Today we are featuring a guest-post from Robert Hruzek:
[Note from the Proprietor: The basis for this post comes from an – well, let’s call it an “incident”, shall we? – that happened last year at SOBCon08 in Chicago. Unlike your typical episode of Dragnet, however, names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent because – hey, let’s face it – there ARE no innocents here!]
All right y’all; I have what is (or if it ain’t then it should be) the Question Of The Ages: Is there, in fact, a “wrong” way to eat pizza?
The reason the question comes up at all is because of a little-known incident that happened at last year’s SOBCon08.
An Urban Tale
I arrived in early afternoon on Friday (May 2), ready for pretty much anything – or so I thought. The incredibly talented, always witty, and tremendously all-around good guy Brad Shorr gave me a ride from O’Hare to Hotel 71 in downtown Chicago. It was an extremely bighearted gesture that ranks right up there on the kindness scale with, er, doing your homework for you, helping you on moving day, or donating a kidney. (Don’t mind me, y’all; Brad kindly offered to do it again this year, so I figured I’d better keep, y’know, layin’ it on thick.)
Anyhoo – as assorted SOBCon’ers drifted in over the course of the afternoon, we gathered at the sidewalk café out front of the hotel. The weather cooperated nicely, and it was kinda like old home week. We shook hands, posed for countless pictures, and generally had a great time getting to know each other face to face. It was a great way to start the weekend, I’ll tell ya!
Now besides Brad, one of the OTHER folks I really looked forward to meeting was Joanna Young. (I’m not sure, but I think Joanna may have won the “I travelled farther than you did” award, having flown all the way from bonnie Scotland for the weekend.) After nearly a year of getting to know her and Brad via each other’s comment boxes, we’d developed quite the friendship, and it was time the three of us finally met in person.
(As you can see from the photo, we make quite a fine-lookin’ bunch, don’cha think? I’m the handsome galoot there on the left. Although I’ve asked around, I still don’t know who the Bubba behind us was – the fellah with the funny white hat.)
While we all glad-handed each other, the café waiters kept pretty busy delivering a steady supply of snacks and drinks, among which were several of those little hors de oeuvres type pizzas. (Hors de oeuvres, as you probably know, is French for little tiny food – not something we see a whole lot of in Texas.)
I helped myself, along with everyone else, and it was only after a few bites I noticed Joanna had committed an incredible faux pas, actually taking her first bite of pizza from the wrong end! I would swear (if I was the swearin’ type – which I’m not) it was as though a dark cloud passed in front of the sun, the birds stopped singing, and the air became suddenly very still. (A lot like those E.F. Hutton commercials when that guy is about to tell you what “they” would’ve said…)
Well, not wanting to be a party to, y’know, the end of the universe as we know it (and of course bein’ the soul of tact), I naturally did the gentlemanly thing and discretely pointed out the minor error in judgment. (If memory serves me right, I believe I pointed at Joanna, hollering out something along the lines of, “I can’t believe you just took a bite of pizza from the wrong end!”) [I’m almost positive that last never happened. – Proprietor]
I’m tellin’ ya; if you weren’t there you missed a definite Kodak moment! For about 27 milliseconds, Joanna’s eyes got about as big as that plate the pizza was sittin’ on. But then of course (after nearly falling over in a dead faint – or nearly taking a swing at me – I’ve never been quite sure which) she quickly realized I was merely yankin’ her chain.
Anyway, it’s no exaggeration to say that little memory remains a cherished favorite from my entire SOBCon08 experience.
What SOBCon is All About
Now, you may be wondering about that last statement. After all, this happened before the conference had even started, y’know? And over the next two days we were privy to all kinds of great workshops, keynote speeches, and working sessions, all filled with powerful – possibly even life-changing – information.
But in truth, it made me think about something much more fundamental. For instance:
- SOBCon is About Blogging. Hey, the S.O.B. acronym says it all, doesn’t it? Successful and Outstanding Blogger. After all, I bet the likelihood is probably fairly high you initially connected with each other via this incredible now-not-so-newborn medium called blogging. I’ll tell ya, the ONLY reason I knew of this event is via Liz Strauss and the amazing blogging community at Successful-Blog.
- SOBCon is About Writing. Over time (and through the patient encouragement of several special folks I trust), I came to realize that for me, blogging was more than just tellin’ folks what I had for breakfast, or which episode of Seinfeld was lined up for the evening’s entertainment. Nope, somehow it transformed itself, like a lump of bauxite into a polished aluminum aircraft wing, into something ‘way more powerful: writing. What’s the difference, you ask? Well, if you slave over a keyboard, searching for just that perfect word – if you find yourself considering what kind of reaction you’ll get from those words – if you truly care about what you write, and how it’ll be received by your readers – then surprise! I’d say you’re a writer.
- SOBCon is About Business. Although the initial SOBCon back in 2007 was kind-of a prototype event, since then the focus has more narrowly been lasered in on the business of blogging. And that’s a good thing! The fact is, most of us are probably in various stages of turning our writing into a business, and I’m no exception. Although just a hobby at first, nowadays my thoughts turn more and more to making an income – maybe even (dare I hope for it?) a genuine living – from the words I spend so much time crafting. If that’s you (or might, one day, be you) then you owe it to yourself to come to Chicago and find out how it might change your life! Besides, ya gotta start somewhere, right? If not now – when?
- SOBCon is About People. Without a doubt, though, THE most important thing SOBCon taught me is this: When you get right down to it, it’s about the relationships we develop that really count. And the fact that we’re actually a pretty diverse group of folks merely underscores that fact, y’know? Despite that fact – or more accurately, because of it – we represent an amazing force in this ol’ world! Hey, it don’t matter one whit if you eat your pizza from the pointy end or (shudder) the round end. The only thing that matters is our mutual care, respect and support for each other’s abilities – and potential. I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s what I call a game changer!
So What About You?
Now, if you’ll pardon my, um, waxing eloquent (which is an ancient Chinese saying that translates roughly to lay it on thick and polish it to a nice, shiny coat), I said all that to bring us down to this one final question:
If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, “Self, maybe there’s something to this blogging thing after all. Maybe I should find out more about where it’s goin’ – and where it might take little ol’ me.”
Well, if that’s you, my friends, then my totally unsolicited, but completely heartfelt advice is for you to beat a path to Chicago on May 1st for SOBCon09! (In fact, come a day early for the festivities!) Hey, I’ll be there, and I hope you are too. Just look for the hat!
Photo: Blogging Buddies, by Joanna Young
Robert Hruzek Robert Hruzek currently lives in Houston, Texas, and thoroughly enjoys being married to The Most Wonderful Wife in the Whole World (sorry fellas, it’s no contest). He is usually employed as an engineering project manager, a job that allows him to travel, live and work in many interesting locations within the United States and around the world.
Robert writes on the Web at Middle Zone Musings (http://middlezonemusings.com/). It’s described as a comfortable place to stop, have a cup of coffee, swap a few stories and share practical ideas for the real world. He doesn’t ask for much, just a bit of your brain every now and then. Why not drop by, grab a seat, take a load off, and relax…
You may contact Robert by email at: rhruzek [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.