So what do you do when one of your favourite old nemeses kicks it? Do you stay diplomatically silent and just nod at the headstone? Do you dance on a grave that hasn't even been watered yet? Do you pour a libation of something just a little bit precious?
Like many people here I had a complex relationship with dannye. Did I learn from him? Sure, sometimes too much. Did he set an example? Sure, he set an example of how your writing standards should improve with time. Did he piss me off? Oh hell yeah. Did I often wish that the catbox would crack open and demons would smother him in whatever flavour of unfiltered nodegel is reserved for the wrathful? Hallelujah and amen! Do I think that he was a rotten influence on people on the site? Ask me in private. I no longer have a public opinion as we no longer have a quarrel in the public sphere. It's over, you know. Life has its way of settling these things with a certain finality. And when it's over it's OVER. You're wasting your time hating on the dead and it makes you smaller as a person. Besides, I don't believe in an afterlife. What people leave behind are lessons and examples and you can take them and apply them as you see fit. Sic transit odium.
He probably nuked your shit. He probably nuked my shit. He probably nuked my shit. He probably nuked my shit. Let's leave the emphasis there. His bedside manner sucked but his diagnosis was usually spot on, and when it said "shit" it probably was shit. Kinda like House. He had a nose for suckage and I learned a lot about recognising it for what it was. Perhaps a bit unfortunately I adopted his style without having his gift for appealing to people even as he pounded holy noding righteousness into them. Oh well, that's my failing, not his.
Like me, most of us who signed up before 2005 met dannye through his efforts as a fightin', smitin' editor. And some people never manged to see him as more than that. They should have looked a bit closer. It took only one, simple thing to turn him from belligerent node murderer to cantankerous bunny rabbit: He just had to be persuaded that you cared about the site. A lot of the rude bluster was really his version of standing on the porch with a shotgun while you walked his daughter to the car. Some of it, I confess, always gave me a case of the what-the-fucks so I just stayed somewhere where I could duck in a hurry. Those who came a lot later may never understand these things. You had to be there.
It was all quite collegial for a while. We never got together since I moved away from the Midsouth in 2002 and only ever passed through Little Rock once in my life after that. We did talk on the phone, several times and usually around midnight while we were both on bones's staff. I think his number ended in 0059. Why I should remember that I do not know. A genial time was had by all, far more than with most noders I spoke with. Then stuff happened and a lot changed at the top but we continued in that fairly friendly vein until the time he got fired. I was actually on sabbatical at the time so I was a bit surprised, and not surprised at the same time.
So it came that by 2006 our roles had changed and it was a matter of him being out and my being on the ascendancy in the management scheme. I know he hated it most of the time but he was not the sort to sulk at the expense of the job getting done. He had our ear, both dann's and mine, and used it quite frequently. For the longest time he was hardly irrelevant because we would not spurn a valid opinion from a smart, experienced head even if that head's style was not compatible with what we wanted from the staff. He also had his finger on the pulse of a particular segment of the noderbase, one that was reluctant to engage the management as it was. If we wanted to know what the word was in those circles we'd ask dannye, if he hadn't already volunteered his input.
The direction and the tone of the site changed more and more, and less and less to dannye's liking. I confess that our exchanges got a bit old and less constructive every year. In the end I figure he made a lousy outsider in the way reserved for those who have been out of power for a long time but retain a fixed notion of how things ought to be and never lose their objective. At one point, on one of the increasingly frequent occasions on which he was wildly and offensively mistaken, he landed on my ignore list. It was necessary for my peace of mind, if nothing else. I don't think he was pissed off as much as disappointed that he lost the ear of the Powers That Be. Perhaps it pained him to think he was considered less relevant. Maybe he didn't give a hoot because he thought he was doing good anyway. I don't know. I never saw it as a question of ego, mine or his, and I don't think that he did either. We'd just become incompatible as conversants.
I had him on ignore for, I don't know, two and a half, three years? We would still trade the odd C! nonetheless because good noding is good noding and neither of us would let personal differences stand in the way of recognising it.
I check my ignore list every few months to make sure that I'm not ignoring the fled and the, well, dead. He never reciprocated and for the last year or so I've been virtually silent in public so no one who had me on ignore would know the difference. Today I went to the list to remove the dead. Well, guess what.
You are being ignored by: dannye
If that won't make me laugh out loud and head to the fridge for another beer in your honour, I do not know what will. Rest easy, you old bastard. At least until I get there. You can only ignore me for so much of eternity and then we'll see who has the last laugh. But, really, what did I expect from a guy who writes his own obituary?
Here's to bygones.