Turn the lights on..

Posted 2/12/10 by D-Mac

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The date was May 7th, 2001 and I had just wrapped up a busy day at Bank of Tokyo.. and by busy, I mean I had spent a good portion of the morning sitting at my desk and writing an article for Whatever-Dude about the genre of kids themed sports movies. It was probably one of the more disappointing articles I ever wrote for the site because I had a good idea and I just kind of rushed it and slapped it up on the site, even though if I had taken my time and thought things through, it could’ve been 10x better than it turned out. Strangely enough, someone from another site thought enough of it that they actually approached me a few months later, asking me if I would give them permission to put that article up on their site.. and that site and that article are actually still up there.: http://notcoming.com/features/giantduckbears/.  I mention this because I find it strangely fitting that by doing a google search of my name.. that site is the first result of the remnants of my time spent on the internet. That article.. that day.. May 7th 2001.

Oh, Jesus H. Christ.. you’re really not going to bring up the story about your apartment burning down that day are you? Pleeeeease, you’ve pretty much disappeared from the internet for over five years and your first appearance back you’re going to go with the tired old, “Oh, whoa is me, my apartment burned down routine? Boo fucking hoo, dude..”

First off.. it’s “WOE is me”.. not “whoa is me”. Okay there, Keanu? And secondly, if you hadn’t cut me off, I was going to try to make the whole point as to how that day was the impetus for my slow retreat from doing the one thing that I really enjoyed doing by myself in my spare time.

Maybe you should clear the history on your computer because from where I’m sitting, it looks like you’ve been doing a whole helluva lot..

Writing. I was talking about writing, ok? And by the way, how much trouble would I have been in if the internet had been around when I was 15?

Oh man, you probably would’ve ended up seriously injuring yourself.. And dude, speaking of you at 15..  remember those uniform pants that you had to wear in high school?

Yeah, it’s like here’s a good idea. Let’s take hormonal teenage boys.. put them in a confined area with girls in schoolgirl uniforms all day but give them the flimsiest, most unforgiving slacks known to mankind.

Ha.. thank God for the good ol’ casual, slip your hand in your pocket and manage to tuck it into the waistband on your boxers before you stood up from your desk trick..

Stay off tangent!

Aaaanyways. Where was I? Actually, that kind of was the point I was trying to get to. “Where was I?” Because you see, there I was on May 7th 2001 with a website that I thought was going to be my ticket to a new life; a life outside of the chained to a desk, financial industry worker bee lifestyle that I was already tiring of at 26 years old. To me, the internet was like this wild new frontier back then.. I mean, here you had the dichotomy of a bunch of cold, corporate sites that were basically just an extension of the mainstream media.. and geocities pages of semi-functional people excited because they could talk about their favorite topics using flash player, cheap midi music and various fonts with all of the substance of a 14 year old girl flipping through the latest copy of Tiger Beat magazine..

But somewhere in the middle.. somewhere in the middle was an almost grassroots movement.. people with something to say. Sure, they had to masquerade under the guise that they were talking about 80’s nostalgia.. or pro wrestling.. or whatever title they had to put at the top of the article.. but here was a bunch of young people, putting themselves out there for the world to see and it was beautiful. Websites came. Websites went. Websites fought with each other. Flame wars, feuds.. people who would never meet in real life, forging e-mail and IM friendships, working together to make their website something that they could be proud to be apart of.

There was no money in it.. and if anything, success was a double edged sword because the more hits your site got, the more server costs you incurred and the more expensive your site became to run.. But there was something about it. The thrill of hitting that post button and waiting for all of these people to wander out of the ether to contact you about something that you wrote while having a couple of beers on a Tuesday night. Technological messages in a bottle that you would drop into the virtual ocean.. sitting there.. hoping that whoever picked it up, dug what you had to say and would drop you a line back. It was innocent. It was pure. It was addictive as hell.

Something changed for me though on that day in May 2001. One thing I’ll never forget was after I walked back down from my apartment in shambles.. I was standing on the street talking to a couple of firefighters and I just kind of had this grin plastered on my face. I remember thinking to myself, “Stop smiling. They’re going to think you started the fire.” When one of the firefighters asked me if I was ok, I just kind of replied all nonchalant, “Yeah, I mean what can I do, right? It’s just stuff. The important thing is I wasn’t home when it happened.” The firefighter looked at one of his colleagues and bluntly said, “This guy’s in shock.” and all I could think was, “No, I’m not.. I’m fine.” But in retrospect, he was right.. because here I was a week later, wandering in a daze.. back home in NJ, quitting my job and just genuinely having no direction. The next thing I knew, I find out I’m going to be a Dad.. somebody’s planning my wedding.. and BAM, here I am on May 9th, 2002.. almost a year to the day watching my son being born.

My life was out of my hands and I just went with the flow.. Sure, there would be flashes where I would try and break free and do what I wanted to do.. but that was always met with, “You can’t do that. You’re a Dad now. You have a family to think of and support..” Gradually and systematically, like a person put into a straightjacket, I just stopped struggling altogether and complied. My life was not my life anymore.. and as much as I wanted to keep writing and aspiring to be something more than I was.. eventually I just accepted who I was becoming. Middle class, desk job, come home and play with the kids, have dinner, read some bedtime stories, watch network television, go to bed.. rinse, wash, repeat…

Dude, I’m sorry to interrupt here.. but are you fucking kidding me?! Virtual ocean??

Oh, come on.. that message in a bottle analogy was poignant.

Poignant? You do realize that you wrote articles about such philosophical, high brow entertainment like Dawson’s Creek and 90210, right? I mean, geez, it’s not like you were one of the guys who built the railroads..

The point I was trying to get to, was that here I had a group of very talented writers assembled and a website that was firing on all cylinders and I just basically lost all focus and drive. Instead of being honest with myself and stepping aside from the whole thing and letting it live on without me; pride got in the way and I ended up completely screwing it all up.

So basically, you’re pulling a Haimster here and this is your equivalent of taking an ad out in Variety?

Also, my ankle is broken.. please send help.

Ha.. pretty much.

I guess I figured that when it came to the internet and where I was in life, that I didn’t have anything to talk about that anyone might be remotely interested in reading. I mean, what, were people going to want to read articles with me discussing Elmo videos and cracking jokes about Mr. Noodle’s brother, Mr. Noodle, looking like a homeless person?

Hey, lookie here.. Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle can crack jokes about you too, Macchia!

Or maybe I could’ve been making witty insights about how Boohbah look like an Asian guy’s penis attached to a giant testicle?

Yeah, I picked the yellow one to drive the point home because that joke just wasn't politically incorrect enough..

(still cracking up about that Mr. Noodle picture and caption  by the way..)

So what changed? I don’t know really..  maybe it’s been cracking jokes on my Facebook status updates and getting those thumbs up here and there. Maybe that has awakened the posting demon.. All I know is, I find myself thinking in post ideas for the first time  in a reeeeallly long time. So, what the heck.. let me throw my hat back in the ring. If I can come back better than before.. great. If I end up looking like Joe Namath in a Rams uniform.. hey, I’ll live.

All I know is, after everything I’ve been through over the last few years..   I think I have something to say..


(The internet rejoices and does the Alex Wright dance..)

Waittaminute.. don’t you need like.. you know.. some writers for the site?

All in good time, Bold Italics Devil’s Advocate Inner Voice Gimmick.. All in good time.

5 Responses to “Turn the lights on..”

  1. JCC Says:

    Wow, just wow. Even if you didn’t make the 2009 “deadline” promised by the teaser page that’s been up, this is still awesome. Searching for Kevin Smith stuff on Yahoo so many years ago brought me here. And from there it was Big Meats, X-E, the whole “network” of related sites. It sort of started my whole use of the Internet for entertainment and worldwide communication via forums and all that, rather than just using it to look up information about bands I liked. So for that I thank you. Welcome back, Whatever-Dude.com!

  2. Valentin Salome Says:

    Hi i just stumbled your blog from Bing and been reading some of your posts and just wondering why you selected a WordPress site dont you find it problematic to do anything with? Also a security worry?

  3. Nona Heisse Says:

    sooo fake 😉

  4. Perfect Wedding Says:

    Thanks for the info, I don’t read a lot of blogs on a daily basis but I will be bookmarking yours and checking back often. Also, I like the template you have here, it makes it easy to locate what I am looking for and doesnt distract me to the point that I have to leave,. Did you style your comments like this or is this how your theme was setup originally?

  5. SEO Says:

    I’ve seen progression in every post. Your newer posts are simply wonderful compared to your posts in the past. Keep up the good work!