Thursday, August 19, 2010

School House Rock: The First Taste

It's 9:24pm on a Wednesday night. I've been telling various people that I'm starting a blog before I leave for my semester "away" from my college on the North Shore. I've been saying this for about 2 weeks but, like so many nervous writers, I've been putting it off ever since the idea first came into my head.

I know I said I wanted to start writing a blog, because I leave for Washington, DC in a week. I said I wanted a place to put my thoughts and experiences, to remember what I'll be learning, and to tell the story of my relationship with the District of Columbia. But maybe even more than starting a blog to chronicle my adventures in the nation's capital, I wanted that snappy, suave, I'm-clever-with-a-twist-of-satire title. It's one thing to sit down and compose your thoughts, and send them out to the big, wide world of web surfers to read, but it's a whole other thing to sum up your coolness factor in a blog title. Should I go with blogspot or wordpress? Is there a difference? Do I sound corny if I put my name in it? Will I be recognizable if I don't put my name in it? Does this joke make any sense to anyone but me? How do other people manage to write cool and quirky blog titles to go with their cool and quirky blog posts? Does anyone really care what my blog is called, anyway?

Such were the questions I asked myself as I sat in front of my computer for the better part of the hour, thinking of all sorts of names. Turns out, other people who write blogs about Washington, DC also want to use pithy political lingo. In turn, blogspot rejected my attempts as "Inside the Beltway" "I'mJustABill" and "BrightLightsBigCity" - three strikes and I was ready to be out.

But as I sat there contemplating the fact that I haven't even left my home town yet and I've already been beaten to the satiric punch by other bloggers, I started humming that Schoolhouse Rock song, "I'm Just a Bill". I conjured up those Saturday mornings when I was little and sat with my eyeballs glued to the TV. "Conjunction junction, what's your function?" would start playing in the background and the cute animated people with long noses and round feet like the Peanuts characters would sing educational things to my waiting ears.

Filled with nostalgia for those bygone days, I ran downstairs to inform my parents that OF COURSE I should invoke the Dave Frishberg (music and lyrics) and Jack Sheldon (performance) song in my blog title. My triumphant face was met with confusion. "Schoolhouse what?" "I'm Just a Bill? Nope, don't remember that song." Turns out, none of my family remembers anything about Schoolhouse Rock, or those Saturday mornings, or even the three bowls of Lucky Charms I remember myself eating gleefully as I was taught that a "Noun is a Person, Place or Thing."

So maybe I have imagined myself as a young child soaking in the political and legal processes of Washington, or I actually did fall in love with politics because of the "I'm Just a Bill" song. In any case, I'm now sitting here, pithy title and first blog entry to boot, humming along to these words (find them here):

I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city...

I'm glad to have you all along for the ride.


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