My mother would be so proud. This past Saturday, something happened to me that I had given up thought of ever happening, so much so that the possibility of it never even crossed my mind when I started opening the envelope with my name on it, the one with no return address.
I pulled out the greenish, rectangular paper, immediately let out a laugh and ran into the bedroom to show my wife—I needed corroboration that I was, in fact, looking at what I seemed to be looking at.
“You’re never going to guess what I just received in the U.S. Mail,” I said, barely believing it myself. “Okay, I’m never going to guess, so just tell me,” she replied, and rather too logically for the gush of emotion that had begun swelling in my chest, I thought.
I began dramatically. “I’m holding in my hand…”
(Here’s where she thinks it’s going to be one of those $0.10 rebate checks from some PopTarts box-top mail-in offer or something. She thinks she’s ahead of me. Well…)
“Yes?” she repeated, a smidgen of impatience coloring her curiosity.
That got her attention! She put down the magazine she was holding, her ears suddenly all colored with curiosity as well.
“Yes?! Damn it, just spill!” Impatience just scribbled all over the coloring book in deep magenta.
“…from Google!” I was sporting a grin large enough to make Mr. Sardonicus weep with envy.
Yes, it’s true. Just a little over two years from the day I first put those Ads by Google on the sidebar of this blog, ads that some say sullied the appearance and/or integrity of Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, ads that some thought were, and I’m surely paraphrasing here, “cool,” I finally got paid. In the very same way that whenever a bell rings an angel gets his wings, whenever an SLIFR reader clicks on one of those little ads on their way to and/or from another post or another link to another web site, a miniscule amount of currency gets registered on the SLIFR account. Some apparently do very well with this system—they’ll get a check from Google every month for services rendered and suckers delivered. But Google won’t cut a check unless you’ve made at least $100, and once that milestone has been reached another $100 has to be built up before another check gets sent. In the early days, I used to keep track of how much money I was making per day. It was never very much (“Hey, I racked up 18 cents today!”). One day I think I actually made close to a dollar. The amounts were always so infinitesimally small that I began to feel ridiculous looking in on them so frequently. Eventually I fell out of the habit of looking in altogether.
Two years later, I got a check.
For perversity’s sake, I decided I wanted to know just how much $102.06 worked out to be per post. Okay, well, according to my Blogger stats, the “Open Forum: Oscar Talk et al” was the 418th post I’ve recorded since I began this adventure. And now that I’m in the process of re-familiarizing myself with my elementary school gazintas, I was able to figure out that dividing 418 into 102.06 would provide me the answer I so desperately sought. So a-dividing I went:
418 = 0.24416267942583732057416267942584
For you laymen, that works out to be a shade under 25 cents per post.
I’d adjust that for 2007 dollars, but all that figurin’ has apparently already been done for me, so it is what it is. (If I wanted to turn heady frivolity into a plunge toward futility with lightning speed, I’d figure out how much $102.06 translated into per word.)
But you know what, it wasn’t hard to forget about the Google get-rich-quick plan, because getting paid was never what I expected when I got into all this. Now that I have been somewhat humbly rewarded, it’s nice, sure, but it’s not going to make me change my ways and suddenly get all evangelistic about people clicking my sidebar. (Whoops? Was that a double entendre? If so, I’m so proud. I don’t recall if I’ve ever purposely written one before! It must be that sudden influx of cash making me feel all flushed!)
The new year has so far found me with far less time to be able to devote to SLIFR than at any other time in the blog’s short history, and the awareness of that fact has been weighing on my mind. I’ve got plenty on tap that I want to write about, and good folks like Paul Clark (an upcoming year-end survey), Adam Ross (a new feature called “Friday Screen Tests”), Mike Phillips (the upcoming 1927 Blog-a-Thon) and Jim Emerson (the upcoming Contrarian Blog-a-Thon) have helped to make sure that I stay busy on this site and elsewhere. And, as silly as it sounds, that meager little check, which helped pay for my seeing Babel and The Last King of Scotland this past weekend, and will contribute to my catching up with The Good Shepherd and Volver this coming Saturday night, has served more as a kindly reminder that I’m not in this for the money, but instead for the love of movies, and for what they mean to me and the people around me.
That said, it is $102.06. Even at only 25 cents a pop, does this mean I’m a professional now?!