#2198 In a Four-Issue Limited Series
I always knew how it would end. I just didn't know when. But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
Once I decided I was going to start a blog like my friends Curt and Jerry, I began mentally composing my first post in my head. Every morning when I drove to work, my usual anxiety about passing out behind the wheel(a long story, told here many times and mostly resolved), was replaced by subconscious prose. No matter the variation, it always started with the same line: ”When I was five years old, I thought I was Spider-man.” On Wednesday, October 13th, that line became a reality. I didn't really have a theme like Curt did with marriage or my friend Rey had with the bible or my buddy B13 would have with photography. I just wrote about myself, how my accident-prone life took shape early on, how I lived a life of inverse probability. Something that had a 2% chance of happening to one person would have a 98% chance of happening to me. It would take me years to realize that, at one time or another, we all fall into that unfortunate 98%. That's just life.
I didn't know how long it would last. For years I had occupied myself on the internet with a message board based RPG/fanfiction. It was where a “Neurotic O.R.B.” became a “Mysterious Cloaked Figure” and about 100 other characters. And in the ashes of a game that went from dozens of writers to me role-playing by myself, MCF the blogger was born. I wrote about obscure comic book characters(the “O.R.B.” in my original handle came from my college “Obscure Reference Boy” nickname). I wrote about cartoons and television shows. I wrote about my life and my family. The freedom of anonymity allowed me to be open and honest about my likes, dislikes, and fears. More than anything, it was a cathartic exercise. It was good to clear all that stuff out my brain at the end of each day. If no one but 3 or 4 of my friends read what I wrote, it would have still been rewarding. More than 3 or 4 people read and interacted with my posts, so it was amazing.
Somehow, I kept things going every day. Even when there were technical difficulties, or family difficulties, I made sure I posted something. There were more than a few memes, which felt like cheating, and more than a few memes and games of my own creation, which felt slightly less like cheating. A lot happened in six years. Friends had kids and moved away. We had one cat make a miraculous recovery, while another has been slowly slipping away for over a year now. My dad nearly died from a shoulder infection, overcame that, and then survived a heart artery bypass operation at the age of 80. My mom spent time in the hospital and spent time at craft fairs. I played a lot of music on weekends with my Baritone horn. Loved ones left us. We lost my music teacher, my Aunt Irene, my Aunt Josie and my mom's cousin. My mom's brother is still with us physically; mentally not so much. I lost my job at a company I'd been with for 7.5 years, only to land on my feet at another for just over three years now. And we lost LOST, but that was kind of a good thing. Six years is a long time, and it's good that they didn't drag things out any longer like some shows. It was time, and I was glad I was here to see it end, and share my thoughts on that ending. I was glad my dad survived his surgery to see the finale. Truth be told, I'm of course glad he survived. It's strange to think that without LOST, 24 and Prison Break, he and I no longer have shows we watch together. It's just on the brink of going on too long, but maybe I should get the old man back into Supernatural, or as he referred to it back when it began, “The Brothers”. He’d ask, “What’s on, ‘The Brothers'?” then go to bed at the first sign of blood or anything gory.
The first time I kissed a girl, I was stalling like crazy, talking about anything to avoid getting out of her car, searching for that awkward pause to make a move but never shutting up long enough to get it. Finally, in talking about Halloween costumes, she mentioned once dressing up like a Hershey's Kiss. “Kiss...” I repeated, then she repeated it, then we sat there for like another minute, the longest ever, before I leaned in for a quick peck. I did this a few more times because I really liked that first one, then jumped out and went home, and later apologized on the phone if I had been “too forward”. It took me a while to get there, but I would definitely become a lot more forward in the years we dated. I'm not sure what this story has to do with anything, save as an example of how I can filibuster and stall before getting to something scary and wonderful.
When Transformers #1 came out, it was billed as “#1 in a Four-Issue Limited Series”. But it was a popular franchise, with both toys and a cartoon, and if Marvel got 75 issues out of ROM, they could definitely do the same with a larger cast of licensed characters. At the end of the fourth issue, it looked like all of our heroes were dead, which was a pretty crummy way to end things. But it all led up to an announcement that there'd be an issue #5, and that issue had one of my all time favorite covers. I love that painting. The comic book outlasted the cartoon, and most of the toy line. When it finally ended, the last issue sported “#80 in a Four-Issue Limited Series” across the top. This was the end, but it wasn't a defeat. It was a victory, because it survived far longer than anyone planned.
This is #2198 in my Four-Issue Limited series. The blogosphere is not what it once was, but it's not the decline in readership that brings us to the end of the road. Even if it was three or four people and myself, that would be enough for me to write for. The problem is, I started to lose myself. I got more and more tired at night, and it became harder to write what I considered quality posts. There was a lot more a filler, a lot more phoning it in. In writing about my life instead of living it, I had a lot less to write about. There was the occasional party or adventure, but for the most part my best stories were in my youth, and I'd told them all before, some more than once. I began thinking about what I could do with more free time. Would I finally buy a house or join a dating site? Would I teach myself web design or start drawing again? Would I finish the list of books I had put aside years ago? Would I clean my room? At the very least, it might be nice to get a full night's sleep again. I'd often set the time for my post to 12:01 AM, an obscure reference to a cheesy television movie I loved and one of many Easter eggs hidden over the years, but most nights I was up far later by the time I got done with work, gym, television shows, and movies. I was getting less out of the experience, and if my heart wasn't in it, what incentive was there for my readers?
My 2000th post, commemorated by the first truly revealing photo of myself from my company's last Christmas party, would have been a fine place to end things. Part of me wasn't sure if there would be a 2001. For years I'd teased, and with that revelation there wasn't much else I could share. For someone as obsessed with numbers as I am, 2000 had a nice round feel to it. 2198 is a strange number. What does it mean? 2+1+9+8=20, and 2+0=2, and there’s my 2% luck, so there's that. But more importantly, I wanted to finish out my sixth year, my sixth season, and tie up all the loose ends. I also didn't want to come to this decision rashly, to quit and break my streak because I was feeling a little tired. On Thursday, when there's no new post, there is no going back. I can't go on to 2199; my next post would be 1 and I’d be starting over.
I always did ramble on. I always buried ledes, then dug them up, then buried them again. Even now, part of me isn't sure there won't be a 2199. And this definitely won't be the last you see of me. You have my E-mail address, and I'll certainly still check this blog and respond to comments. Who knows, with more free time, I might be able to comment on your blogs some more, something I admittedly got away from. And this might even turn out to be like that stunt comic books pull, when they start over with a new issue #1 to boost readership and increase sales. I don't think I'll ever add to the Nexus, but maybe down the road there will be a new blog. I don't know if it will be daily, or what it will be about. Maybe it will be one day a week, “Sundays with MCF” or “MCF's Weekly Artwork” or something. Maybe my presence on the internet will shift to my weirdest role yet, myself, if anyone tracks me down on one of those social networky things.
Today I am alive. I'm proud of the words and pictures I put on the internet, proud to have achieved some form of digital immortality. Today, my parents and my pets are alive. My family and friends are alive. I can’t speak for tomorrow, or the day after, or the one after that. This is a moment frozen in time, and a good time. Life is change, and for every up, there will soon be a down. I can look back and travel through time and visit any up place in my life in the last six years. I can visit the down places too, because it's important to remember both. It is important to remember it all. Today is a good time to end. Today is a good time to begin.
God bless you all.
The rest....is silence.