Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

5 years, 11 months. (Less than a week away from turning 6!)

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

I admit, ever since your Kindergarten teacher provided me with official documentation that you are on a 4th grade reading level, I have been both proud and skeptical. I think it’s great that the assessment test shows you are that intelligent, but at the same time, I just want to be sure these findings are legitimate and accurate.

However, my doubts are starting to fade away. Monday Morning, I was backing out of our garage, with you and your sister in the back seat.

You randomly asked me a question that I wasn’t ready for:

“Daddy, does this spell ‘pack rat puppet’?”

You were holding the tag to a puppet I bought earlier this year for one of my videos on YouTube- though it has yet to be made, since your sister was born in the midst of me planning the video shoot.

I didn’t even realize that tag was even back there. Apparently, it was stuck between the seats and you discovered it.

Quite amazed, I nearly shouted, “You can read that?! You figured that out on your own?!”

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

You humbly answered, “Yeah, I just sounded it out…” You yourself almost seemed surprised that I was so surprised that an almost 6 year-old boy could locate an old tag in the back seat, sound out what it said, and correctly read it out loud in the brief process of his Daddy backing the car out of the garage.

I assured you, “Yes, that’s definitely what it says. Wow. You even figured out the word puppet. I am very impressed by what you just did!”

Further fueled by the encouragement of that event, every day since then, you have been finding any opportunity to sound out words and read them to me; like when we are stopped at a red light.

Man, I seriously just can’t get over it. You spelled “pack rat puppet”. On your own. For fun. For the challenge of it. You are one smart kid.



Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

Writing for Readers (and Reading the Writings) of the Opposite Sex

Are most of my readers men or women?  Let’s take a look at the demographics of Scenic Route Snapshots…

I like to keep up with the demographics of my readers, as best I can, by checking to see which posts are consistently the most popular and also by seeing which keywords are the most commonly searched phrases.  Because while I do write creatively and freely, I also want to be able to cater to “revisitors” to give them something worth coming back for- hopefully ending up in that coveted “Favorites” tab on their computer screen.

Another good indicator of who I am attracting as readers is by looking at my “tag cluster cloud” on the right side of the screen, entitled “What I Write About the Most”.  These are the topics I label myself to help readers in the WordPress community (the website franchise this site is published through) find posts about a particular subject they want to read about.  The more times I publish a post with that “tag word”, the larger it appears in the cluster cloud.  Here’s a breakdown of the tag words currently in my cluster cloud with an according “gender predictor” with each one:

Masculine: manspeak, men, wife

Feminine: Ali Fedotowsky, baby, Chris Harrison, dad from day one, Jake Pavelka, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette

Neutral: 1983, ABC (the network featuring LOST and The Bachelor, which I’ve written countless recaps for), America, American, Bible, blog, blogging, blogs, cancer, Christian, Christianity, coffee, comedy, déjà vu, English, facebook, family, Fort Payne, friends, funny, God, Google, Italian, Jacob (from LOST), Jesus, Jewish, Jews, life, LOST, Nashville, Nick Shell (while I am masculine, I appeal to both genders, as this particular post will explain), people, Starbucks, Thailand

While it appears to me that most of the topics I mention in my writings are gender neutral, the ones that are specifically feminine do outweigh those which are specifically masculine.  And even then, through the Manspeak series (categorized as “masculine”) is written to explain the way men think and speak, I’m inclined to assume that more women read the series than men, to understand their boyfriends, husbands, sons, and fathers.  (Click the title to get to the main Manspeak page: Manspeak, Volume 0: Introduction).

My estimate is that is that at least 85% of my readers are women and no more than 15% are men.  Not only do my Bachelor/Bachelorette recaps increase my female readership, but also so does my dad from day one series, which chronicles my thoughts as an expecting father. And that’s a peculiar thing to me- that I can write so frequently to the appeal of the feminine mindset, which works so differently from my own.

It’s happened throughout the course of history; from the Bible being written by all men (though there are countless female protagonists like Ruth and Esther) to the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling (whose real name is Joanne Murray, but who was strongly encouraged by her publisher to use a more masculine pen name that would better accommodate her targeted audience of young boys), men and women have been successfully writing for not only their own gender, but for the opposite as well.

But even though men and women think so differently, more important is the fact that People Who Write share a common trait with People Who Read: an artistic drive that supersedes gender differences.  I am completely bankrupt when it comes to sports trivia or fixing a garbage disposal, but I can come up with something new and creative to write about everyday that connects to the appropriate readers.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen for supporting my masculine-and-feminine-friendly writings.