I’ve often thought I invented something.
Nothing huge like, say, the Internet.
But sometimes I’ll hear somebody say something and I’ll think, “I thought of that a week ago!”
Or I’ll hear a common saying and think I was the first to think of it.
I’m trying to come up with an example to illustrate this, but I’m sure you know the feeling – I don’t think it’s unique to me. (It may be unique to me how often I think it compared to other people. I think I have an active mind.)
What I imagine must happen is that I’m exposed to something, it sits in my subconscious for a little bit, and then when I hear it come from a second (or third or fourth) source, I feel like I’ve had my idea stolen…or it went public some other way.
It’s happened with jokes, it’s happened with sayings, and it has happened more than once in these past 149 days…most recently this week.
I need to stress here – I’m not upset. I really don’t think my ideas are being stolen in any way…if anything, it makes me second-guess that I’m not stealing other people’s ideas.
But what I’m about to tell you is really nothing more than a bunch of strange coincidences.
The first thing, which I mentioned quickly in the 100th New Thing post, was shortly after I wrote about Billy Joel singing with the student at Vanderbilt University, it picked up steam and ended up being more widely publicized. Going viral, as they say. It appeared on a bunch of other sites, and I knew it was pretty popular because a lot of “Billy Joel Vanderbilt Student” searches brought people to my site. (While we’re on the topic, Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured a lengthy Q & A with Billy Joel. It’s worth the read.)
Another coincidence was from my pal Justin, who wrote about his fake friendship with Marc Maron less than a week after I had written about how it feels being a fan of Maron, and Maron, and WTF with Marc Maron. After I read what Justin wrote, I traded texts with him, and then I guess he read what I wrote, and he felt the need to tell me that he hadn’t read mine before he wrote his. I believe him entirely. I just think it’s weird that we were thinking the same thing at just about the same time. (Well, not too weird. There’s a reason we’re good friends.)
Further, on Sunday in the Boston Globe Magazine, there was a feature article on the proliferation of frozen yogurt places, with – you guessed it – Orange Leaf featured prominently.
Finally, my wife directed me to this article on Tuesday. It’s all about chia – the ingredient I wrote about on Tuesday as one of the things I didn’t include in my smoothie. (Looks, too, like I was wrong about referring to it as a ‘shake’.)
On the one hand I feel a little validated. I’m the only one driving the content on this site, and for me to be hitting on so many current topics, well, I feel good about that. My finger is kind of on the pulse, it seems. If I notice there seem to be a lot of frozen yogurt options out there – whether or not the yogurt tastes different from one place to the next – well, it seems other people are noticing it too.
On the other hand this is all very weird. I’m far from a trend-setter. But maybe I’ve accidentally stumbled across some eternal truth: there’s no such thing as trend-setters, only people who are willing to try New Things.