by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
August 8, 2006
HITS FROM ALL OVER
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- It was midnight and while I was getting ready for bed a woman in the United Kingdom silently entered my Website. She didn't enter my pages on the World Wide Web by way of the URL (Universal Resource Locator), nor by my name, for that matter. She had typed "Badger's Parting Gifts" in Google's search engine. This children's book was once mentioned casually in an article I wrote called Parting Gifts.
This little "hit" to my website was no different from scanning television stations with a view toward finding one you like. I don't think Nielsen Ratings count a pass by as a bonafide viewer of the show. So, hits that come to my Web site are not a real indication of traffic - unless the viewer stays for a couple of minutes and reads a few pages.
It's interesting, though, to see what people are searching for.
During the same time period as the woman from the UK, there was a hit from Newfoundland where the search words were "sailor's blessing." I popped up because I once wrote about The Blessing of the Fleet as it's done in Southeast Georgia and where it originated in Mediterranean ports. My article topped the list of 10 out of 44,500 - Google literally reaches for straws in trying to match the question to the most probably answer.
The hits come from all over the world and surprisingly enough, the most common hit among the 3,399 since I installed the Site Meter come from the search request "kleptomania." I once wrote an article called "Klepto and Other Maniacs." It was around the time that Winona Ryder was caught and prosecuted for shoplifting in a department store.
My article focused on celebrities who would appear to have everything taking things they could easily afford.
I'm sure my light piece was not what the searchers were looking for but I'm wondering about the keen interest - universally - in the subject. In a letter written by Steve Houseworth, Executive Director of "Theft Talk" Counseling Services, Inc. to "Dateline," he comments on their news story on kleptomania, suggesting the subject "captivates an audience's imagination ... as much as the notion of a split personality." He said he found it amazing that our culture calls stealing a disease and has a "Doctor" seeking proper medication to "fix this poor victim's malady."
Houseworth counsels theft offenders and wasn't at all surprised that the medications didn't work. He wrote a couple more paragraphs of tongue-in-cheek comments telling me he thinks as I do. They have "sticky fingers" we used to say, He suggests that if is a compulsive desire and impulsive behavior how is it that items stolen are not only to be worn by her but in her size.
Further, "from a counseling perspective, this lady will continue to have a license to steal as long as she believes she is not in control of her behavior."
That's what I found just now when I googled kleptomania so next time someone gets me for an answer, there'll be something more to think about. The letter to Dateline, by the way, was the only one I "opened;" there are many experts and their opinions on the popular subject.
There was someone in Finland, 8416 miles away, according to the site meter, who found my Website in searching the words "enema stories." I know. What were they thinking; what have I written? Well, a few years ago I wrote and article called "Bald Cats and Other Nightmares." (The American Reporter editor said he read the article with his hand covering his eyes.) In that article the searched for word was used once, as I recall, and it was certainly not the focus of the article.
What I discovered, however - when I decided to do some searching for myself - are sites devoted to collecting personal stories. There's the enema story collection and the childbirth story collection and other stories we don't usually talk about over the kitchen table, but still garner interest from Finland to Timbuktu.
Interestingly enough, the searching being done is for the most part about ordinary things. I've written about school shootings, protests, the G-8 meetings here on St. Simons Island, race relations, environmental issues, immigration problems, our Presidents and elections, along with other things that could be of interest to people searching for some negative opinions of life in America. No hits to my Website for those subjects. Just little things: a poet here, a hurricane there; an Irish toast, and Irish wake, a pet funeral, old pictures, school reunions.
I imagine searchers who visit overnight (according to the time in their country) to be biding time, not researching or doing homework. I picture a darkened room with only the computer's glare to light his way to the door for another cup of tea. And then perhaps sleep will come.
But I'll never know. I'll never know why they came to my door or how they got here. Did they find what they were looking for? Will they come back again? Was I accepted or rejected, bookmarked or deleted, plagiarized or quoted? Was their visit a hit - or a miss?