I haven’t purchased the upgraded version of WordPress, yet. What does that mean? Well, mostly, it means ads.

“There’s like fifteen ads on your new blogs, Sam,” a friend of mine told me. “And they’re all about cheating on your wife.”

“That’s your algorithm, friend, not mine.”

Isn’t Google amazing? I put information into my phone. My phone calculates algorithms and injects fear and desire into my bloodstream. Through pixels.

“5 Warning signs of Cancer! 10 Signs you’re going to have a heart attack! And so on!”

Thanks, Zuckerberg.

Back to my friend who told me about the ads. He’d never cheat on his wife. He’s a good guy. So I think it’s funny that my blog was sending him those sorts of unintended messages.

Last week, another friend read my blog. His adds were about heart attacks. And included an image of a very unhealthy looking leg. See:

Oi vey. That man’s socks are too tight. Poor guy. There’s nothing healthy about that improv community. And by improv community, I mean leg. He should get his cholesterol checked out. Mine is terrible.

Anyway, it might be time to upgrade to the paid version of WordPress. I’ll send around the virtual collection plate. Checks for $40,000,000 can be made out to Samuel Jaye Tanner. Donate, if only to disentangle my writing from the capitalist feast of fear and desire.

“Be afraid of blank. So buy blank!” That’s advertising in a nutshell. Politics too. I should’ve been Don Draper. Or, God forbid, Dick Cheney. Instead, I’m a lowly academic. A writer writing on the free version of WordPress. We all make choices.

Incidentally, I wonder what choice your algorithm has made in the fourteen ads that are probably littering your screen as you read this? I don’t see the ads on my end. Only my words. Clean and fit. Not afraid of all that much. Not desiring too much either. Just serving as vessels for thoughts and emotions. Energies too.

Writing is strange.


“I can’t believe it’s already July,” Katie told me the other day.

Me neither.

This summer has raced by. I expected to get a little reprieve from work. Teachers have the summer off. Professors too. This summer has been no vacation. I’m running from place to place. Working.

Happy Valley Improv continues to grow. We had four shows last week. Another one tonight. And classes and workshops. I’m very proud of what we’re building. But it’s more and more like a second job.

I’m behind on my writing. I’d hoped to spit out some articles this summer. Work on creative projects. But it’s hard to find time. Solomon is five and Samson turns four next months. And they are loud children. Exhausting children.

We all make our beds. And I want to be careful not to complain. To kvetch. I’m living a fortunate life. Some might say blessed. Working on things I want to be working on. Surrounded by a family that I love very much. And that loves me. Friends too. Conjuring healthy communities and building healthy things. Seeking life instead of fear and desire.

Still, adulthood is something else. Keeps you busy.


And here I’ll admit that I broke down and bought a Nintendo Switch a few weeks ago. To spite adulthood.

Could we afford it? Not really. But we rarely treat ourselves to much of anything. And it was as much for Solomon and Samson as it was for Katie and me.

Solomon is mastering Mario Kart.

“I won the race in first place, Dad!” he shouts enthusiastically.

“I won the race in twelfth place, Dad!” Samson yells.

Samson’s not very good. But they both call finishing the race winning the race. Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

Katie and I play Super Mario Odyssey before going to bed. Searching for half-moons. And I’m three shrines into the new Zelda game. If I were thirteen I’d have beaten both games twice by now. But I’m not. Still, the games are a welcome reprieve from the logics of adulthood.

One of my favorite childhood memories is my father bringing home a Nintendo and playing Super Mario Brothers with me. So I’m sure I was honoring that memory in bringing home a Switch for my boys. We work with the traditions we have, I guess.

Incidentally, the Super Mario Brothers Super Show from 1988 was recently released on Netflix. My friend Nate told me about it. You need to watch it. Now. Mario has a serious weight problem. And he raps. It’s horrifying.

More horrifying than that image of the man’s leg I pasted above? Or the fourteen ads your algorithm provided you while you read this blog? I’ll let you decide.

All of this is to say that it is likely time for me to upgrade to the paid version of WordPress. For your reading experience, kind reader. I’m but a humble servant. I’ll work on it.

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