Festivals, internet, technology

Googling God

Googling God photo by Mariah Chase.  © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2014.
Googling God photo by Mariah Chase. © Norine Dresser photo collection, 2014.


Overwhelming response to a recent post: “God Laughs While Women Plan” puzzled me. Up to that point, 9,000 was the largest number of hits I had received on previous posts, so 31,000 hits was stunning.

Did I have so many hits because I used the word “God” in the title? That’s the only rationale that makes sense. In the past, I thought that by using “Martha Stewart” in a title would bring many hits. I was wrong. I miscalculated again when I wrote about “Marijuana.” I questioned my low number of hits then discovered that I had misspelled “Marijuana,” yet it was spelled correctly in the body of the post. Even when I corrected the title spelling, I had fewer than 2,000 readers.

Using the word “God” in the title is the only explanation for the popularity of my post.

Do you remember the old Groucho Marx show, “You Bet Your Life”? Groucho had a “Secret Word” that, if contestants inadvertently uttered, brought them a $50 bonus.

I have had personal experiences of saying a secret word that struck an unexpected response from another person. When my children were teenagers and I returned to take classes at a community college, I took an American Literature class. In one of my papers, I mentioned “Dostoyevsky.” How was I to know that the class reader, a graduate student from a local university, was a Russian Literature major? As a result of that one word, we became lifetime friends.

The night I met my husband-to-be, we were at a festival on the UCLA campus. While we were dancing, he made me uncomfortable because he held me too tightly. However, when he asked, “Do you like Latin music?” he totally disarmed me. He had spoken my secret words, referring to music I fell in love with at age 14 while mesmerized by a Mexican trio on Catalina Island. I had never discussed this with anyone, so Harold’s speaking these words instantly melted me – even more so when we left UCLA to go to a club to hear and dance to the captivating Cuban rhythms of Rene Touzet.

Latin Music became a motif throughout our lifetime together. And with Harold’s permission, as guests entered the chapel at his funeral, they entered to the Latin beat of the Buena Vista Social Club.

How do readers find blogs that interest them? By Googling a topic. God has a gazillion followers.

Norine Dresser is a folklorist who is curious about how readers discover her blogs.


independence, senior online dating

Martha Stewart and Me

Can you believe I beat 71-year-old Martha Stewart at signing up on Match.com?  I did it four years ago when I was 77, and she just did it now.

Martha Stewart TiaraIn her profile Martha writes, “You may recognize me from my picture.  Yes, it’s really me.”  But no one would recognize me from the photograph I posted.

Martha describes herself as athletic and toned.  Out of honesty, I skipped those descriptors.  Martha’s screen name is “thegoodlonglife,” the title of her latest book.  Instead, one of my screen names has been “MsLaffsAlot,” no connection whatsoever to promoting any of my books.

Martha wants someone tall and adventurous.  Those requirements never entered my mind.  All I want is someone who has a good sense of humor and can drive at night.

Some of my male respondents in their late 70s and early 80s are looking for women who are fit, who regularly work out at the gym.  Dare I reveal that I also regularly go to the gym but it’s for my arthritis class?

I wrote to one possibility but noted he had been offline for 53 days.  Did he find someone?  Or is he already dead?  I’ve also exercised my power to reject a few who pursued me, for example, the man who writes in all caps or the one who frequently misspells and the one who prefers his dog to his grandchildren.  And when an 85-year-old man is looking for a long-term relationship, what does he mean?  A month?  Six months?  A year?

An 80ish-year-old widow I know recently went out on a date for the first time since the death of her husband ten years ago.  Her concerned son called the next morning to check up on her.  His mom reported, “I had to slap him in the face a few times.”

Alarmed, her son asked, “Did he get fresh with you?”

“No,” she complained.  “He kept falling asleep and I had to wake him up.”

—Norine Dresser is a folklorist.