her world for a few minutes is a worthwhile endeavor.

The three or four minutes that I spent watching one episode of this show a number of years ago was enough to convince me that this person had no redeeming qualities. It was basically a “I’m doing this for my children so they can have a better life, blah, blah, blah.” But self-aggrandizement was the only motivation that I saw. All of us who are parents want the best for our kids. Having to say those words out loud–to television cameras that you constructed your life around–is the first sign that the words aren’t sincere.

And so now this woman needs to do something to make money for her children. She has a lot of them, after all. And now that the hired nanny and the bodyguard (explain why she needed that, if you dare) and all of the trappings of celebrity are going away, it won’t be as easy as she’s been used to having it. I’m sure there will be a book with this woman’s name on it in the not-so-distant future, although it will be of the “as told to” variety. Some publisher will roll the dice this way. But beyond that, I’m not sure what the prospects for her are. Not that I’ll lose any sleep over it, of course.

And to any TV honchos who might be reading this, please don’t give her another show. I know it will be tempting, since at least a few people will probably tune in, and the announcement that there will be more of her and her brood on the airwaves will gain a lot of publicity for a day or so. That will be hard to pass up.

But she’s already received so much more than she deserves, so it’s best to just let them all fade away. Her ex-husband has already faded out, and he’s probably thrilled about that. Her children have been scarred enough by having cameras in their lives so much from the beginning. But she’s the real time bomb. Run toward it at your own peril.