November 2009


Wendell Ends Well

This is my last blog post. I regret to announce that Wendell and Me have broken up.

Anyone who has been following me too closely in my past ten years of blogging knows Wendell is not my legal name. It originated from a family joke about naming the baby alliteratively that I picked up on when I wanted to make a whimsical identity for my college-era radio endeavors more than 30 years ago. Wendell actually spent years in cold storage until these Internet and Blogging things came along. I’m proud that Wendell and his blog OneSwellFoop (domain name long lost) made the first blogroll in 1999 (and became the first to be banned from the blogroll after an ill-defined prank on the blogroller). I’m proud to be one of the earliest members of MetaFilter, with a user number (206) lower than most of the people who work for the site, and to have become a site cliche under better circumstances than I deserved (because somebody noticed ‘wendell’ is an anagram for ‘end well’).

Well, it’s time to End Well, because trying to hold onto this identity much longer would surely make for a more unhappy ending. There’s a gap in my online activity during which I fell into a deep depression, and I used writing and Being Wendell as a ‘drug’ to help overcome it. It worked, but like so many drugs, I developed an unhealthy dependency on it, even as its effectiveness has waned over time.

Even as I have ignored the fact that I was neglecting almost everything else in favor of my on-line identity, I have found it getting harder and harder to sustain it. The time I take to write anything has frustratingly grown longer, until, while preparing my last MetaFilter post, I realized that, if I were getting paid for the writing by Demand Media (the subject of the post), I’d be earning less than minimum wage.

I need to work on regaining my other abilities (or at least my interest in my other abilities), so I’m shutting down the Wendelling. Now, those abilities may result in some web-based things, but they won’t be in blog form. And my new MetaFilter identity, “oneswellfoop” will occasionally be heard from, just within a very restricted format. I have already been neglecting both on-line and real-life relationships for a while, but in order to restore the latter, I’ll need to cut off the former entirely, at least for a while.

I’m disabling comments here (if I can figure out how) because I don’t want to be tempted to come back and see how people are reacting. Frankly, it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – matter, I need to do this for myself and I have already wasted so much time thinking this out that I just want to DO IT. And no, I’m not revealing my True Identity here; I just don’t trust the Google.

To those of you out on the Internets who care, have a nice life. To those of you who don’t, neither do I.