You, online service provider, said your product was free. I downloaded it; waited twenty minutes to install, clicked through for another ten minutes to get past the razzmatazz you call introduction. When I got to the main course, you asked me to upgrade for $49.95. I am not angry… not yet.
I decide to uninstall and search for a truly “free” freebie, but you have refused to go. You have been uninstalling for the past sixty minutes.
However, it is when you, my partner-in-crimefreebies, suggest that I should have read the fine print beneath the shiny free banner that my talons come out, long and wicked like Jezebel’s too. Yes you, I am talking about you, my fellow blogger and friend.
The Main Body
You started blogging because you felt you could write. You started blogging after that status update on your Facebook Timeline attracted 67 likes and 134 comments. Never mind that half the comments were your replies. You did not start blogging because you wanted to make money. You already had a real job. Even after your cousin evaded your question, “Have you read my blog yet?” by telling tales of how people were making money blogging, your heartbeat remained the same. You had looked at him with pity; the jester had never held a job for more than two weeks.
But now you wonder. After a tentative start on WordPress, you danced when your first post gained you five followers and a few likes. You twirled with hands on your hips, and then wriggled down. When you almost reached the floor, you remembered that you have back pain and slowly began your ascent. Your cheeks redden at the memory.
At the recommendation of WordPress, you check out some great posts from your new followers. Like strawberries and ice churning in a blender, one thought revolves in your mind. Can you really make money blogging? Of course, ever since your cousin sowed the seeds, they have been growing quietly like weeds in the periphery of your mind. Five followers have invited you to make money blogging.
Three of the five bloggers are attractive guys in their early to late twenties. They have escaped the corporate slave master’s whip and the income they’ve made off their blogs allows them to live the life they’ve always dreamed. Tanned and bare-chested with surfing shorts and six-packs to kill for, they grin at you, and you wonder how long before you can hand in your resignation. You wonder about the six-pack too—did they get it from blogging? You shake your head to clear the silly thought. Two of them live in Thailand and the third on some other island. You’ve always known that you are living in the wrong country, and true happiness resides somewhere exotic like Bali.
One of your followers is a mum. She quit her job and leads a stress-free life. Her husband works fewer hours, and together they have more time for their daughter who has a debilitating disease. Their family portrait tugs at something inside you and sentimental music plays in your head. You zero in on the mum’s face to fool your tears. Rubbing your chin, you whip out a mirror and trace the lines on your face.
Your last follower is a bald guy with tattoos. You do not bother to read his profile. You do not want to make money blogging so you can become like him.
You note the similarities of the blogs, and brushing a fly away from your face, you draw conclusions:
Money-seekers are from Mars, altruists are from Venus.
Observing life has deepened your cynicism. When your daughter asked your son for a sweet, he quickly plopped it in his mouth and said it had his germs. When you asked to share his germs, he swallowed and you watched his Adam’s apple bulge. The human instinct is to hoard and not share.
What do Donald Trump and Warren Buffet have in common?
If Donald Trump’s apprentices had to endure the humiliation of elimination, making money blogging cannot be as carefree as white clouds floating in azure skies or lounging on the beach in the prime of your life. When Warren Buffet talks about getting rich, he uses “dirty” words like invest, which connotes delayed gratification. At this point, you reach for a bowl of ice cream and stop sucking in your stomach. Acquiring a six-pack takes discipline, patience, and determination.
Becoming rich begins with watching a video or signing up for a newsletter.
One blogger declares that he wants to help those who are “serious” enough to sign up for his updates. You have never been more serious in your life. As your cursor hovers over the link, the title of a James Hadley Chase novel floats into your mind: There’s Always a Price Tag. Bye-bye Bali!
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
You’ve heard it before and you laugh at the allure that these four letters, E-A-S-Y, hold. The same ideas that sucked people in years ago, now repackaged, suck people in again like a merry-go-round that never stops.
Thank you for connecting all the dots and for flying with WordPress. If after this post, you decide to unfollow me, I will understand. I have also kissed Bali goodbye.
© Timi Yeseibo 2013
Image design: © Timi Yeseibo 2013
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