This Has All Been Wonderful
Saturday marked the third anniversary of Slack LaLane's unfortunate inception, and on this Memorial Day, we pause not to remember those who deserve and who've earned our respect, but instead to celebrate three long years of casual racism, misguided misogyny and equal parts self-aggrandizement and self-deprecation. It's been a remarkable run.
Thirty-seven months ago I received a phone call from my longtime associate Don Fiedler, who wanted to emulate our friend Mulgrew's burgeoning success by starting one of them blogs. As is custom with our good ideas, nothing materialized immediately -- we were impeded by the simple task of finding an online moniker for the site.
In May of 2004 I sat in my apartment listening to some hilarious stage banter from a bootleg of the popular rock band Phish's 5/28/89 show, and our eventual blog's name jumped right from the Maxell XLII to the free blogger template. Donnie dropped by for an evening of Yank'ums baseball, and we filled out some basic information. The rest, as they say, is histor...ical lameness.
About 1,100 days have elapsed since that fateful evening, and since then we've published 1,540 posts, some of them short blurbs, some epic narratives, some news and some opinion, some about sports, some about politics, but most about complete and utter nonsense. We've tried to be your sherpas in the quest to tackle boredom, your Internet wrangler, your web shepherd, the mercury in your online thermometer. And even though Fox News curiously credited us as a legit news source on its heavily watched 7 pm newscast, I feel as though we've done our level best to earn a reputation as a fierce playground of irreverence.
But as I've begun to realize, there's only so many times you can write a post with the phrase "a total Schiavo" in place of "no-brainer" (27, actually). Did I really substitute "craisins" for "crazy" in 53 separate posts? And how many times can we make fun of the handicapped, the blacks and the Jews before it loses all meaning altogether?
So if this blog started by borrowing its name from the words of a certain Vermont foursome, maybe it should borrow from their graceful exit as well: "This Sunday, I got together with Don to talk openly about the strong feelings I've been having that Slack LaLane has run its course and that we should end it now while it's still on a high note. Once we started talking, it quickly became apparent that Don's feelings, while not all the same as mine, were similar in many ways -- most importantly, that we both love and respect Slack and the Slack audience far too much to stand by and allow it to drag on beyond the point of vibrancy and health. We don't want to become caricatures of ourselves, or worse yet, a nostalgia act. "
I've often said that bloggers and blog readers employ the perfect combination of exhibitionism and voyeurism. I've loved sharing our world with everyone, but sometimes, for one reason or another, it's best to shut the drapes. The writing's been on the screen for quite some time now. Between my real job and the music blog I so often plug here, Slack's sadly become an afterthought in our world of mighty procrastination. And instead of letting the quality steadily decline, the time to close the curtains has officially come.
We started out as yucksters making some weird jokes, but eventually we fell in love with the community that sprouted in the comments section. And online relationships begot real friendships, and I've truly met some great people through this endeavor. I'm not sure I'll miss posting daily, but I'll certainly miss reading the perspective so many of you brought to the blog in between meetings and classes and social events. Many of the names have changed from the early days, but everyone who posted a comment made it possible for us to last this long. Three years, 650,000 visitors and 1.1 million hits later, we're flatly out of gas and ready for bed.
For those of you that can stomach music talk, I'll still be posting regularly over on my Hidden Track outpost, and I'll probably be starting another niche site by the end of the summer. And if you're really jonesin' for some Slack attitude, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you a shot of our boobies and the top offbeat story of the day.
And since I can't find a clever way to sign off forever, I'll just link to a song I wrote many years ago for occasions of this magnitude:
Class is dismissed. Yous're all on your own now. Thanks for playing.