Doug Bruns

I’m a blogger. (Aggh!)

In Life, The Examined Life, Writing on February 1, 2013 at 6:00 am
Hello, and what do you do?

Hello, and what do you do?

I was at a social event recently and was asked that most annoying of questions: “What do you do?” There are so many tempting answers: “I breath in, I breath out.” “I walk the dog.” –and so on. However, we know it is not a literal question and I resist–barely–this temptation. The real question, as I understand it, is “How do you make a living, how do you make money, pay the bills?” Or, the expansive take on it: “How do you economically justify your existence?” Sorry, I know I am being cynical (I am of the tribe of Diogenes, after all). There are other ways to interpret this question–What do you do?–and they are all equally annoying: “Are you an interesting person?” “Show me why I should talk to you?” and so forth.

My basic good nature always takes over. I don’t respond as a smart-ass, though it’s tempting. In this instance, I said, “I’m a blogger.” I could have easily said, “I’m a Maine guide.” or “I’m retired.” or “I’m a kept man.” But I said, “I’m a blogger.” (I’m on record as disliking the words blog and blogger. (It must appear today that there is much over which I’m annoyed.) But blogging, despite the ugliness of that word, is the description most people best understand.) (I also like the aspect that “I’m a blogger” does not address the core unstated question, How do you economically survive? I enjoy points for evasiveness.) My response prompted the follow-up question, “What do you blog about?”

What I didn’t say is: I blog about ———-. What I did say is: I blog about books, literature, travel, nature, basically anything that enters my pointy little head. I wish I’d been concise and replied that I blog about ———–. That is what this whole damn thing is about–this thing being “…the house…“–though I’ve never come out and stated it so bluntly. (The writer should always seek a degree of obfuscation.)

The books we talk about, the adventures we describe, the philosophy we explore–these are all keys we turn in the lock to release our essential being. At the core of it all is our quest, you know to ——–. That is the territory we explore. But then you must know this, dear reader. Yes, of course you do. Please excuse me for talking down to you. You are brother and sister, companion and friend. You understand, I know. Thank you.

Let us agree, we never ask the other, “What do you do?”

Thanks for reading,


  1. I am a tribesman of the tribe of Diogenes and I am somewhat happy that we have evolved from certain practices such as defacating in public. There really is no other gesture however that can been more appropriate in communicating with the herd in situations like you describe.

  2. Yes. Your tribespeople know, but you write about ____________ so eloquently.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

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