2.22 Search Engine Optimization
A Search Engine Optimizer (SEO) is an online organizer that plugs into a website and helps filter your content through delegating tags and streamlining key words. For example, if a user types into Google 'paul dore contradiction logic', the SEO identifies these key words and my website appears under the search results. The SEO plugin comes equipped with the ability to see what key words users have typed in order to stumble upon my website. Some are understandable, others are ridiculous. I decided to write a story using the more interesting key words. So, in the following entry, highlighted links represent real key words that users used to find my website. The links bring you to the corresponding original story. The one-legged man had but one passion in his life: The sport of figure skating. This passion appeared early in his life, well before losing his leg as a soldier.
At a young age, the one-legged man's parents placed him in hockey lessons. His parents were always late picking him up from the arena and he was mesmerized by the figure skaters who practiced after the hockey players finished. After a dismal season of hockey, he persuaded his parents to buy him a pair of black figure skates. The one-legged man had little skill, but anyone watching him could see the joy on his face being out on the ice brought him.
The one-legged man had a more specific figure skating passion: Nancy Kerrigan. Remember her? The American skater who was attacked prior to the 1994 Olympics, the victim of a conspiracy headed up by her rival, Tonya Harding. The one-legged man was a teenager by this point and watched Kerrigan's performance without breathing. He felt she was very brave. She won the silver. He thought she was robbed.
His chances of becoming a world class figure skater slowly diminished. He became depressed, found it difficult to leave his room. He wouldn't make it down the stairs. Instead, he was a child sitting on top of a staircase, unable to move forward with his life.
The one legged man discovered painting. The stark and somber images in Gustave Dore's paintings filled the void. There was one painting that he looked at over and over, and which he referred to as the old man and the sea and anger. He felt like an old man that was lost at sea. His anger an anchor keeping him there.
How do fears change with age? He needed to row himself back to shore. The one-legged man decided to join the army. He was shipped to Iraq. One day during a routine patrol, he stepped on an IED and was thrown into the air. He landed with a thud on the sandy ground. His leg landed about twenty yards away.
Before he went off to war, Tillsonburg Police Officer Paul Dore visited his high school class. The one-legged man was impressed, and decided he would join the police force when he returned from his tour of duty. Like many desires and dreams in his life - Olympic figure skater, renowned painter - working as a police officer would never come to fruition.
The one-legged man experienced terrible phantom limb pain. He refused to get out of bed, refused to look at the space where his leg used to be. He was shipped home but told his parents he didn't want to see them. “Don't worry about me,” he told them over the phone. “The little limp me.”
There was a contradiction in being alone. The one-legged man wanted companionship, but all he found were amputee masochists. He spent his days looking at pictures of the brain parts, the brain stem, the three main parts of the brain. He read about hand-leg-brain attention, neurogenesis of neurons, how fake right hands attached to bodies and simulated replaced limbs. He looked for brain contradictions that would enable him to understand how to bring his one-legged life closer to his two-legged life. He wanted to be normal again.
One night, the one-legged man was reading the most recent Jonathan Ames novel. He was considering a workshop at the Humber School for Writers and Ames was guest speaking. Two other renowned authors that appealed to his sensibility, Wayson Choy and Richard Chhoy, were also members of the faculty. He took a break from reading and watched television. He flipped through an infomercial selling a sacred hair growth spray that displayed before and after pictures. Another channel advertised a new medication that cured menstrual cramps after a hysterectomy. And yet another commercial was for tourism, using the odd catch phrase: Toronto, a city of contradictions.
All his dreams melded into one. It was as though he walked through a parallel dore and into an alternate universe. He came across a news story on the television about the figure skater Nancy Kerrigan. She was being interviewed about her recent developments in the field of prosthetics. The one-legged man stopped following figure skating after the loss of his leg and didn't know Kerrigan pursued a PhD in neuroscience and had become a leading researcher in the development of ground breaking prosthetics. Dr. Kerrigan displayed for the journalist a prosthetic leg that was controlled by the brain.
The next morning, the one legged-man limped down the street to a travel agency located in The Lighthouse Shopping Centre and booked a flight to San Diego, where Dr. Kerrigan was based. He was a strange man running. In the airplane, looking down, skyscrapers were frogs on lily pads and he wondered if it's healthy to cough white noise - does it add or subtract to the existing level of perseverance?
By the time the plane landed, he had a new dream, evolved from his old ones. He would become the first one-legged Olympic figure skater and then go on to be a police officer.
The one-legged man arrived at the university. It was early in the morning and the halls were empty. As he approached Dr Kerrigan's office, he heard a piano playing a soft hymn. Sadness. The piano sadness. He did not interrupt. When she finished playing, the one-legged man introduced himself and his situation.
“Prevent rat toilet,” Dr. Kerrigan said.
“Pardon me?” The one-legged man replied.
“Oh, I'm sorry,” she said. “It's just a phrase I repeat to remind myself not to get too empathetic with people who come with problems like yours.”
“There's been others?” he asked.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “You have no idea.”
Dr. Kerrigan handed him a pamphlet called, Making Your Own Mirror Box, and sent him on his way. The mirror box was created by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran and helped patients relieve phantom limb pain. The one-legged man tried the mirror box before and it didn't work. He didn't want a cure for the pain, he wanted to be a two-legged person again, he wanted access to her research and developments, even if that meant it would still be prosthetic. He wanted his brain to control both limbs again.
The one-legged man left San Diego more depressed than he had ever been in his life. On the plane ride home, he watched the personal entertainment system and concluded that all logic was missing in movies.
When the plane landed, he thought, Screw Nancy Kerrigan.
The one-legged man immediately called his parents and reconciled, asked for their help, which they were more than happy to provide. He was fitted for an old fashioned prosthetic leg. He worked hard. The phantom pain haunted him. He was fitted for specially made figure skates, taking into consideration his special circumstances. The one-legged man concluded that pain was an i, a little i, but if it went uncontrolled, that little i became as big as the all encompassing eye found on the American dollar bill.
The Olympics were not possible, but the one-legged man competed at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City. His routine was performed to a Neil Diamond medley, the same music Nancy Kerrigan used for her 1994 Olympic program. Putting aside the fact he was the only competitor, he did come home with a gold medal. The one-legged man went on to become a police officer, and with his position, another first. He was the first one-legged police officer in Tillsonburg.
The one-legged man was so proficient at walking with his prosthetic leg, that most people couldn't tell, didn't know. To most, he was a normal, average, two-legged man. He was the very emulation of an upward evening star. He was happy.