2000 posts. It’s been over two years since my 1000th post, and I never thought I’d actually reach this milestone.
I looked at that thousandth post last night, and reflected on what’s changed in my life since then. I’ve moved across the country twice. My divorce was finalized. I passed my doctoral exam. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. As a historian, I realize that nothing that’s happened around me will affect the general sweep of mankind. But I know the events of the last two years have made me a very different person from the one who posted that message in February 2001.
Indeed, one of the few things in my life that is appreciably the same is my attachment to this virtual collection of like-minded souls I offhandedly refer to as “the Board.” Why? I didn’t think it was going to be this way forever. I stopped posting between March and December 2001, frustrated by the limitations of a dial-up modem, then sunk in a deep depression over the end of my marriage, and lastly unsure of how to explain my prolonged absence. I stopped again between April and November 2002, distracted by first the triviality of Internet dating, then by the seriousness of my mom’s diagnosis and my decision to return to the East Coast.
But I keep coming back. There’s something about this place that feels like an old coat that you’ve put in the closet and forgotten about, only to put it on again and be amazed at how well it fits. There is a humanity here, and a sense of universality. I can read something Eve writes and feel like I’m in the Algonquin Hotel. I can read Michael Ellis’s one-liners and feel like I’m back in the Monty Python Society. I can read Polycarp and tomndebb discussing theology and feel like I’m in a Common Room back at Oxford. And it’s all in the same place.
I hear voices here that I don’t hear anywhere else. I’ve come to notice this more and more now that I’m living in a Western New York monoculture instead of Los Angeles. You don’t hear gay, bisexual, or transgendered voices around here. Minority voices are rare. Even liberals (and for that matter, strident, principled conservatives) aren’t common. Being around here has made me aware of issues I didn’t realize existed.
Most of all, this place has taught me so much about, well, almost everything. Every day I learn something new here, or at least hear a new opinion. There are so many experts here, on such diverse topics, I couldn’t name them all if I had all day. It is no exaggeration to say that this Board has made me a more knowledgeable person. I hope that I have made some contributions to others in this regard (sometimes I do doubt it, though!), but perhaps I can at least bask in the SDMB’s collective reflected glory.
I’ve waffled on far too long. I just want to say, thank you to everyone.