Dot com that donkey

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This week was supposed to go differently, but it didn’t. If it had gone the way it was meant to, you’d be reading the opening lines of the “part two conclusion” to last week’s “part one introduction” of Explore that, will you. This third sentence would probably be about protective charms as a way to start talking about banks. Obviously, this is not what’s happening here, which is a shame, because I was looking forward to introducing you to Captain George Grimtoes and his First Officer, Woofington O’Barkerty. But that will all have to wait, because something really cool happened this week. This week, I ‘dot commed’ a donkey. Not a real donkey – although that is something that could be done – but the metaphorical donkey that is Arthur Wingsmith.

The phrase “dot come the donkey” derives from specialist jargon, and refers simply to creating a website as a ‘dot com’ entity. In my case, this has happened because I followed an expert’s advice to “dot com that donkey.” Of course, there are all sorts of suffixes associated with different website entities, and all have their own jargon attached to them. For example, one can “dot net that lizard,” “dot org that grape juice,” and “dot edu that marmoset.”

Of all the ‘dottings’ that can be done, the donkey is by far the most highly prized. There is many an angry lizard and grape juice out there, fairly seething that someone else already had their donkey. (In general, it is only the marmosets that seem unconcerned about not being donkeys, but that is a discussion for another time.) The reason a donkey has slightly more value than a lizard, is because it is somehow more ‘real’. It is the internet equivalent of knowing that you have become a full-grown man or woman because you must now shave at least once a week. As I have had ongoing problems with my existential status, becoming Arthur Wingsmith ‘dot com’ makes me a very lucky Equus asinius indeed. For a start, I should get better search results when I ‘google’ my name.

Reinventing one’s self as an animal-based metaphor is not without it’s difficulties. Just as it is with ‘real’ people who try to start their lives afresh, so too does the road to donkeydom present many a bump. Such difficulties aren’t necessarily traumatic. It does not  always happen that recasting one’s life or website to new purpose inevitably ends with the old one exploding in fiery zeppelin bits. Rather, for me it has been more like glitches, and confusion about how to work the site’s new ‘back end’.

For the most part, my glitches have been in the form of formatting errors; where the transfer of content hasn’t gone as seamlessly as I would have liked. For reasons I do not understand, whole paragraphs have decided that they belong together, which is annoying, because I’m fairly certain that they do not. I have devoted many hours this week to this previous content, counseling them as best I can that their separation is for their own good, the good of the post overall, and the good of the user that consumes that post for entertainment. “You’re young,” I have explained on more than one occasion, “I know it seems like you belong together now, but when you’re older you’ll understand.” More often than not, most of the paragraphs have seen the wisdom in my words and said their teary good bye’s. But there have been a rebellious and recalcitrant few.

These few have screamed at me in petulant defiance: “but Arthur, I love her,” or “you’re just old, there’s no way that you could understand.” If they were children or undergraduate students, and not ones-and-zeros simulating written text, I’d explain to them that I was once young myself, so of course I know what they’re going through.  I can’t say that though, because to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never actually been a young paragraph, so I’ve had to concede that they make a good point.

All concessions aside, I still believe that they are hindering my creative vision, so I’ve just pretended to give up and leave them alone. This is only sensible, they are only words on a screen after all. What possible power could they really have? As an attempt achieve my ends, and because the donkey affords me this functionality, I went to have a look at the ‘text view’ on the post editor. I did this, because it is my understanding that this is where lots of the business of turning binary into a nifty story happens; a place where more manipulation than is perhaps totally ‘above board’ can happen. You know what I discovered? I discovered that my paragraphs speak a language wholly incomprehensible to me.

One could be forgiven for believing that I must finally acknowledge failure, and then beat a dignified strategic defeat. Not so, because I have friends, powerful friends who will assure me of ultimate victory over my creations. Okay, so I have two friends, only one of which can help me out in this instance. In truth, he’s been helping me out already, for it is he that has facilitated my ascendance to donkeyhood. He is that most powerful of internet generals, a web-designer. His name: Senhor The General Sharpfocus.

Senhor Creepcalw is both a writer and breaker of codes most complex. He assures me that once I’ve provided the necessary ‘intelligence’, it should be a small matter to bring the last defiant paragraphs to heel. If I was one of these paragraphs, I would take note of Senhor the General Creepclaw’s involvement. If I were them, I would separate of my own accord. For you see, one of Senhor Creepclaw’s previous jobs was the making of tombstones.  Yes, if I were a paragraph, I would surrender peacefully, lest General Sharpfocus begins making tombstones again – paragraph shaped tombstones [muahahahaha].

But I have already said too much; although I will say just one last thing. To old and new ‘page-viewers’ alike, I bid you welcome to my new donkey.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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