“Hello” seems to be the hardest word…

Posted 2/14/10 by Paul

When Dave told me he had the itch and wanted to “get the band back together”, you can imagine my surprise. For one thing, I don’t recall we were ever in a band together, and secondly I didn’t think he’d be a candidate for head lice. I do hear they only go to clean heads, though, and he has young kids…so I’ll let him off. It took me a while to realize that Dave was serious and that he wanted to resurrect the website.

I’ll be upfront here. At first, I didn’t want to do it. When we first opened W-D back in 2001, I loved writing. The Internet was so different back then, and there was a certain intangible energy about writing your uncensored thoughts and making them accessible to thousands of readers within seconds. After awhile, it became a little bit like a chore for me. I wanted the site to be fun, but we just couldn’t capture the magic we had in the first year. Sure, there were still good articles here and there. We still had something to say. I just wasn’t getting the buzz from writing that I once did.

One of the first things that killed my enthusiasm was the negative nature of the Internet. We were writing for free, writing to make a point, but you just couldn’t please a lot of people. I have come to accept this as a natural byproduct of the Internet. It is full of armchair quarterbacks and people who will just vent because they are unhappy with their own lives. The Internet gives anonymous people a voice and, to be honest, there have been times when I have used that to my advantage.

The big killer for me was Dave taking a backseat from the site. I was left running the site, trying to inject a buzz again.  I missed him. Dave’s energy was responsible for W-D being what it originally was. We had a lot of writers, a lot of talent, but the “vibe” just wasn’t the same. We decided back in 2004 to end the site. It just wasn’t fun anymore and people reading the site could tell the spark was gone.

Life has moved on. Dave has two kids, while I have three. We have both grown up a lot, experienced more of life’s highs and lows. Safe to say, we are much different people than we were back then. Life molds you, fatherhood changes you and you start to learn more about yourself as life goes on. I’ll give you an idea how much life changes: when we were doing the site originally, Katie Holmes was the quiet girl-next-door on “Dawson’s Creek”, Mel Gibson was loved by the Jewish communities and Britney Spears was considered wholesome.

Things HAVE changed.

I am happier now than I have ever been and, when you consider that, it might concern you as I don’t think that would gel with some of the articles I was writing. For the record, though, most of the “anger” was for dramatic effect. Sorry!

When I look back on the site, I look back with a sense of fondness. We had a lot of really good articles, most of which have aged really well. I’ve noticed in life that people seem to like categorizing things and pigeonholing people.

To a large extent, W-D was categorized as a shallow, throwaway humor site. Sure, there was that aspect to it, with us not taking things too seriously. Looking through the archives, though, it was clear that there was so much substance there. It wasn’t just cynicism. Some of our articles were very perceptive and meaningful.


Meaningful and perceptive

If you look at the site as “humor”, you might miss the bigger picture. I can honestly say that the site was better than we even thought ourselves. Even the endless “!!111” gags stand up well, because it mocks the silliness that now permeates social networking sites, as opposed to AOL Instant Messenger and TV show forums. The Internet has grown up, it seems. It’s only about six years since we closed W-D but even giants like Google were non-entities back then.

New technologies now make it easier for us to be lazy and stay at home, whilst posting our pictures and stream of consciousness. The world seems even closer now. Dave sent me an email the other day from his phone, while I can receive emails on mine. This might seem so routine now, but technology staggers me. We have the world at our fingertips and so much variety. Sites like YouTube are a godsend and would have made writing articles a lot easier. Now they will 🙂

So, here we are. Dave and I are back in the saddle and this is the way it should be, and please excuse the awkward homoerotic subtext of that phrase. I am here to have fun now and just write what I want, without feeling I need to conform to a certain “style”. This new WordPress is a joy. The site manages itself now.

It’s great and the way it always should have been.

I would like to thank all the writers who made W-D what it was, Dave AND Tom for getting us back and all the readers who read us and sent words of hate or encouragement. Give us some time to shake off the ring rust and we will deliver. Stick around and you might even see some familiar names back here…

I’m glad to be back and am pleased to get the uncomfortable, humor-free intro out of the way 🙂

Paul

paul@whatever-dude.com

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