Best of the Archives #3: The Shared Experience of Hair Removal




I mentioned a couple of day ago that the 1,000 or so posts on this website today probably represent only about 50% of the posts that have actually appeared here over the years, since I tend to cull things fairly aggressively, for one reason or another. Some of the culled items I saved for other purposes, but a lot of them I just deleted, letting them go forever, as happy to be The Destroyer as I am to be The Creator, since I believe in those polarities, deeply, as part of my own personal processes.

If I could compile all the words written here, then vaporized at some later date, it would result in a text of truly formidable volume, but I suspect that it would still pale in comparison to the volume of lost words that I wrote at a couple of other sites that I frequented in the 1990s and 2000s: Xnet2 and Upstate Wasted/Ether. The first of that pair was a closed community, originally founded by a group of exiles from the Compuserve RockNet Forum where I hung out before I started my own website. There’s still a (mostly quiet) Facebook Group of survivors, and I was happy to pop in to say “howdy” to them during my recent (brief) return to Facebook.

Upstate Wasted and (later) Upstate Ether, on the other hand, were screamingly public, though most of what was written there was posted anonymously, by me and maybe a dozen other key contributors. In its early 2000s heyday, it enjoyed massive traffic and actually sort of shaped a lot of the cultural and musical discourse in the Albany, New York region, for better or for worse. Brilliant characters and long-running stories were developed collaboratively and organically. It was laugh out loud funny much of the time, though horribly inappropriate at others, in keeping with Gabriel’s Theory. It was the perfect place for “Wasting Time on the Man’s Dime,” for creators and readers alike, at bottom line, and I was proud to be a part of it, though I would not have admitted that at the time. At least not publicly, anyway.

A good while after it all finally imploded into a burnt little cinder of bile, I realized that I could access many of the Upstate Wasted and Upstate Ether pages via the Internet Archive. The original formatting was essentially comment block based, almost like writing stories in Twitter, with other folks contributing in the middle of the stream, so it was easy to follow when you were playing along in real time, but it was nothing that anybody could sensibly read after the fact. So I spent a couple of months trawling through those immense flat files, recovering the best texts, and formatting them in normally readable, standalone posts. A lot of the posts were so collaborative that I wouldn’t ever put them out under my own name, and they’ve been archived elsewhere, but I did feel comfortable enough to claim ownership of a few dozen of them, and have posted them here at various times over the years.

Today’s “Best of the Archives” choice is one of those, a favorite of mine from the set. Names and locations have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent alike, but it’s entirely based on real experiences, real places, real conversations, and real people. Be sure to keep your coffee covered while you read it, as there just might be airborne hair.

Number two clippers all over, tight around the ears, fade in the back, please and thanks . . .

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