I didn’t think I was destroyed, but that’s what the search engines say 

cat looking at camera

My downstairs neighbor, Dave, often comes over to give me advice on my blog — as well as to drink any beer I might have in the fridge. “People like pictures of cats,” he says, “even if it’s a only meme with a stupid subtitle that has nothing to do with the cat itself. That’ll get you readers for sure.”

Dave the Downstairs Neighbor popped into my apartment on Saturday afternoon.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Nothing much. Just wanted to see what you were up to.”

“You’re out of beer, aren’t you?”

“Not necessarily,” Dave said. “I often come by just to say hi.”

“Then you won’t mind if I drink this beer in front of you without offering you one?”

Dave licked his lips. “Do you think you could maybe, like … spare one?”

“You came over here for a beer, didn’t you?” I asked.

“Yes!” Dave said, throwing his arms wide and yelling. “Yes! I came over for a beer.”

“No problem. Help yourself. There’s beer in the fridge.”

“Great — thanks,” Dave said, tromping into my kitchen and wrenching open the refrigerator. He pulled out a bottle and pried off the lid with an opener.

“You got lime?” he called.

“Bottom bin,” I said.

Dave cut himself a lime and slid it into his bottle.

“Now was that so hard?” he asked, walking back into the living room. “It’s like you want me to feel like a freeloader. Say, you got some chips?”

I handed him the bag of Tostitos that was sitting on the coffee table. “So get this.”

“What’s that?” Dave asked, sitting on the couch and resting his feet on the coffee table.

“I was working on my blog this morning, and it’s got a dashboard where you can see the number of visitors you get and stuff like that.”

“Do you get any visitors?”

“I … well, I’m more interested in the quality of reader as opposed to the quantity, you know.”

Dave crunched on some chips. “So you’re still not getting any visitors?” 

“Well,” I said, biting my lip, “it’s not like I’m counting the views and visitors every day.”

“So it’s still in the single digits. That’s what you’re saying?”

I bowed my head. “Yes. It’s still in the single digits.”

“That’s too bad, man,” Dave said. “You know I’d check it out, but I just hate to read. Books, magazines, comic strips — you name it. I just cannot sit still to read. I’ve got too much going on in my life.”

I glowered at him. “You’ve got too much going on?”

“Well, yeah. I can’t waste time perusing a dissertation. I got a life to live.”

“Yet here you sit with your feet on my couch, after ransacking my refrigerator.”

Dave grinned. “What can I say? This is the life I live.”

“See?” I said. “This is why the literary landscape is receding like a diseased forest, leaving behind a wasteland of artistic apathy and intellectual desolation. You’re part of the problem.”

“Says the guy who writes blog posts about talking to his cat.”

“It’s funny! Besides, people like cats.”

“People like pictures of cats — even if it’s a only meme with a stupid subtitle that has nothing to do with the cat itself. That’ll get you readers for sure. What they don’t like to read about is some unattached loser with no one to talk to but his crotchety old cat.”

“Then I’ll write about myself talking to my bum neighbor who comes over uninvited and devours my beer.”

“You should do that. It might actually be entertaining. Then you might get a visitor count in the double digits.”

“I’m glad I can count on you for your unwavering support.”

Dave belched. “Anytime.”

“So back to the dashboard,” I said, pointing to my laptop.

“Right,” Dave said. “We went on a tangent there talking about what a loser you are.”

“I was looking at the analytics this morning. It tells you all the behind-the-scenes stuff, like how many visitors I get.”

“Or how few,” Dave said.

“It also tells you the search terms that someone used to find your site.”

“So if someone searches something on Google and they land on your site, you get to know the term they used that led them to you?”

“Exactly. You’re getting this blogging thing down.”

“Must be all the beer I drink.”

“So anyway, get this: One of the terms that someone entered was ‘destroyed person.’”

Dave frowned. “‘Destroyed person’?”

“‘Destroyed person,’ yeah.”

“So let me get this straight,” Dave said. “Someone typed ‘destroyed person’ into Google, and it led them to your site?”


“Well,” Dave said, sipping his beer and shrugging, “it seems pretty accurate to me.”

“But why would Google lead them to me? I mean, I know I’m browbeaten and despondent and defeated by life, but Google can’t tell that from my site. I mean … can it?”

“Google can tell a lot about you,” Dave said. “They’ve got algorithms that detect that kind of stuff.”

“But I can’t figure out what ‘destroyed person’ has to do with my blog.”

“You’re a single loser who writes about talking to his cat. It seems pretty obvious.”

“I guess I don’t understand keywords and search-engine optimization and stuff like that,” I said.

“Clearly. That’s why your blog has no visitors. You need to pay people to figure those things out for you.”

“You know,” I said, “I’m kind of offended that Google thinks I’m a destroyed person. I’d much prefer the term ‘aspiring comedian,’ or ‘literary humorist.’”

“But ‘destroyed person’ is such a better fit,” Dave said. “Besides, you can’t argue with Google. They sized you up pretty well. Maybe they gleaned some information off your dating profile, as well.”

I frowned. “Why did I invite you over here again?”

“You didn’t. I invited myself over so I could have a beer.”

“That’s right. For a second there, I was mistaking your rampant freeloading as some sort of friendship.”

“Everyone needs friends,” Dave said, guzzling the rest of his beer.

You know,” I said, “maybe Google’s onto something. It’s pretty soul-crushing when I write about my everyday life and the people I interact with. Maybe their algorithms really do think I’m a destroyed person.”

“You got any more beer?” Dave asked, holding up his empty bottle.

I sighed. “Beer’s in the fridge.”

“Great.” Dave jumped up and bolted to the kitchen.

“Hey,” I called. “Bring me one, too, will you?”

“You sure? You’ve already got one open.”

“Apparently, I’m a destroyed person, so just keep them coming. If I’m going to hit rock bottom, I might as well get an interesting blog post out of it.”

“And just so you know, you’re out of limes,” Dave called.

12 comments on “I didn’t think I was destroyed, but that’s what the search engines say 

  1. Allen, (hiccup) I think I’ve stumbled onto a way to improve your stats…as I have been drinking… a lot of beer lately. Did I mention I know Dave and his neighbor? You probably know him too. Anyway, I feel my visits to your blog should count as two, and I’ll tell you why. (hiccup) Because I’ve been picking up a few pounds of late due to a little light drinking on my part. See (hiccup), I’ve discovered that this particular habit of mine now allows me to see DOUBLE! That’s right… THREE PEOPLE! Fortunately… I’m not intoxicated when I do this. STILL WITH ME? Good! For a minute there I thought you were a cat or something. Now where was I? Oh YEAH! if you were to possibly have another case of beer in your pocket… I MEAN FRIDGE… then… I could possibly be persuaded to take a little jaunt up the freeway to look in on you. You know… you really shouldn’t drink and drive… UNLESS YOU HAVE A TRICYCLE! After all, Nevada is not a dry straight my friend. (hiccup) Anyway, I could possibly add even more pounds to my… my… what was I gonna say… OH… my ever EXPANDING WAISTLINE… yeah that’s it. I… I almost forgot what you were gonna say there for a moment. Naturally this will quadruple your stats… when looking in the mirror… I mean… in your blog? You see my consumption OF YOUR BEER alone, would not be enough to push your visitor… VISITORS COUNT… into double digits. Bu.. but (hiccup) if we could persuade DAVE to drop by… WELL! By the way, this could be easily accomplished by popping the tabs on some beer cans. Then he could go to the mirror and SEE DOUBLE TOO! C… 2…2…That’s, that’s, that’s written humor for you… get it? Of course, you’ll have to restock your fridge this weekend. You are going to restock your fridge this weekend, right? All the best bloggers do. Now bear with me for a moment here, and do the math. See… Dave’s drinking—a l o n g with mine, due to our rather large consumption OF YOUR BEER—could then possibly make your blog stats appear to be GROWING even larger. That is because then we’ll BOTH BE SEEING DOUBLE, don’t you see? Well… that is, after the three of us go looking in the mirror together—especially after we’ve finished off several of your cases of beer. What I’m saying is (hiccup), is IF WE can see double after only a few cases of beer, just imagine what YOU’LL SEE IN THE MIRROR. WOW! Why I wouldn’t be surprised (hiccup) if we all didn’t see a whole snoot full… (hiccup)… I mean a whole BLOG full of people in your blog stats after that! Well, it’s just a suggestion. You might wanna drink on it…I mean SLEEP ON IT, though. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have noticed a phenomenon I like to (rather pretentiously) call the inverse law of internet posts. You often see posts on blogs and FB groups of low quality or originality, but designed to appeal to a mass audience. Or some designed deliberately to goad and bait people to respond (trolls essentially). They often attract hundreds of likes and / or comments, while more thoughtful or serious posts attract barely a handful.

    You could try becoming an expert on internet marketing and promotion (yuck) or maybe posting spammily-titled articles – ‘This amazing post will make you a millionaire in minutes!’ Or I guess you can learn to live with the obscurity and lack of fame, realising that at least you won’t ever be widely known as a massive jerk, loathed by millions. It’s those small crumbs of comfort (and the booze) that can make all the difference..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is any more of that beer available? I don’t know about SEO either. When I try to check my stats, the ones on I get through Jetpack and the ones on WordPress are completely different. When I tried looking for the search terms information, I discovered the following “nothing is working properly opening a huge jar of pickles.” I promise you, I’m not making this up.

    Liked by 1 person

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