Perhaps I was fortunate: when I started drinking at 18, it was indisputably legal. What's more, it was subsidized: we happy members of Uncle Sam's Green Machine got to march, or amble, down to the Class 6 store and pick up a fifth of Old You Name It at a price that, in 1972 anyway, was far below what the civilians had to fork out. It's probably no accident that I began to drink less once I had to pay more.

And then in 1984, the Feds came up with "An Act to encourage a uniform minimum drinking age of 21; to combat drugged driving, improve law enforcement and provide incentives to the states to reduce drunk driving." It's purely an arbitrary number, of course; they could have set it at seventeen or thirty-five with almost the same justifications, or lack thereof. The easily predictable response is to ignore the law when it's convenient while paying lip service to that magic number.

Which I'm doing here for an entirely different reason: I opened up my little soapbox here on the 9th of April, 1996. It is now 21 years old.

The ninth of April doesn't have any overwhelming cultural attachments: it's Tom Lehrer's birthday (he's now 89), and also Hugh Hefner's (he's 91). I suspect that the seven million or so words I've tossed up on the screen since 1996 are at least slightly affected by both of these chaps. (And for the sake of sheer perversity, I'll throw in Korean singer/actress Uee, who's 29 today; perhaps her best-known song, outside the context of the group After School, is 2011's "Sok Sok Sok.")

My standard metric for How I'm Doing reflects the early days when most of the visits were mine; I ran a Web counter for the first three years and drew 6,444 visitors during that period. Traffic peaked in 2005 or so, at around 800 a day; it's since receded a bit, to more like 300 a day, though subscriptions via WP or RSS have been somewhat haphazardly growing and are now over 1500. (Peak: 1700. Busiest day: 12 May 2009, with 16,363, though there have been only two other days over 5,000.) Still, 6,444 these days is a very slow month.

I honestly don't know how long I can keep this up. I spent too much of last summer in the hospital, but I somehow did not break my string: I've had at least one post every day since 23 June 2000, which is 6,135 days ago. Call it Version 7.0, which it was. (We're now at 16.4.) And I'm not entirely sure what happens after I'm gone. But maybe I don't need to think about that just now. I'm pretty sure neither Tom Lehrer nor Hugh Hefner is worried about it. As for Uee, well, I wish she'd sing more often.

The Vent

  9 April 2017

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