The Second-Rate Scientist

I drafted two versions of this post.  The first is to the point, and is likely the preference of the “masses”:


I’ve decided to experiment with the format here, and “fictionalize” the character of the Second-Rate Scientist.  It should be obvious what that means as I begin to post, although it might prove to be a bad experiment indeed.

The Alternative is longer, and, in all likelihood, wholly unnecessary:


After a month or so of artistic reflection and deep, life-goal contemplation (read “stupid busy schedule with old-man arthritic flare-ups and laughably early bedtimes to match), I hope to get back into “blogging,” but with a twist, of sorts.

First, let me say that I enjoy using this outlet for, as succinctly as possible, the getting out and down of the human language words, and such and so forth (so to speak), as it were.  I enjoy getting to know other writers, to slowly gain new and interactive readers, and to experiment with fancy formattings and styles, such as


Or even the ubiquitous-but-always-thought-provoking

Blue font italics with BOLD CAPS for special emphasis. 

WordPress said I wouldn’t be disappointed with blogging in general, and with their platform not-in-general, and disappointed I am not! (Ok, they never said it like that, but I definitely felt a vibe that I was making a good choice, and that they KNEW I was making a good choice, when I shelled out real money for an entry-level account.)

Secondly, I enjoy writing about life, and as my (current, as I’m typing this) byline suggests, I consider it a pretty first-class life.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family (both my own wife and kids, and my extended family), a good job, and an existence of relatively luxurious freedom. It’s a good life, and I wouldn’t mind continuing to share it with any interested parties (or even casual get-togethers), even if for (so-called) posterity.

However (and isn’t there ALWAYS a however or three?), there are three aspects of writing in this format that keep challenging me, and recently with greater force and regularity (to quote a fiber commercial I saw recently).  In no particular order:

However #1 – Often times, when I actually stop to consider life, particularly in an effort to write down observations from it, I often view my own life as a parody of itself, as if I’m just a casual, uninvolved observer of what’s happening around, and sometimes to and through, me and those around me. And when I do that, I’m tempted to record not only the event but how the event is playing out in my head.  This often leads to a good-natured, and hopefully obvious, embellishments.

Maybe it’s my odd sense of humor (“Wouldn’t it be funny if, instead of my son having a hard time going to sleep, he was actually a little Al Capone trying to break himself and some tiny human buddies out of a maximum security prison?  The chances are strong!”), maybe it’s an indication that advanced medical scans of my head and/or torso are in order, or maybe it’s a good old Bible Belt suspicion that my life isn’t quite interesting enough to document verbatim (“The grapes I bought were beautiful grapes.  Well, not all of them,  Not ALL of the grapes were beautiful.  Some were not beautiful.”)  Whatever it is, I often enjoy the embellishments more.

However #2 – I’ve never felt capable of writing with 100% honesty about what I observe. Call it an aversion to burned bridges.  Or even moderately damaged bridges, like ones which teenagers dare each other to walk across when their testosterone far outweighs whatever chemicals are responsible for rational thought.

For instance, when I have an unflattering impression of something someone did or thinks or said or even is, particularly someone who is not a total stranger to me, I am probably more cautious than most when it comes to expressing or recording it.  Some bloggers have made a name for themselves in being the person who calls everything like they see it, consequences and relationships be damned! And, I like many of those blogs very much.

But, that’s not me.   We could dive headlong into the psychology of that fact, which are deep and plentiful waters to be sure, but the conclusion is still the same: There are things I would probably say more succinctly, and with greater conviction, if I approached this blog a bit differently.

As a side note, and I’ve mentioned this previously, the Blog title itself represents a struggle related to these first two “Howevers.”  I work in the field science, but somewhat by accident and heretofore without the ambition to match my peers.  I chose the name to reflect this fact, but shortly thereafter my wife wisely warned that I shouldn’t make it TOO overt, as it may not ingratiate me to my employers.  So, the Second-Rate nature of the Scientist, while perhaps an exaggeration, is also something I should not exaggerate too much, for fear of exaggerating myself out of the good graces of the fine people who depend on me daily, and who I depend on more.  Even this paragraph gives me great pause (and not because of those sentences which border uncomfortably on “run-on”)!

I don’t know, this seems petty. Let’s move on. 

However #3 – I’ve wanted for some time to practice and experiment with fiction, and this seems like a good avenue, and time, in which to do that.

So, with these things in mind, I plan to embrace the parody, so to speak, and begin recording a fictionalized* account of the Second-Rate Scientist’s life.  Maybe from a third-person perspective, maybe in a first-person, journal-style narrative.  Maybe in a weird second-person style where someone is talking to someone else or maybe even to themselves, like, in a mirror or a puddle or a really glossy bald spot – we’ll just have to see.

And maybe the parody will fail, I’ll realize that the fictionalized Scientist is just as monotonous as the real thing, and we’ll be back to recording the nature of the grapes, some of which, as has hopefully been made clear, were not beautiful.

*Note that for the purposes of this blog, “ficionalized” can mean that anything from 0 to 100% of what is written might be true or might be an embellishment.  However, I promise that almost 100% will be checked for spelling by third-party software.

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