Welcome to the Jungle

When I was a kid, I used to watch Doogie Howser.  I wouldn’t say that I ever particularly enjoyed the show, but being roughly the same age as Doogie, I had formed something of a resentful attachment to the character.  I won’t plumb the full depths of that idea just yet, but suffice to say that among other things, I was mildly fascinated with one of the main conceits of the show, which always ended with him recording some “dear diary” thought of the day on his computer.

Several years later, fueled by Doogie daytime reruns in my college dorm-room (nestled in-between reruns of Saved By the Bell and Matlock, which merit their own analyses, but those are stories for another time) and a surplus of free time (and cheap booze), I decided to have a go with my own electronic journal (journal being the self-important and slightly (but not much) manlier term for a diary).  This was long before every asshole with a laptop and a spare thought took to the internet to share with the world the details of their banal existence, so you could say that I was, in fact, the prototypical blogger (I probably wouldn’t, but I still use that as justification for what I do now).  The primary flaw with my ultimately short-lived experiment, at least as I saw it at the time, was the high standard that I had set for myself (and which by today’s standards seems relatively absurd).  Doogie had always managed to end the show with a pithy observation that neatly summarized whatever life lesson he had learned that week (which I suppose would have actually made him the prototypical twitter-er, or tweeter, or whatever the fuck they call themselves).  Not only did I find that I was quite short on pith, but what I did manage to produce consisted of the mostly incoherent wistful ramblings of an idiotic youth or alcohol-fueled rants about my (at the time) ex-girlfriend being a bitch (which, for the record, I have every confidence that she remains).

Even as an adolescent, I had already grown to resent Doogie because of his relentless moralizing at the end of every episode.  I was already feeling inadequate next to the idea of a fictional fourteen-year-old doctor, but then he had to invariably fling his moral superiority at me on top of everything else.  To be fair, I had probably been presented with enough opportunities to match him in personal enlightenment at that point, but without the benefit of adult screenwriters to extract some moral for me, and being a dumbass kid of average intelligence (sic), my life lessons chiefly consisted of sorting out how much fucking about I could get away with.  I concluded that Doogie Howser was a smug asshole and moved on.

Much later in life, when I actually tried to look for some greater significance to my personal experiences, after two months of dutifully chronicling my life, I found myself staring into a magnificent abyss.  It seemed terribly unfair that either my life was devoid of substance or I lacked the keen observation to recognize it.  Again, to be fair, Doogie only wrote something down once per episode, which could span days or weeks in TV time, which meant that either he specifically waited for dramatic events to unfold before his clever synopsis, or else he had a lot of trivial filler in his journal, as well.  In either event, I concluded that Doogie Howser was a smug asshole and moved on.

And several years later, fueled by a surplus of free time and every asshole with a laptop and a spare thought taking to the internet to share with the world the details of their banal existence, I find myself come full circle (as with most things in life, it seems).  My designs are less grand this time, and while I don’t consider that I’ve discovered any greater truths in the intervening years (or at least haven’t gotten any better at recognizing them), I have honed my ability to incoherently ramble to a very fine edge.  And while I take my own turn at bludgeoning the world with the inconsequential details of my banal existence, perhaps in so doing, I’ll eventually (and likely accidentally) stumble upon that fleeting glimpse of substance I’ve been groping at for the better part of my life…or perhaps I’ll eventually run into Doogie Howser (with apologies in advance to Neil Patrick Harris) and get to punch him in the fucking head.

Until then, however, let’s enjoy the ride.

  1. TK
    June 20th, 2011 at 21:47 | #1

    Hey RP,
    It’s time to get back on that soapbox!

  2. JHolley
    July 27th, 2011 at 11:20 | #2

    I hear ya! Doogie was a smug bastard, with whom I still cannot compete in the journal category. Here’s to you (and the rest of us) finding the life-affirming substance you seek and enjoying the ride there!

  3. Ashgupta
    July 2nd, 2012 at 16:37 | #3

    this is how you need to think of it …..

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