Move over, Bob Barker.
Step aside, Tony Bennett.
Outta my way, Bill Clinton.
Get another job, Oprah.
There’s a new Schmoozer in the business, and her name is Jaw C. Lin.
Yup, I recently discovered, a bit to my surprise, that I’m a schmoozer. Lone Grey Squirrel broke the news to me with a swift “tag, you’re clearly it,” based on a tag he had been thumped with by a blogger named Mike.
I must admit, at first I reeled back a bit, fretting, “Do I really wear that much hair gel? Did Lone Grey Squirrel notice that I like to walk around with a microphone and a martini in hand, over-emoting, assuring people I feel their pain and offering to give them a make-over or another chance to spin the wheel? Am I a slick weasel, and I just never knew it?”
As it turns out, however, I do none of those things, eschewing everything from microphone to gel. The only parts of me that satisfy the schmoozer definition are my love of a Lemondrop and the Big Wheel I keep in the bedroom (no details forthcoming, you voyeuristic preeverts).
Luckily, in his usual elegant prose, LGS elucidates the positive condition of being a schmoozer, as it exists here in the Republic of Blog (aka ROB). He explains, “Schmoozing as defined by Dictonary.com is the ability ‘to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection’… If you look at the award logo, you will see that it is refered to as the ‘Blogging Community Involvement Award’… I think the spirit of this award is best reflected by that thought…Through your blogging social skills, you have encouraged us, informed us, amused us and most importantly helped us to meet others and to expand our social circle in the blogging community.”
And with that, I felt eversomuch better, to the point that I took Groom upstairs for a spin on the wheel (where he was subsequently heard chanting, “One dollar! One dollar! One dollar!”). Mos’ def’, the bloom is not off the rose, eight years into our gig.
Now, with renewed focus, I realize that it is my job to pass on the compliment and identify five bloggers who, in my estimation, are Big Ole Schmoozers. This, to me, means I need to find five writers whose blog cribs feel unusually hospitable, whose joints make readers feel welcome and impart a particular sense of togetherness and community, whose spaces make readers want to step up and participate and converse. Another way to cast this would be to identify five bloggers whose comment sections are comprised of more than a single response from the blogger’s mother which reads, “I guess I never really did understand you, JoJo. And if you think any part of this story you wrote about my wig falling into the basket of Body of Christ crackers during Communion is funny, then you’re grounded. I don’t care if you’re thirty-four. Get to your room, and no phone privileges for a week. And you can forget about chaperoning the Prom next year, too!”
Rather, the schmoozer blogger inspires comments with content, comments of reader interaction—you know, vigorous commenting simply because the blog’s visitors have been sufficiently moved by the writing on the site to put a piece of themselves out there.
At this juncture, you can start the drumroll and sound the fanfare. I would, *clears throat and opens envelope*, now like to award these five writers as some of the best schmoozers I read, and if any of you five are so inspired, you can grab the Schmoozer banner and pass on the tagging. Otherwise, just sit back and pat your backs in a gentle, soothing motion of schmoozage.
1. It’s gotta be Diesel. Diesel combines humor, fine writing, and shameless self-promotion into a most charming package. Where else can you read about the world’s scariest motel, buy a blog-specific t-shirt, and participate in captioning some excellent Photoshopped pictures? Nowhere, my friends. Nowhere but Dieselville. Plus, I’m pretty sure Diesel needs more stuff for his sidebars, so maybe the Schmoozer banner can help with that.
2. I have to shout out to That Chick Over There. Here in the Midwest, folks like the word “hoot,” and she is one. A hoot, I mean. Not a folks. Well, she is a folk, but that’s not what I’m driving at. Since Chick is a Southerner, though, I’m not sure “hoot” is the best description for her and her writing…I feel that more colorful phrasing is required, to acknowledge her life below the Mason-Dixon Line; so let’s just say she’s funnier than a two-headed dog do-si-doing at a clowns’ barn dance. However we put it, all I know is that her open letters (“Dear woman in the burgundy mini-van in the furthest left lane on Interstate 40,…”), her posts about her piss-ant neighbors, and her recent good-old-fashioned serial of posts about her meeting and marrying her husband…well, they’ve got a slew of us readers hooked.
3. The comment section of Hearts in San Francisco’s blog is a regular tupperware party. Hosts of folks check in to read Hearts’ latest rousing messages about ethics and the right way to be in the world, or to roll their eyes at the latest sub-letters next door, or to admire her turns of phrase (a recent post ended with “Why does every errant hedgeborn canker blossom end up living right next door to me?”, which pleased me no end). Pretty much, I think Hearts should go into politics. She gets me standing up in front of my monitor, pounding my fist in the air. One time I broke a picture on the wall doing that, but it wasn’t her fault. Now my computer and I go into an open, empty room before I jump over to her blog. It’s safer that way.
4. Because it would make any good Minnesotan blush to be publicly honored with anything, I have to say Dorky Dad. He tells stories of mishap while camping that make all of us readers certain he should never even utter the word “tent” again, much less get into one. Fortunately, he has a worthy partner in mosquito-bitten-tentpole-in-the-skullishness in his lovely wife, who occasionally has her input into this funny blog on Wife Wednesdays.
5, And finally, I must acknowledge that I get a special feeling—not just from the Lemondrop I’m drinking, either—when I visit Jen’s blog. The whole business of getting shivers while reading something? Jen’s writing does that for me. She mixes it up with posts about her work with the homeless, her hopes for an expat life with her family, and everyday slices of life, like getting a manicure. Everyone who reads Jen’s blog regularly ends up feeling inspired by her sense of social justice, but not because she’s preachy or self-righteous. She is one woman, following her choices in life, and her readers can’t wait to find out what comes next.
So thank you, Dear Schmoozers, for helping to create that really weird thing that is community with the land of the blogs. You not only make it a great place to visit; you also make Blogland a place many people want to live.
…which, now that I think about that, is kind of sad and scary. I mean, get a life already.