Gateway Drugs and Gateway Blogs

crispydoc Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Back in the 80s of my youth, I owned one black tie and it was razor thin. Frankie was constantly insisting I relax, and Time magazine was the major determinant of what a given week’s father-son chat would be about.

When Time Magazine ran a cover story on Herpes as the new “Scarlet Letter” of the decade, I could spot the conversation coming a mile away. Dad was doing his best with a type of candid discussion his own Latin father had never had with him.

Dad: (eyes averted, sweating bullets) Time says kids are having sex and getting…diseases. Son, do you know how to protect yourself?
Me: Sure Dad, they teach us all about condoms in school.
Dad: (Relief palpable, sweat now drying on brow) I’m glad we had this talk. You can always come to me.

My sister always possessed greater savvy, cleverly turning my father’s worries into an opportunity for extracting concessions. Consider her master move when Time ran a cover story on teen drivers just before her 16th birthday. (Keep in mind that this was in the early mesozoic, before Uber and cel phones.)

Dad: Time says it’s dangerous to let teens drive. I’m thinking we may want to hold off on letting you use the family stationwagon until you are 18.
Sis: I guess it depends what you think is the greater danger…
Dad: (Confused) What do you mean?
Sis: If I have to be home by curfew, but I can’t drive myself home, I have one of two choices. Option one, I can get a ride home from a friend. I don’t drink, but my friends do, and the risk is that my friend will have been drinking and I could unknowingly get into the car of a drunk driver…
Dad: (Sweating bullets) That’s a terrible idea, please don’t ever do that.
Sis: The other option is I could stay away from the drunk drivers who go home, but what happens then is once people are done with alcohol everyone starts smoking pot. I always leave before that happens, but if I can’t leave the party with my friend, the people who stay behind will offer me pot. Is that what you want, do you want me to smoke pot?
Dad: (Freaking out) No, please don’t become a pothead. You’ll just have to use the car to drive yourself home.
Sis: I guess that would be the safest alternative.

The reason Dad feared one toke would lead Sis into Reefer Madness was because “gateway drugs” were a thing in the 80s. Pot was the start of a slippery slope that led to cocaine that led to crack or heroin that led to heavy metal and boyfriends named El Diablo.

Although the analogy may be a stretch, I’ve experienced a few gateway blogs that have turned me onto additional blogs which in turn led me down the road to hanging up my own shingle and becoming a blogger.  Here’s how I reckon they got me hooked:

Mr. Money Mustache – everyone finds easy access regardless of social stratum. Those dudes (and dudettes) who abide can appreciate the gentle buzz of environmentalism paired with a refreshing punch to the face to startle you out of your mindless consumerist complacency.

Jim Collins – a subset of Mustachians go on pursue his variant of simple, easily reproduced do-it-yourself investing strategy. Financial advice for young people who don’t do spreadsheets.

Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme  – the primo hardcore enthusiast’s roadmap to wealth, complete with an internally consistent philosophy and graphs. I can only liken him to getting an engineer as a patient in the ED – she doesn’t just want to know how you interpret her symptoms, she is determined to understand the complete physiology underlying them.

Go Curry Cracker – not racist, their name is derived from an odd inside joke. Couple meets, gets serious about early retirement, has toddler and continually travels the world just to show it can be done with a kid. Plus, pays zero dollars in taxes multiple years running and details exactly how they do the math on zero tax liabilities (strains credibility, but a careful reader will realize it’s less Wesley Snipes and more about understanding the fine print in tax law). Let’s go with the cracker theme and assume these crackers are baked with more than just love.

Physician On Fire – this guy became my pusher, as his Sunday Best introduced me to some primo grade A blogs that would not have made it onto my radar otherwise. We in the medical profession know that anesthesiologists have unfettered access to the widest array of mind-altering substances, and PoF lived up to the reputation by getting me hooked on other blogs with his weekly anthology and guest posts. I’m still trying to figure out which character he’d be in my blogger version of Dazed and Confused.

The White Coat Investor – okay, I feel guilty using a drug analogy with someone as clean cut and all-American as Dr. Dahle, so let’s spare all of us the awkwardness. He’s brilliant, every doctor should read him, and most physician bloggers aspire to his level of competence and success. ‘Nuff said.

Which bloggers got you hooked?

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