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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » 1,500: a landmark of sorts for Sopwith and a well-dang, ya aren't gonna let me go huh (Page 1)

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Author Topic: 1,500: a landmark of sorts for Sopwith and a well-dang, ya aren't gonna let me go huh
Sopwith
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Well, I cheesed out on my last landmark, so let's lay the story of my life out here and now. Pull up a chair, I'm long-winded as you know...

I was born in the southern Appalachian (Ap-uh-latch-un) Mountains and grew up in the small town of West Jefferson. Neat place, friendly folks... I'd say it was the kind of place where you could play outside unattended until the streetlights came on, but there just weren't many streetlights to guage it by...

At the age of 10, my family moved to Winston-Salem in what I later learned was an attempt for my folks to get a clean start and salvage their marriage. It didn't work and to make a long story short, they both lost everything in the divorce and for the next seven years or so, I spent every other weekend shuttling between Winston-Salem and West Jefferson visiting my folks.

School was, well, something that didn't hold a lot of interest for me at the time. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but there just wasn't that held my attention back then. Heck, I even pulled a gentleman's D in journalism.

High School wasn't that spectacular and homelife with an abusive, alcoholic, basically illiterate step father (who passed away last month) wasn't great, either. By senior year, I was going to school, working a fulltime job as a cook at the Village Tavern and balancing in a girlfriend. Three days after I graduated, an argument at home led to me packing my stuff into my old Thunderbird and finding a place to live at a boarding house.

That boarding house was something,to say the least. Like something out of a William Burroughs story, it was like the metal screen over a shower drain... people swirled around there for a while before finally going down the tubes. It was cheap, had heat and well, it was all I could afford. While there I did come as close as I ever have to being shot one night.

Eddie, a wino that lived there had staggered in after midnight lit up on his favorite cough syrup. Normally, he was a friendly guy, if a bit addled in the brain. He took to me and made a big deal of "watching out for me". This night, however, he had come in and convinced himself that the guy in the room next to mine had been the one who had sent him to prison a few years earlier.

I listened to Eddie bellowing in the hall, yelling through the other guy's door that he was going to kill him. He was going to settle the score. Through the paper thin walls I could hear the guy in the next room sobbing, yes sobbing, in apparent fear.

I don't know why, but I just got up and opened my door and went out into the hall. Eddie whirled to face me, a cheap pistol in his hand. I watched the expression of rage slide right off his face and the face of the well-meaning wino slide back into place.

"Well hullo Rich, how are you doing? Is your cough any better? I've got some cough syrup if you need some. Have you heard from your Ma yet?"

I remember shaking my head and putting my arm around Eddie's shoulders. "C'mon Eddie, sounds like you've had a bad day. How about you head on back to bed?"

I herded him back to his room and there was no trouble. When he set the pistol down, I casually picked it up and put it in my hip pocket. We talked for a few more minutes and as his stupor sank in, Eddie laid down on the bed and went to sleep. I turned out the lights and went back to my room.

I finished off the pizza I had for dinner and watched a bit of TV and as I tried to go to sleep I heard the guy in the next room over sobbing. I hate to say what I thought, because it seems so callous now, but I honestly had just wanted to shout out. "Ahhh shaddup, can't you see we're trying to get some sleep around here?"

I turned the pistol over to the landlady the next day and eventually left that old boarding house in the West End of Winston-Salem. I gypsied around and eventually wound up back in my old hometown where I made my own spot in life and enjoyed myself. But that's a story for another landmark post, this one's running too long already.

I guess looking back on everything now, the good times and the bad in my life, I realize why I haven't sweated many of life's upsets too much. I've spent my time swirling around the drain already. Once I made it out of there, it's all been gravy since.

[ March 12, 2004, 07:23 PM: Message edited by: Sopwith ]

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PSI Teleport
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I'm impressed by your ability to keep an optimistic look on things because of things you've gone through. I think I need to learn a lesson from that.

And, I really thought you were British, Sopwith. [Big Grin]

I'm glad you're here!

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Amka
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Cool that you kept your head on, there. And your positive outlook is fantastic.
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Sopwith
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Bahh, it's just life. This is the only life I'm guaranteed to have, so I ought to try and enjoy it! [Big Grin]

Thanks for the kind words. I didn't do anything brave, but something that was probably pretty stupid. At the time, I just wanted a little peace and quiet.

I've got a fabulous wife I love with all of my heart, good friends, good conversation and good food. If I can just get back to where I can hear the wind whispering in the pines, well, I just don't think life can get much better than that. [Cool]

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Amka
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Oh, Sopwith, no. That really is a remarkable outlook on life. I congratulate and admire you for it. That is precisely why you merely swirled around the drain.

But I agree. We only have one life, it is to be cherished. And life is exactly what we, ourselves, make of it.

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Sopwith
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Oh, and Psi, thanks!

Nope, not British, but there's something about an old, rickety biplane in a space age world that seems to fit me to a T.

Just remember when you think of that airplane, put Snoopy in the pilot's seat, leather flight helmet, goggles, scarf and all. [Smile]

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Sopwith
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I'd like to thank PSI and Amka for taking the time to read my landmark post.

With that said, I guess its time for me to say goodbye to Hatrack. Two responses to my landmark pretty much let me know how insignificant I am around here, seriously reinforcing the feelings I had after reading Slash the Berserkers enlightening "Reasons to Hate Hatrack" opening post.

Honestly, I've been here for over a year and while the results of popularity contests don't really matter to me, I have come to the conclusion perhaps it just really isn't worth my time to be here. Why hang out someplace just to hear yourself talk. Why spend time where you don't really matter?

Life's too short to spend it where you don't feel valued. So... seeya folks, I thought that it had been fun.

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dkw
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NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Hatrack's moving slowly this week -- I haven't had time to read threads, there's a million reasons for not getting many replies, and I like you. Don't you dare leave.

Serious response to your post in a few minutes.

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Anna
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Sopwith, don't say that and don't do that ! I for one, appreciate you. I'm sure there's a lot of people that read your landmark and simply, stupidly, hadn't take time to answer you, maybe because (that what I though anyway) a post with "congrats ! We love you and hope you will stay here ! " is not very significant.
(((((Sopwith)))))
Give Hatrack another chance. Please...

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ClaudiaTherese
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Sopwith, I'm glad to get you to know you better. I'd encourage you to leave the landmark up for 24 hours before you bag out -- some of your friends may not have checked in yet. And it's certainly one of the more fascinating and well-written posts, so I'd hate to lose you. [Smile]

We never have talked much, I think, but we have more in common than I'd realized. I, too, lived in a shakey place with winos, although we had our share of street prostitutes and crackheads, too. A life-altering experience for me, although it sounds kind of par for the course for you. Big kudos for making it through with your soul intact.

Would you be okay with questions about what it was like to grow up in the Appalachians? I'm fascinated.

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PaladinVirtue
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Sopwith, I am rather new here but I feel compelled to say that I have really enjoyed your postings. You seem to have a knack for saying what I mean to say but in such a more eliquent and complete manner. Your opinions have a maturity and balance that I think are rare sometimes here at Hatrack. If you still feel the need to leave, have a wonderful life, but please don't leave under the impression that only two people benefitted from your incites here. If you read this please just add me to the list of your fans.

Thanks for sharing, The Paladin

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kacard
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Come on Sopwith. Give it at least 24 hours [Smile] You know I always read and enjoy all the landmark threads. They are my very very favorite. But I usually am so overwhelmed I can't think of a thing that is adequate to say about them. So I just read them and am quietly happy to be part of a community of such amazing people. I'm probably not the only one. But, thank you for your story -- it was wonderful. We would be sorry to lose you. Kristine Card
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TomDavidson
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Sopwith, be patient. [Smile]
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aspectre
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Frankly, I don't tend to read landmarks. Perhaps someday if I ever become willing to share details of my life as 'equal trade', I'll read all the preserved landmarks.

That being said, your title drew me in. Never thought of Hatrack as a place to be significant; though there is significance in exchanging thoughts, helping when ya can, and in watching people change philosophically, usually minor but sometimes more, in reaction to what is said here.

Personally, I hope you'll stay: I've enjoyed your participation.
If not, hope you'll drop by occasionally to say "Hi, I'm okay."
But either way, GOOD LUCK in all your ventures.

[ March 12, 2004, 08:55 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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ludosti
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I'm sorry that you feel like your presence here is insignificant. [Frown]

Landmark threads are an interesting thing. We invest a great deal of ourselves into words on the screen (I think we sometimes feel like the kid giving a report up in front of our whole class in our underwear) and we tend to judge our worth by the responses that we get (I know I did that with my one landmark thread anyway). And people read and participate in them for different reasons and at different times (I, for one, don't read a landmark thread unless I have a good chunk of time to sit and read it, unhurried, and really think about it and sometimes, I just plain don't happen to see them).

But you know, responses, or the lack thereof, doesn't mean that you don't contribute anything to the society that is Hatrack (and is no way to measure what you can gain from Hatrack [Smile] ). If you want to leave because you think you have nothing to gain by being here, by all means, continue on with your life and make it a great one (you've had a good head start)! But don't leave because you think no one listens or cares.

I hope you choose to stay, just because I hate to see other people leave. I think about them and wonder how they are doing and wish them well. But if you don't choose to stay, have a wonderful life! [Smile]

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Jaiden
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I'm sorry... I read it when you first posted it, but I'm not one to post often and couldn't think of anything to say.

*thinks you should stay*

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Farmgirl
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I loved your landmark, Sopwith. Thank you much for sharing.

I noticed in your profile that you e-mail is lewisfamily. Lewis is my mom's maiden name. Maybe we are related! [Big Grin]

Stick around, please!

Farmgirl

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PSI Teleport
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I also need to point out that there have been alot of Landmarks this past week or two. That affects how many responses you get, I bet.

*I* would miss you if you left, and you know I'm the most important. [Big Grin]

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T. Analog Kid
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<adds $.02 to the pile>

check your e-mail, too.

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BannaOj
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*hugs sopwith* --- I didn't see this thread until today.

You've always been cool and had interesting things to say. Don't leave!

Your life story is fascinating. I can't help but want to know more about who you are now. We are glad you aren't stuck back in that awful situation in the past, but your entire post makes me want to know who you are in the present, how did you get out of that. Was it hard work or luck or a combination that brought you to where you are today?

AJ

[ March 12, 2004, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: BannaOj ]

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Alexa
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Sopwith

I loved your responses and posts. I don't know you, but I agree, ulitmately we spend time here at the expense of somewhere else. I am lucky to have a job where I can read and "waste time."

It has been fun and an honor tho.

The only true complement of any worth I can give you is: what you have said in our discussions have made me re-evaluate my beliefs and understanding of history.

To me, that is the litmus test of a succesful writer.

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Synesthesia
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Don't leave... I only just saw it today... and I read most of these but I don't always respond because there's not much I can say other than
excellent or something along those lines.

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aka
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Sopwith, I read your landmark and enjoyed it. I couldn't really think of anything significant to say, though. Don't think lack of responses means you aren't heard and noticed.

That said, I remember having similar worries about my own landmark. So I definitely understand the feeling. [Smile]

I apologize for not making any sort of remark before. Please don't take that as reason to leave. It's not a contest. And you are certainly seen and noticed.

[ March 12, 2004, 10:20 AM: Message edited by: aka ]

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advice for robots
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I know how you feel, Sopwith, and I guess I don't blame you too much for voicing it. It's not much fun when you feel like you're going largely unnoticed. But I always enjoy your posts. You always make a lot of sense and you write very well. You've always come off as a wise man who tells it like it is. You don't say a lot of really controversial stuff, and maybe that's why you don't get lots of responses. I don't know. I have the same problem, and I don't know what to do about it. I don't know what the cues are that make some people instantly popular while others stay in the wings. I was hoping it would be different when the communication was all written, but it turns out that I will always be myself, no matter what community I join. Do what you want, Sopwith, but I'll be sad to see you go.
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Derrell
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Sopwith please don't go. That was a powerful landmark. I worried how people would react to my landmark. I think i's natural.
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Storm Saxon
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I liked your landmark, Sopwith. I'm just too lazy to reply to your post. Please, stay. [Smile]

You are are right that it's annoying when we aren't as popular as we think we deserve to be. It's baffling to me why some people are as popular as they are on this forum, while others languish in relative obscurity.

It's just the way people are. Try not to take it personally.

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pooka
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Sure you only got two replies, but they were from Amka and PSI! That's like 10 normal jatraqueros. You know, my first landmark only got 14 replies (not counting my thank-you-bumps)in the first week. I think when you share something really unusual, people don't know what to say, but they also don't want to say something lame.

I'm impressed you took the gun. I immediately thought how I wouldn't want my fingerprints on it if anything did happen. You are a much better person than I.

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PSI Teleport
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*puts Pooka and Sopwith on Human list*
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peterh
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I echo Mrs. Card's comment that when I read landmarks I usually don't reply because I am so amazed by them. Sullying them with my pitiful response seems unworthy.

Also, I often feel, like you, that people don't really know or care that much about me, so what's the point of my responding when you'd just read it and think, "peterh, who's that?".

Anyway, hopefully you are willing to reevaluate your position.

(And please don't anyone respond to my self-depreciating remarks. I don't want to derail this thread in any way. That's just how I feel most of the time, and I am perfectly comfortable, within myself to be patient and gain everyones trust, respect, and recognition.)

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Jenny Gardener
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Sopwith, I've always been fond of you just because of your screen name. It reminds me of this tape I have of Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, and one of the songs is "Sopwith Camel Time".

I was a non-entity here at Hatrack for a long time. It's like being on the fringes of the popular groups. But at Hatrack, that's okay, because you are welcome to speak up and join the group any time you want to. And you can also drift away for a while. It's awfully nice.

You bring valuable perspective to Hatrack. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, and I would love to hear more.

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eslaine
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Sopwith, my access is so limited, I haven't been able to surf Hatrack like I'd prefer to. If you notice, my content here lately has been pretty much fluff alone, because I haven't had time to read and think about serious topics here, and therefore respond, well, seriously.

I've always enjoyed your posts, and Hatrack might go on without you, but I for one would miss your comments.

Thanks for your 1500+ posts! And Congrats!

But please don't disappear....

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PSI Teleport
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Eslaine has serious thoughts??!

*falls over dead in the floor*

[Big Grin]

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eslaine
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[No No]
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eslaine
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And just to show that I am capable of coherent thought occasionally:

A serious topic from eslaine....

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ClaudiaTherese
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Goodbye threads are also a tradition at Hatrack. I only say this because sometimes it's weird to "come back" after publically bowing out.

Rest assured, Sopwith, you are welcome to start posting again today, tomorrow, or five years from now. It's all good.

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PSI Teleport
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[Big Grin]
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jexx
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Don't be a knucklehead. *grin* You are much more well-known than I! Someday I will have a landmark post and only mack will reply! Of course, I will *bump* it repeatedly until rivka or somebody takes pity on me and says "Nice one".

And Holy Carp, you got kacard to reply! Don't you know how special that is???

Besides, it's only been up a little while. Let it ride, sweetie.

I am profoundly affected (effected? I always forget) by your story. It sounds like a very good novel in the making. Are you a writer, too?

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Dead_Horse
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Haha, Sopwith,
Don't you know you can never leave? Welcome to the Hotel Hatrackornia.

Having swirled and been sucked down the toilet a few times in my life, I appreciate that it does tend to give a brighter oulook on everyday pitfalls. I think it also tends to leave a lingering depression. Don't let that stop you from posting, ok? We need you here.
Still swirling,
Rain

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lcarus
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[Frown]

I haven't been on that much in the last 48 hours or so. My grades were due today, and my district decided, in its infinite wisdom, to not give us a work day until tomorrow. I've been working myself to the bone, and in my occasional five-minute fluff breaks, I didn't see your thread.

If I had seen it, I still might not have clicked on it right away. Different times when I come to Hatrack I have different needs, and different moods. When I'm only on for a few minutes, as stress relief, I tend to only click on fluffy threads, and save landmarks, or threads about people's sick children, until I have time to compose an adequate reply. (Which is not to say . . . aw, hecck, never mind . . . ) I figure the landmark threads aren't going to go away any time soon, and the author will appreciate a bump in a few days or so to give the thread a second wind.

It's also true that there have been a lot of landmark posts in the last week, and people sometimes don't feel spiritually up to a new one for a few days. This doesn't mean you should wait to post, just that the replies mught trickle in at first.

BUT

I know that I have specifically told you how cool I think you are and how much I enjoy your posts on at least one occasion . . . honestly, I think it's been at least twice. Don't make me go looking for them! [No No] So, *thwap*. That's for suggesting nobody notices you. (Unless I simply don't count. *sniff*) And *thwap*. That's for making me sad. When I saw this thread, it already had the "goodbye" title. And I thought, "No! Sopwith can't possibly want to leave! He's so cool, he can't have possibly gotten into some ugly fight that would make him want to leave!" And then I convinced myself that it was a joke, or that you were retiring the name "Sopwith" and bringing back an older one or something along those lines.

And then I saw you state that you really were leaving.

*thwap*

I'll miss you.

Jerk.

Come back soon.

[Frown]

[ March 12, 2004, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: lcarus ]

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lcarus
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On the other hand . . . you did get TomDavidson, ClaudiaTherese, and kacard to post on your landmark . . . none of whom posted on mine . . . okay, that does it . . . my 5000th will be my last. [Razz]
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Sopwith
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Dang folks, I got stabbed with a fork once and didn't cry. What's with these waterworks I'm getting now????

Thanks one and all. I may take a wee bit of time to myself, but man, I can't really leave now, can I? I'm askeered of some of yas...

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Dagonee
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Now that I know you'll read it, that was an amazing story. And an amazing handling of a very dangerous situation. You are a compassionate man, Mr. Sopwith.

Dagonee

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jeniwren
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quote:
I realize why I haven't sweated many of life's upsets too much.
Soapy, your own words there. Don't sweat this upset much either, and really, don't take it personally. My two landmark threads didn't get the kind of reception (okay, blatant adoration) I was craving when I wrote them, especially since the second one was up at exactly the same time as Ralphie's. I knew I didn't have a chance. After chewing on my (admittedly mild) hurt feelings a little, I decided it wasn't worth getting bent out of shape about, largely because there is something about Hatrack that I need. Something I don't get IRL. So it's worth it to me. And ultimately I figure that the people who adore me aren't on Hatrack anyway, so it works out. But that's just me.

I don't know about you...maybe it isn't worth it to you. I wish it were though, because you are fun to have around here. I certainly enjoyed playing Mafia with you, and will always think of you as a dapper young man in tweed, with a handlebar moustache and dangerous plans in his coat pocket. And with your landmark, I now know that in the same pocket with those dangerous plans, you also have a cheap pistol, taken gently from a confused alcoholic, taken to prevent him from making a life-altering, irrevokable mistake. For a mafia guy, you're quite the gentleman. [Hat]

edited to add that it's truly unfair to post that you're not going to leave after all while I'm writing a heart-wrenching post dedicated to your dastardly wonderfulness. [Smile]

[ March 12, 2004, 07:40 PM: Message edited by: jeniwren ]

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Shan
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C'mon, I know the truth. Icarus bribed you with $5.00 [Wink] to stick around . . . .

I have a burning question, however -

whatever happened to the sobbing man disturbing your peace?

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Elizabeth
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Sopwith,
I have never done a landmark post. In fact, when I noticed I had hit 1000 posts, I bailed. I could not bear to have no one post to it.
So, while I understand your initial reaction, i am glad you are staying. I have always enjoyed your posts, and this landmark is the best post yet.
Besides, you still have to see Donna the Buffalo...
Liz

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jexx
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I wanna hear the stabbed with a fork story.

*grin*

Not that I revel in other people's pain or anything...okay, maybe a little bit...

Glad you are staying.

You knucklehead.

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PSI Teleport
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quote:
Sure you only got two replies, but they were from Amka and PSI! That's like 10 normal jatraqueros.
Wait a minute....

*checks jatraquero tally*

Hey! Amka is 9.5 jatraqueros! What are you saying?

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imogen
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I was asleep.

And can I just say, that when I finally get around to doing a landmark post, I expect you to be the first reply. [Razz]

Seriously, I think with landmarks that share life experiences people take longer to reply than they do with other, fluffier threads. Which is a good thing really - you wouldn't want your landmark filled up with
quote:
post
quote:
post
now, would you?

I think it was a very interesting post, and I look forward to your continued presence at Hatrack. [Smile]

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eslaine
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Woohoo!
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Bob the Lawyer
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Sopwith, should we ever cross paths can you come wearing flyboy goggles? For my sake?

Thanks for the landmark. It's a great story and hints at the possibilty of other great stories. Hopefully we can trade a few at some point (and by trade I mean you'll talk, I'll listen [Wink] )

Here's to staying!

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