I sometimes worry that, by wittering on in a blog about anything and everything, I could be prone to revealing too much about myself. Not through any concerns about the papers discovering my true identity and resulting in hordes of paparazzi infesting my bushes (which is less likely than one might at first think), but mainly because this blog isn't a diary, so what's the point? There's also the highly probable fact that I might embarrass myself. There are enough folk who read this blog and know me in real life, and some of them might take advantage.
You know who you are.
So, where to draw the line?
The internets are a bastion of self-expression and relative freedom of speech so that, while one must wade through millions of pages of "alternative" world views and pseudoscience, we can at least have our own small corners (or burrows perhaps) where we can say what we like.
This does mean that there is no-one to edit my spewings. I could reveal things that I like or practice, things I perhaps assume are perfectly normal, but in actual fact no-one else does. For example, I could write an entire dissertation on the beauty of the love to be found twixt man and monkey and there's no-one available to say "Whoa, The Jules, that's a bit . . . you know . . . insane." *makes swirly finger motions on either side of head*
What? Don't look at me like that. Monkeys share 98% of our DNA don't they? Sometimes a bit more, if you're not careful.
It occurs to me that a student in psychological sciences might find a rich seam of research to be had perusing regularly updated blogs, especially when the author has become used to blogging, and therefore lets rip with whatever mental effluent might be cluttering their cerebral cortex at that particular moment.
In fact, what if someone's doing that right now, to me via this blog?
Well, that doesn't bother me. Read away, Mr/Mrs/Ms Pschyologist, Nothing to get excited about. I'm happy here, thinking about green butterflies (definitely not red or purple butterflies), and not about trains going into tunnels, or shiny shiny axes.
Mmm . . . axes.
As a blogger, how do I know how far I should go? It's fine if you have a subject specific blog, like DIY or sex, because then you know you can just write about G-clamps and, well, G-clamps also, because it's common knowledge that everyone uses them in those specific fields. But if you have a general blog, where do you define your limits?
I still don't know but, in the interests of testing the water, stretching the bungee, pulling at the seatbelt, I'm going to go with my nipple:
I took a whack on the moob the other day, when I simultaneously tried to close the boot-lid of my boringly practical parentmobile whilst preventing a two year old boy with the road sense of a bipolar hedgehog from leaping into traffic. Forgetting to get out of the way was a stark reminder that I really should have got out of the way. Being an Englishman of Northern European human descent who has just come out of the long, dark of a British winter/spring, my pasty blueness has two effects. The first is reflecting back enough sunlight to have a direct impact on the earth's albedo effect, and the second is to show up bruises rather well.
Which brings on to why I started this post. I was thinking about sympathy, particulary when people have experienced a minor injury.
A contused man-tit is hardly disabling, and apparently not a good enough excuse to stay at home from work. Bloody 'untenable reason' policy. First it's a hangover, and now this.
It definitely isn't in the same league as a lad I met once who had two broken arms, fully encased in plaster. This was an interesting injury, objectively speaking, and he waxed lyrical about the car accident in which it had occurred. Although he was fairly enthusiastic about describing the details of the crash, I'm sure the novelty must have worn off after the twentieth person asked him how he wiped his bum.
But it's small injuries that I'm thinking about. The splinter under the nail, the scratched cornea or the ant bite on the scrotum.
All of these are not enough to stop you operating on a day to day basis, but they are enough to ruin that day for you. And if you mention it more than thirty or forty times, you're seen as 'a whinger' and lose any sympathy you might have got if you were more of a man and didn't try to show everyone the ant bite.
I would imagine.
And if you show certain people the above picture on your phone, the first thing they do, rather than ask how it happened, or if it's painful, the FIRST thing they do, is poke it.
I wonder if there is a sliding scale of sympathy-level to injury-severity, where you get a sad shake of the head for a splinter, a wince for a bee-sting or nettle rash, and a good old-fashioned "Ooh . . . mate!" when you take a clock to the nuts from a kid wielding a golf-club. Or a fit of giggles from women who just do not understand.
Or maybe it's a contextual thing. If you've only got a broken ankle after falling off a cliff, people are more likely to do that half exhalation/half-whislte thing they do to show they think you were lucky, even though you're now hobbling around in pedal agony, with a foot that looks like it was transplanted from a smurf.
Or maybe it depends on the observers perspective. Nobody's going to care about your wasp-thumb interaction if they've just seen someone with an adder still attached to their lip.
From the view of the onlooker though, the best thing about someone revealing an injury is when you've previously experienced the same thing, because then you can announce "That happened to me once" and immediately lay silent claim to originality whilst adopting a world-weary look of sad experience, also stealing a bit of the sympathy that was otherwise directed at your unfortunate peer.
"Brick fell on your head? Yeah, that happened to me once. Tcha. Yeah, thanks, I'm fine now. Was a couple of years ago. Still get the odd headache. Lovely, two sugars ta."
"Hoover nozzle up the arse? Yeah, that happened . . . to a mate once. Hardly knew him"
So, if you've got a minor injury, there are certain things to take into account before you reveal it to the masses.
Are they any more serious injuries or illnesses in the room? Make sure you're not interuptng a discussion about someones liver cancer to tell them you've got a mouth ulcer, even if it's really, really big.
Are there any mates nearby who might use this as an opportunity to get you back for the time you punched them playfully on their holiday immunisation spot?
Is this the third minor injury this week that you've brought to everyones attention, because it might just possibly be sort of wearing thin?
Otherwise, whinge away!