I was spreading mulch between the tomato rows when Otto scared me spitless. Otto doesn’t sneak on purpose; he just sees no reason to make noise until he has something to say.
“The Internet isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be,” he said.
That was the most unpredictable opening line I’d heard since that time I was visiting a friend’s church. The minister there preaches all over the stage with a headset microphone, and when he was taking care of business between the 8:30 and 11 o’clock services he forgot to turn it off, so everybody in the building heard him mutter, “Well! My zipper’s stuck.” Nobody slept through the sermon that day.
Otto’s statement demanded some background information.
“What’s wrong with your Web world?” I asked. “Too slow a connection? Too much information? Too much temptation?”
He waved for me to hush.
“I spent $200 for this kit on how to make money on the Web,” Otto said. “It said to load up your site with all kinds of information people would want, and you could make gazillions.”
What kinds of information had been suggested?
“Weather. Sports. Tides. Food reviews.”
I could see where a tide table for Sardis Lake wouldn’t be a big draw for eyeballs, but what was the problem with weather?
“I got tired of going out and reading the thermometer next to the bird feeder,” he said. “And when it was dark, I had to go outside to know if it was raining.”
And the sports offerings?
“They’s a world full of people who don’t care a-tall about coon huntin’,” Otto said.
I couldn’t disagree with him there. The several times I’d tried it, coon huntin’ seemed like little more than trading perfectly good sleep for the privilege of exposing oneself to mosquitoes, moccasins and poison oak in pursuit of an animal that is readily available at any friendly neighborhood bird feeder.
Otto had struck out with weather, sports and inland tide charts, so that left food reviews from his original list. I’d never known him to darken the door of anything more sophisticated than a meat-and-three, but when I asked how he planned to distinguish his site in that category, he brightened visibly.
“I’m working on a site called ‘Highway Dining,'” Otto said. I wondered what background he had to blog on roadside diners. I needn’t have.
“It’ll be a series on how to find and fix the best road kill,” he said. “Folks’ll eat it up.”
Otto’s right: The Internet isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.