Welcome back to the Ashley Judd Show. Our next guest is someone who refers to himself as the Jogging Dad. As the name suggests, he is a dad and a jogger who also happens to maintain a blog in cyberspace.
Good to have you on the show, Jogging Dad.
The pleasure is all mine, Ashley. And, may I say, you look as beautiful as ever.
Why, thank you. Let me start by asking, how many followers do you have for your blog?
Not that many. In fact, even though I have been blogging since October last year, my follower-count is embarrasingly low, particularly when compared to some great bloggers out there who have, like, thousands of disciples.
Why is that? Are your stories just not that interesting?
Well, I guess that’s a blunt way of putting it. I mean, fatherhood and running are not exactly the most riveting of subject matters in the best of times, let alone told by someone who is not very good at either of them.
But I have trolled through your website and, I gotta say, you do have people “liking” your posts and commenting on them.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I do have some very loyal supporters who regularly read my musings. But I also have many people who “follow” my blog or “like” my posts without actually reading any of them!
How do you know that?
You’d be surprised how good WordPress is when it comes to tracking people who visit your website.
But WHY would they do that? I mean “like” your posts or “follow” your bog without reading them?
I’m not sure but I can hazard a guess. You see, I am clueless with things like Facebook and so I’m pretty new to this whole “Like” or “Follow” business. But I do feel that some bloggers scan my posts on their Readers and “like” them or “follow” without actually reading, in the hope that I will “like” or “follow” them back. By the way, Ashley, if you’re on Facebook, I will definitely go and set one up right now so that I can “like” you.
Um, no, I actually had to cancel my Facebook account – too many stalkers! So, tell me Jogging Dad, do you reciprocate? Do you “like” other bloggers back, even though you know some of them didn’t read your posts?
Absolutely! Without fail! Because “liking” someone doesn’t cost me anything at all. As a matter of fact, I’ve become a big fan of many bloggers who I would not have known otherwise, simply by reciprocating their “likes”, irrespective of whether they actually enjoyed or even read my writing!
You mentioned before that there are some loyal readers of your blog. Care to share some names?
There is a girl who blogs under the name Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly. She was one of my very first followers. A very sincere writer who wears her emotions on her sleeves and can be so achingly honest that you can’t feel but be drawn to her posts.
Follow Your Heart and Life will Follow is another blogger that I feel I have gotten to know quite well through her touching chronicles of running, reminiscing and living life in general.
As a matter of fact, at times, I feel like I’m snooping on their privacy by reading their blogs, due to the intimate nature of the things that they are brave enough to share. For instance, I recently came across a blogger by the name of Valley Girl Gone Country. Like those that I have just mentioned, she’s a very talented story-teller whose recounts of life’s trials and tribulations can be quite confronting and yet poignant.
By the way, when I say “girl”, I must clarify that I refer to all women bloggers as girls. Hell, I even think you’re still a girl, Ashley, even though you’re older than me.
Thanks for reminding me Jogging Dad. By the way, if you ever want more women followers, don’t ever go anywhere near their age – a very sensitive subject for some “girls” as you put them. Anyway, back to the question, any other bloggers who have been big supporters of you?
Life: everyone has one is always very amusing. I tell you what, you go to her website, the first thing you see is this photo of her looking all mighty serious. But I get the feeling that, in real life, she is one helluva mischievous fun-loving type, if the online journal of her antics is anything to go by.
I don’t know whether they know each other, but Alicia Benton is very much like Life: everyone has one when it comes to having a humorous sense of adventure, while Mummy Flying Solo always provides a very entertaining account of life as a single parent.
I also enjoy the writings of Free Little Words. Not sure what the author is like in person but she sure sounds like fun to be around judging by her posts. I think she’s a teacher, in fact.
But you know, I could probably go on all day talking about so many good bloggers out there. The names I just mentioned are merely tip of the iceberg. For instance, there’s also …
Wait a sec! What’s going on, Jogging Dad? All these people you’ve just mentioned are women. What does your wife think about that?
First of all, my wife would go ape shit right now if she found out I was talking to you. She gets so jealous when I even mention your name, ever since she saw me drool while watching you in the film A Time to Kill.
Secondly, my wife didn’t know about these female readers of my blog until HER female friends began alerting her. She doesn’t seem to mind it at all though, except when I start fantasy-writing about being interviewed by sultry Hollywood actresses.
But it is strange how this is turning out. I started this blog as a fun way to share my experiences as a dad and a runner with other men in a similar situation. And don’t get me wrong, I do have connections with some guys who are in that category. But even I’m amazed by the female skew among my readers. Maybe they just enjoy a giggle reading about a father who seems to know not what he’s doing! And, before I forget, I’d be even happier if YOU followed my blog, Ashley.
Please behave yourself Jogging Dad. By the way, you’ve been talking to my legs this whole interview. I would appreciate it if, every now and then, you could look up at the camera. Now, I look at your blog, you come across as someone who has not a care in the world, and with a silly remark never far from your lips. Would that be a correct characterisation?
I would like to come across that way, sure. But different people have different defence mechanisms. In my darkest hours, I too have sorrows, regrets and demons that I grapple with, just like everyone else. But unlike some who deal with them through writing, drinking, gambling, drugs or whatever else, I try to deal with my issues through running – an avenue whereby I can really let my thoughts and emotions run amok! At the end of the day, my wife and children are happy and healthy, we have a roof over heads and clothes on our backs. We have never been found wanting for anything in life. So, let me ask you Ashley, whatever problems I have, how fucking bad could they be?
Ah, thanks for dropping the F-bomb on national television, Jogging Dad! So, what’s the end goal for your blog? What is the ultimate dream?
The ultimate would be to have Nike or Brooks call me one day and offer me $500,000 a year to put its logo on my website. Or get paid by influential parenting groups to go around the global conference circuit, giving lectures on how NOT to be a father. One of those dreams will happen when I reach, say, one million followers. But, right now, with roughly a million short of the mark, I just have to dwell on whether to review massage creams and video software products.
Hang on, you mean, you get offered to review products?
I have no idea how they find me but, yes, I do occasionally get these requests to review products and even give them away to some of my readers. They appear to be reputable merchandise. But the readers of my blog may get a little confused if, out of the blue, I suddenly start talking about the luxuriousness of a certain brand of massage oil, or how they should never miss the opportunity to film their children’s latest toilet mishap with the XYZ 64-Gb instant-replay video camcorder!
Let me get this straight, Mr Jogging Dad. You have not that many people reading your blog. You admit yourself you’re neither a particularly good parent nor a good jogger. And the few instances that you are asked to plug a product, you refuse to do so, while you hold onto this pipe dream of having Nike pay you $500,000 a year for what, I don’t know. Why am I even interviewing you on this talk show?
Because it’s my blog, and I can do what I want to. Plus, it’s been a real pleasure to hear the alluring Kentuckian twang of your voice this whole interview.
Last question. You always finish your posts with the words “Keep on pounding”. What does that even mean?
I don’t know – just thought it was a very cool ass way of signing off. You know, like Walter Cronkite and “That’s the way it is”. In all seriousness though, for a runner, the phrase is self-explanatory. But even for a non-runner, I hope that it connotes something along the lines of not giving up, no matter what it is that he or she is struggling against.
OK. Any last departing thoughts, Jogging Dad?
Yes. Can I buy you a drink after this interview?
No! But keep on pounding!