Wednesday, February 7, 2018

And I'm Out

No Caption Exists After Mic Drop
This is going to be long and rambly, because it has to be. If you've indulged me before, you probably will again, so. On with it.

I've been writing online for longer than many of the people who might read this have been alive.

No, seriously. I was on the Internet during the first term of the Reagan era, when it was nothing more than CB radio on monochrome monitors. What existed back then was people writing paragraphs here and there about whatever it was that they cared about. The BBSes (Bulletin Board System) required you to tie up your only phone line, delivered nothing more than the copy that someone else pretty much wrote by hand, and were reactive and nerdy and insular and driven by the one profile in a hundred or so who looked female.

For me, as a teenager, it was glorious. It also changed my life more than just about, well, anything.

Being on a BBS made me type, every day, so that I got really fast and good at typing, at a time when typing was still taught in school. (Which helped me pay the bills after college, also. Anyway.) It got me writing, every day. It reinforced the (only?) thing that I thought I could do, and gave me the only thing that makes you better at any craft, which is repetition and an audience.

The BBS world to me was like the open mic womb room to a stand up, the improv class to an actor, the jam room to a musician. Eyes and reps. Talent and persistence and a style is all secondary to eyes and reps. Without eyes and reps, you have nothing.

I got pretty good at it. After a couple of years, one of the adults in the room, a guy by the name of Dave Goldstein, reached out to me to see if I wanted a job working for his company. Dave didn't blink when he learned that I was 16, and neither did his boss, Arthur Haines. They also decided that what the hell, I was cheaper than a grown up and utterly and totally dedicated to the thing, so let's give him a shot. My first of many start ups paid me about $240 a week after taxes for a 7 days a week work from home part time job, which is to say more money than any teenager in the '80s should probably have ever had. They also scratched me a sizable check to help me start the college experience. I provided them a news re-posting service on news, business, entertainment and sports. They also indulged me writing columns. Which led to an interest in journalism, which lead to a pursuit of a degree, which led to yada yada yada.

All of this is, actually, a little beside the point. Let's get back to that.

Back in the BBS days, people would occasionally get annoyed (imagine that, people getting annoyed with someone else on the Internet), and then discover that they had no more time for this, and screw you guys, I'm going home. So you'd write your exit post, make it as dramatic as possible because From Day 1 The Internet Did Not Notice Or Care About Anything That Wasn't An A+ Or An F-, and hit send.

Then you'd log back in some time later, maybe under some other profile, to see what people wrote after your suicide note. Because you pretty much have to.

I was not above this, of course. I was a teenager, prone to all of the usual drama and dumbness, and finding out What People Really Think about you is absolutely irresistible, especially when you are that age. (My return fake pseudo after my most dramatic exit was a guy who posted in constant Prince speak, which was an awful lot of work and so dumb, I'm still kind of proud of it. But I digress.)

So the very nature of Final Post has all of the Oh Grow Up And Who Are You Kidding and Who The Fuck Cares playing in the back of my mind. (Hey, he's cursing on his blog! It must be The End.)

But, well, still. I'm out.


> Well, the Eagles won the Super Bowl. If you are ever going to stop writing about sports, now would be the time. They could rattle off a dozen more of these during my lifetime, and none will have the impact of this win. As sports highs go, the heroin is never going to get more pharma-grade 100% pure than what we just experienced.

> But wait, don't you care more about hoop? Well, sure, and, but. Hoop takes games and games, and the Sixers have won in my lifetime. Joel Embiid is my Patronus and all, and Ben Simmons is the absolute tits, and I like great chunks of the rest of the roster, but. I don't really believe in the GM, they won't be as satisfying as Julius Erving and Mo Cheeks dunking the Lakers into oblivion, and so on.

> There's also this: one of the reasons that I did the blog was, well, For Money. There's really no money in blogging anymore, and even the money that there was isn't in the same world as ride sharing. Or anything else that qualifies as an occupation. If you aren't getting paid to write, you are, in fact, paying to write. Which seems like a bad use of time, at least right now. The audience on this blog has been going down for longer than it has existed, and what used to be a four-figure a year annual side hustle is now a small percentage of that. That's the nature of advertising on the Web, and this blog has never done all that well with the tip jar.

Need more? There's more.

> With the Eagles covering the spread in the Super Bowl, my all-time picks record is EXACTLY at .500. There's something poetic about ending on the perfect coin flip.

> I no longer have cable, or a television, or go to games. I also don't play fantasy baseball anymore, and my last laundry (the Oakland A's) do not seem to be in the business of trying to win baseball games, so caring about them is stupid. I don't care all that much about the Olympics, or hockey, or soccer, or golf. Pretty thin amount of stuff to cover for a sports blog.

> Sports are for people with free time, and if I've learned anything in this world, it's that Time Is Never Free.

> I've written a lot about poker on this blog, and while I still play and enjoy my home game, I'm no longer watching it on television, or thinking about it very much outside of my home game. Besides, I've come to the mathematically-driven realization that I am not all that great about it. I generally turn a small profit every year, and in the big casino tournaments that I've tried, I haven't been comfortable or enjoyed the experience. So, not sure that's terribly necessary content to write.

> I am 48 years old, with two kids and a wife that don't live on the same coast and don't get nearly enough support, love and attention. What they get right now is financial support. I have to be more than that. Watching and writing about sports doesn't check that box. There's also the fact that I turned off my phone during the final minutes of the Super Bowl, which did damage to people back home, and colors the memory of that, even. So.

> There's also this. Just look at the posts per year numbers on the right side of the board. I've pretty much been quitting this thing for a long time now, right?

The blog will stay up until the domain needs to be renewed. If something incredibly unlikely happens, I reserve the right to do something after this, but, well, really not seeing it.

I'd like to thank everyone who ever read this blog. I'd really like to thank Jason Harris, Phil Hollrah, Dave Scocca and Al Houser, who also posted to it at various times. I'd also like to thank the people in Blogfrica (what sports bloggers use to call the sports blogosphere a decade or so ago, when it seemed like writing about sports could create Fame Or Something), and the sites that have linked to this one over the years. At times, that's been Deadspin and ESPN and Awful Announcing and YardBarker, along with too many more that are no more. There's also some folks who have bought ads, and others who paid for content, and so on.

You've all been great, you've all kept me going for a really long time.

But, well, it's not enough anymore. Nobody's fault, nobody's tragedy.

Thanks for reading. Be well.

(And yeah, I'll check back and read the comments, because you have to.)


DougH said...

Dave - I applaud your decision, as it seems to be made for all the right reasons. I enjoyed the times I did read your musings, and I think you hit the nail on the head when you noted that now the Eagles have won their first Super Bowl, when else would it be as good?

Thanks for the Five Tool Tool - may it live forever in archives of the Internet!

Tracer Bullet said...

Well. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Dave, this is Will from YB (not linking to my Google account). Wasn't a fan of how things ended (the big corporate thing fell through and everything else with it). But have always been a fan and read you well through the days of when the old network became outdated. All the best to you.

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