Juggling and Magic Tricks

Inspired by: Best Imitation of Myself” (1995) from the Ben Folds Five album Ben Folds Five


The song that inspired it all!

This song is probably among the top ten if I was to ever do a ranking of Ben Folds songs. It is perhaps one of the most impactful songs from his catalogue that had lasting consequences on my life. I’ve mentioned my history with this song briefly before:

Sad female story of this blog: Being as how I really started listening to BFF with “Whatever,” this album was largely unknown to me at the time. What introduced it to me, somewhat pathetically, was a quote that some girl had on her Bolt.com profile, which was a very early version of a social media site. She quoted a line from this song and for some reason I had to pick up the album. No regrets on that at all. However, for some reason, I remember that her screen name was “AdrienneC” and that she was from Connecticut. And, no, she is not the person that I met on that site that would later cause me to move to CT, get married, and get divorced. Just an odd coincidence I suppose.

Me

While it is true that I didn’t move to Connecticut for Ms. AdrienneC, my experience on that long-defunct “social media” site ultimately did. And had I not stumbled upon the quote on that random girl’s profile, I probably wouldn’t have stuck around on the site long enough to stumble across the profile of “angel11love,” who directed me to the profile of her friend, who I would eventually decide was “the one” and ultimately move to Connecticut to be with.

But a quote from a song from a band I liked – though I hadn’t yet heard it – helped indicate that the website was a “cool” enough place for me to hangout, even if my response rate was probably pretty close to what I would experience while trying online dating nearly two decades later.

That was circa 1997, when I was working at a call center as a customer service representative for some internet phone company with a name that has been lost to memory. We were a small team, separate from the rest of the call center, and we were given access to the internet to do our job. We weren’t supposed to use it, but there was so much time between calls that we didn’t really have anything better to do.

Someone in the group stumbled on Bolt, which wasn’t much more than a message board where you could create a profile and post things. It bridged the gap between AOL (though AIM was still a pretty big deal at the time) and MySpace, but I don’t think it ever had the same type of universal adoption that either of those things would.

It was apparently founded specifically as a teen community, and I remember that you could do searches for people based on gender and age, and that’s how I ended up seeing that profile with the “Best Imitation of Myself” lyrics. I simply searched for girls between the ages of 15 and 18 (or whatever) and started sending posts or messages (I don’t remember exactly how it worked) to them alphabetically. It was just a dumb way to pass the time at work, and I never expected anything to come of it.

But that’s how I met my ex-wife 25ish years ago. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time talking on Bolt honestly; we would chat on AIM on occasion, or just email, and a lot of late night phone calls when long distance was free (kids, ask your parents). It was such a wholesome era of long distance “dating” before people started Catfishing each other and whatnot.

Just so weird how seemingly insignificant things can send us in directions never expected. A quote from a song by a band I liked but hadn’t yet heard led me to leaving my Utah life behind and moving across the country to a place I hadn’t even considered visiting, let alone living. It also instilled some version of wanderlust that has persisted ever since, which is cropping up again.

All because of these three lines:

I juggle one handed
Do some magic tricks and

The best imitation of myself

“Best Imitation of Myself,” written by Ben Folds

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