I was recently and suddenly “encouraged” to retire as a claims adjuster and I’m, like, what now? What can I do? Who can I be? I’ve seen a lot of ads lately about “content creation” and decided to look into it. It’s a weird concept. Aren’t artists content creators? And chefs and musicians and car manufacturers? The people who make those crappy Happy Meal toys the grandkids go berserk over are definitely content creators. And Purdue Pharma! Until they were told to cease and desist, they created a whopping amount of content (Oxycondone, hydrocodone, gajillions for the Sacklers), auxiliary-content (drug rehabs) and feel-good, smokescreen-content (university buildings and endowments, museums). On our walks, my dog Richard is quite the content creator.
Content creation is mostly a social media thing. Ugh. I have to pop a nitro tab if I’m on Facebook for more than five minutes and I just can’t bring myself to be a tweeter (tooter??) Tiktok sounds like a doomsday machine (or a site for pedophiles). And like I said, I’m retired–I’ve been LinkedOut. Yeah, I Youtube. There’s some decent DIY home-repair videos out there. And Richard and I both like cat videos.
I did a little research on DuckDuckGo–I’m no Neanderthal (who have been greatly underestimated, incidentally), and came across this claim: “Gone are the days when someone can’t recite the name of at least one influencer.” Kim Kardashian sprang to mind (although I’m not sure if she’s the one divorcing the rapper or the athlete who had a sex change). I thought, Joey, you can do this! You’re a smart guy. You were Regional Adjuster of the Year back in ’92. You raised three kids (well, you took them fishing) and they still talk to you. You mostly broke even in Atlantic City and took Brooke to some fancy restaurants with your comps.
I looked up the Nine Habits of Highly Successful Content Creators, but the only habit that looked even halfway useful was #9, Question Everything, and that was straight out of Abbie Hoffman’s 60’s handbook. And he got it from Euripides. Questioning everything gets exhausting.
I continued my research. There’s a whole new vocabulary to learn: source content, high-quality content, engage, aspirational, authentic, micro-influencer, click-through, positive comment sentiment, dedicated audience, inbound ink, evergreen content, skim effect, infographic, content fatigue. Yeah, I totally get content fatigue.
I’m trying to figure out my Brand. I’m 68 and have two knee replacements. I’m staring down a new hip because I’m flat-footed and played soccer as a kid in cheap shoes. I have no gall bladder, no sex drive, and three tooth implants. Like everyone, I’ve put on a little paunch thanks to quarantining, and my hair is thinning. Everywhere. I hear myself telling the same jokes, the same stories, griping the same gripes, but I don’t know how to stop. Brooke keeps yelling, Stop following me around! Find something to do! I tell her I’m just looking for ideas.Even Richard tucks his head under his paws now when I head his way.
DuckDuck tells me I’m in the eighth stage of human life development, and the next is Death & Dying (which seems backwards to me). Fortunately, this stage is divided into Young Old and Old Old. But I know if I don’t figure out what comes next, what comes next will be a quick slide into Old Old and then all I’ll create is content for a casket.
Quick slide or not, in the end there’s still that casket. That nothingness. That blank.
About the author
Mary Rohrer-Dann writes and paints in central PA., is an educator, and two-time Pushcart nominee. She is the author of Taking the Long Way Home, (Kelsay Books), and La Scaffetta: Poems from the Foundling Drawer (Tempest Productions, Inc.) Other work appears/is forthcoming in Vestal Review, Third Wednesday, Clackamas Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Flashes of Brilliance, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Boston Literary Magazine, and other venues. She is a long-standing volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Other work by Mary Rohrer-Dann on Flashes