Time For A Checkup

Soon after I hit the Publish button last week in the very wee hours of Wednesday morning, sending yet another of my numerous music-related narratives into the ethers, I also hit something else. Namely, the sack. Not a grand number of hours later I arose, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, which to tell you the truth isn’t a pretty sight. I mean, I don’t know about you, but my tail hasn’t been looking too good for the last 30 years.

Anyway, an hour later, over breakfast, I began thinking about what I might write for the following week’s article, which is the one you are reading right now. I let my mind wander. And when nothing came of that I focused on a few specific story ideas that I’d been contemplating for a while. But the time seemed not quite right for any of those to flower. Uh-oh, the clock was ticking. If I failed to produce, who knows what ghastly consequences might result?

Dr. Mel Ifluous (in a playful mood)

Beginning to panic a bit, sensing sweat beads making their way onto the palms of my hands, I suddenly realized that a more pressing concern than story writing was attempting to stare me in the face. Somehow I’d forgotten that this blog’s two-year anniversary had arrived. Which meant, of course, that a two-year checkup was highly in order. Dashing to the phone I dialed the number of my internist, Dr. Mel Ifluous. His office manager answered. After I explained the situation to her, stressing its urgency, she squeezed me in for an appointment the following day. Dr. Ifluous is a wonderful physician, perceptive and sharp. I knew I’d be in good hands.

At 11:00 AM Thursday I was ushered into Dr. I’s examining room. A few minutes later he entered. We shook hands.

“Neil, it’s good to see you. How are you feeling?” Dr. Ifluous asked while thumbing through my medical records. “Hmmm, you were here three months ago complaining about sunburnt ear lobes, an inability to look at any and all green vegetables, and pains in your fingers from prying off the caps, using only your digits, of the 20 or so bottles of beer you drink each day. I take it that my prescriptions and suggestions didn’t solve the problems. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now.”

“Dr. Ifluous, to the contrary. I’ve followed your advice and, for the first time in decades, I’m feeling fit as a fiddle. My ear lobes, as you can see, are as pale white as the rest of my body. I now eat arugula and its kin and green beans like they’re going out of style. And I’m down to 12 bottles of beer per day, which has made all the difference in the world to my fingers. Doctor, I thank you.”

“This is good news, Neil. Why then, though, are you here?”

“Doctor, I made this appointment not for me, but for my blog. You see, I began the blog almost exactly two years ago, and I’ve written quite a few articles for it during that time. Two years is a long stretch, Doctor. Things can go wrong. Basically, I’m worried about the blog. I’m uncertain about its health. It needs a checkup.”

“I understand, Neil. I understand. What exactly are your concerns? I look at your stories now and then and I have to tell you that they seem alright to me.”

“It’s very nice of you to say that, Dr. Ifluous. But I’m not so sure. What’s bothering me more than anything are the topics I write about and the tone I take. Wouldn’t you say that my stories seem kind of light and fluffy? That too many of them are just plain loopy? And that my impressionistic ruminations about music, art and nature really aren’t making any kind of difference? Doctor, I’ve been thinking that I should move in headier directions and start writing about politics, science, religion, philosophy, not to mention the complexities of human relationships. The blog might be far superior if I did.”

Dr. Ifluous gave his chin a thoughtful rub, adjusted his eyeglasses and then laid my medical records on his desk. Looking deep into my eyes he said, “Neil, I’ve known you for a long time and, to be honest, you’ve never struck me as a PhD sort of guy. What do you know about philosophy, for instance? Tell me a thing or two about Kierkegaard and Sartre.”

“Well, Doctor, they both lived in Europe, right? I’m fairly sure about that. And Sartre, I think, smoked cigarettes by the truckload. Anything more I’d have to take a look at Wikipedia — that’s what it’s there for, you know.”

“Very deep, Neil, very deep. And please expound upon human dynamics.”

“Uh, that’s a complicated area. One thing I’m confident in saying is that life is like a checkout counter . . . you’re usually on line in one way or another.”

“Huh? I have no idea what that means. Neil, sit back and take a deep breath. Good. Now, listen to me. Go home, take two aspirin and don’t call me in the morning. Your blog is healthy. It is what it is meant to be. So, tell me . . . what’s your next story going to be about?”

“Doctor Ifluous, I wish I knew. Once I sit down to write a piece the writing process goes pretty smoothly. But before that, trying to come up with something to write about — that’s the tricky part.”

“Neil, keep on truckin’. That’s all I can say.” With those words of wisdom, Doctor Ifluous got up from his chair and left the room, with me on his heels. A weight had been lifted from my shoulders.


(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. Thanks.)

31 thoughts on “Time For A Checkup

  1. Carmel Bendon April 12, 2017 / 12:38 am

    Neil, thanks for this timely warning. A blog check-up would seem to be just what I need. On any given day in regard to my writing, I can experience symptoms ranging from severe hypo-motivation to a complete shut-down of the creative juices. It’s scary, unpredictable, and probably chronic. I hope I can get an appointment before Easter. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 12, 2017 / 9:34 am

      Hi, Carmel. Yeah, writing isn’t the easiest thing in the world, at least for some of us (including me). Anyway . . . I’ll be seeing ya’ —


    • Lucie April 18, 2017 / 12:02 am

      I think all of us experience this “roller coaster ride of sorts”….I’ve kind of learned to go with the flow the past year. It’s nice to have followers (and I realize that “followers” need some kind of routine from you to keep following), but sometimes LIFE just takes over and writing takes a temporary backseat to other things…does that make sense????

      Liked by 1 person

      • yeahanotherblogger April 18, 2017 / 1:11 pm

        Hi, Lucie. Right, blogging is part of our lives, but how big a part can vary depending on what else is going on.
        Take care. I’ll be seeing you – – –

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Still the Lucky Few April 12, 2017 / 8:45 am

    Good to know about your blog anniversary. My two year anni was last month, so I know how you feel—it begs for some sort of ceremony! Or it can be ignored, which it was. Don’t ever change! We love your musically, artistically, naturely themed blog, delivered in your quirky style! Always great reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joyce April 12, 2017 / 11:02 am


    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 12, 2017 / 11:22 am

      Joyce, as always I thank you for being a loyal reader!


  4. Janet Sunderland April 12, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Oh, my. I have no idea when my blog anniversary rolls around. I know I started in 2010 more or less, which means I have a backlog of posts of no discernable use. The end.

    Oh, I just remembered a use. It got me to writing more or less regularly when I had no project in mind. Now I have a project and rarely blog. Not sure what the message there is…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 12, 2017 / 2:32 pm

      Hi, Janet. The main thing, I guess, is that you have a project. That’s a good thing.


  5. Alyson April 12, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    I think your blog is just perfect so keep on doing what you’re doing. We need a little humour in this sometimes scary world of ours and your kind of humour is just the ticket.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. andrewcferguson April 13, 2017 / 4:23 am

    Neil, those are wise words indeed from the good doctor. Keep on truckin’!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. sniderjerry April 13, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    Neil, as long as you’re having fun – keep rocking and keep writing! Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  8. cincinnatibabyhead April 14, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    CB is rubbing his chin like Doc If “headier directions..politics, science, religion…”. Slap on the headphones, put on some of your favorite tunes and crank it to ELEVEN. That should work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 15, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      Thanks, Kathy. I haven’t thought about the Flintstones in a long time. It’s good to see and hear them again.
      Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

  9. America On Coffee April 16, 2017 / 7:01 am

    LoL! Ha ha ha! Are you sayin’ the wordpress community, developers and technicians are not reliable for diagnosis?

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger April 16, 2017 / 8:57 am

      Hi, AOC. You know, I’m open to any suggestions!
      Thanks for the visit. Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

      • America On Coffee April 16, 2017 / 9:46 am

        No suggestions here. You have a great imagination!! Wonderful scenario! Happy Easter!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Martin April 17, 2017 / 5:20 am

    Fantastic. Made me laugh out loud, and you blog is great just as it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. viewfromoverthehill May 4, 2017 / 12:46 am

    Hey Neil: Can I have the phone number of your doctor? I can use some help. Cheers, Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger May 4, 2017 / 7:13 am

      Hi Muriel. Unfortunately, he’s not accepting any new patients.


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