Goodbye for Now and Also Forever
One never wants it to end this way: Cold, dark, and alone, a congress of angry boots surrounding you on all sides, the men inside them pounding, pounding on the office door piled high from the inside with the books and brass of your former life, that impossibly distant time of success and ease, before it all went so wrong. Before it was time to say goodbye.
This will be my final column. As you no doubt know by now, a series of unforeseen circumstances and blind hubris have forced us to close Thing X’s doors for good. It was a good run.
No it wasn’t.
When we first came together, we thought we were going to be the most successful click portal on the Whole Wide Web. After getting the nod from General Ortiz, I had personally handpicked the team of top-notch content jockeys: Joe Garden, John Harris, Tina Fey, who never returned my emails, Chris K., Sascha, Steve, some Asians, a guy who kind of looked like a lion and whom we were planning to nickname “Simba” for obvious reasons but who didn’t wind up passing his background check, Kristie, Audubon, Tom, Nick, CJ, Ellen, Jason, and a furniture maker named Clancy who looked great just hanging around, thoughtfully eyeing various corners of the office with his hands on his hips. It’s too bad we could never afford to get him any tools. There were others, of course, and, though they’re all gone now, they once represented the best of the best. Yes, we had big dreams and bigger ambitions. We thought we were going to change the world.
We were obviously way, way off.
Boy, were we off. It’s almost laughable, but not quite, since so many of us have lost our jobs and so many of you have been driven to disgust and rage at what Thing X became during our time here. I guess it doesn’t matter when I tell you that we really did start out with the best of intentions, and that we never wanted anyone to go into any comas, and that we absolutely 100% condemn the slaughter of indigenous peoples, and that we had nothing to do with the website redesign—but I want to tell you just the same.
Likewise, it would be nice if we could at least hold our heads high as the angry throngs pelt us with both insults and rotten objects, but that’s not possible either, as every last one of us has compromised not only our professional standards, but also our very sense of morality while working at Thing X. In fact, the experience seems to have transformed us into monsters: vain, arrogant, insatiable, bloated on hard cider and pork, spending beyond our means, starting fights with police, smashing everything in sight with our mahogany Thing X walking sticks, having sex with clones of ourselves, and loudly defying society to embrace or destroy us.
We tried to hold a mirror up to that same society and have a few laughs while doing it, but we smashed the mirror and stabbed Clancy with the shards. Poor Clancy, who had nothing to defend himself with, was too beautiful for this world. I’d like to believe that the reflection in that mirror, if it hadn’t been destroyed, would have been as ugly as the things we became, but that’s not accurate either, because we got really bad and that’s not your fault. Yes, society has some problems, but there was no reason for us to force our interns to fight rats. We do feel terrible about it, and that one is totally on us.
Do I have any regrets? Yes. A lot of them. I have more than 2,000 regrets, but none will undo what is done. None will make that fur coat lobster orgy have never happened. And I realize now that we’re never going to get your clicks, that we never were going to get your clicks because your clicks are yours and yours alone to give, and nothing we could have done would have ever changed that.
Maybe if we had put more tits on the homepage, but barring that, nothing.
Our fates were set in stone before any of us ever set fire to a school bus or filled his office with stuffed endangered hawks. We cannot help what we are; we can only apologize for it, and when the pounding outside grows unbearably loud, what can we do but take one last slug of hard cider and stuff one more hunk of pork into our mouth and unpin one more grenade and slip through one more trap door and painstakingly apply one more false nose and mustache and say “goodbye” forever?
And also for now.