[Written for Creative Nonfiction class this week.]
There are many awe-inspiring things in this world. The icy slopes of Mount Everest, sunset over the Grand Canyon, a whole school of humpback whales leaping out of the water, the Great Wall of China, Quentin Tarantino’s ego. The sight of Jim Groom reclining in his office chair, feet on desk and glasses askew, eclipses these by far. The leaning tower of Pisa doesn’t hold a candle to Jim’s one-armed leaning glasses, the kind of glasses that only come into being after one too many violent encounters with an overzealous two-year-old.
Despite the throngs of women who throw themselves at his feet during his arduous three-minute walk from the parking lot to work, Jim’s only passion is for WordPress. Yes, Jim’s lover, his grail, his Achilles’ heel is an online blogging platform. The man is a whirlwind of typing fingers and crazed mutterings, breathing in the Internet and exhaling words on a web page.
Someone in the office mentions their morning, and Jim starts singing about it in a loud New York accent, fingers never leaving the keyboard. Clearly a master composer, he invents dozens of new songs, with lyrics like “WordPress, oh WordPress” and “Why haven’t you read my blog yet”. Jim Groom is also a wonder of multitasking. He can blog, smoke his favorite cigarettes, argue with passers-by, and eat a meatball sub, all at the same time. In fact, Jim can blog during almost any activity, and does.
Jim’s website is bavatuesdays, a treasure trove of 1950’s horror film discussions, web tutorials, and humble self-reflection. On most days, he writes around five blog posts, but has been known to break fifteen. He has the endurance of twenty marathon runners and the daring of the world’s greatest explorers, the focus of a surgeon and the smile of an angel. To keep up his energy, Jim Groom subsists on a hearty diet of New York pizza and Dr. Pepper.
Man or god? Maybe we’ll never know. Jim Groom is a cautionary tale, a joke, a trend. Jim Groom is an insult. Jim Groom is an incentive. Jim Groom is a role model, a bad influence, an ideology. Jim is pizza snobbery and alarming enthusiasm. Jim is the eighth wonder of the world.
Maybe one day you decide to see this champion, this legendary creature for yourself. You’ll sit in my office chair, with only a large Macintosh computer between Jim and yourself. You notice his beat-up UCLA Bruins cap, his yellow plaid shirt, his scruffy beard, and you can hardly breathe. And then he stares at you through those crooked, thick black glasses rims, and you think “Oh, God. Have I blogged yet today?”
“Listen you,” he’ll say. “Have you been reading the Bava?” You realize with horror that you have not, in fact, kept up with Jim’s blog as faithfully as you should have. Maybe you duck down behind the iMac, hoping that he’ll be distracted by the newest Internet phenomenon. Always persistent in the face of adversity, he asks you again,
“Did you read my blog today?”
“Um… no, sorry,” you whisper.
“I didn’t have time!” You almost burst into tears, but Jim Groom does not accept excuses.
“Go read it now.” You nod obediently, and sink back behind the computer screen.
“Hippie.” Jim mutters, and eats another slice of pizza.