About Tradetricks.org

Hi, my name is Matthew Baldwin. I write a blog called defective yeti, I am a contributing writer for The Morning News, and now I'm trying to write a book. Maybe.

As with all great endeavors, this one began with a birthday clown. Specifically, it was an interview with a birthday clown that I read several years ago, in which the subject revealed a fascinating (to me) trick of the his trade. "What if you’re dying out there? What if the kids are hating it?” the interviewer asked. And the clown said, well, then I just resort to one of my Funny Words. Every year, it seems, there are two or three Funny Words that invariably crack kids up, and when things are going sour, you can blurt one out and bring the house down. But a clown’s got to keep up to date, because the Funny Words mysteriously change over time. Where "booger" might have killed in 1998, 2004 demands nothing less than an "underpants."

Anyhow, I recently I recalled this interview and, out of curiosity, wrote a post on my blog asking if my readers had any "Tricks Of The Trade" they'd like to share. The respond was overwhelming -- I received hundreds of replies in just a few days. From these I selected 30 and put them into a piece for The Morning News.

The reaction to the article was even greater than the reaction to my original request for submissions. The essay occupied the #1 spot on both Blogdex and Daypop for most of the week, and received mention on usatoday.com, Metafilter, Boing Boing and Kottke. It even wound up used as the basis for a pop quiz given to Dr. Ruth Westheimer on the nationally broadcast NPR program "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

In the wake of all this, I set up tradetricks.org for two reasons. First, I wanted to have a place to post more of the great Tricks I'd been sent. Second, a number of folks encouraged me to gather still more TotTs and compile them into a small book.

To that end, I am asking visitors to this site to submit their Tricks of the Trade, and encourage anyone they know with a nifty occupational secret to do likewise.

The vast majority of the Tricks I've been receiving have been submitted anonymously, so if you want to go that route, you're more than welcome to. On the other hand, if you want tro include your name and URL, I'll give you attribution when I post your trick to the website. (Email addresses will only be used if I need to ask you about something for clarification -- that's it). Since I don't know what format this hypothetical book will take yet I can't say whether names will be included with those entries that are used there, my guess is "probably not" given that the majority would just be signed "Anonymous." Just so you know.

At any rate, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you find these Tricks Of The Trade as fascinating as I do.

Matthew Baldwin