This post has been a long time in coming. There are myriad reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to taking a long, hard swig of reality.
Almost eight years of TSTO Blogging needs to come to end. I’ve been telegraphing this for a while, but life, age, and the realities that a worldwide pandemic have wrought on me have taken a toll, along with the need to re-examine how I spend my valuable remaining “Life Currency.”
When all of this started, I was lured into playing TSTO by my grandsons, who at the time, were 10 and 8 years old. We played, because it was a way to “tag one another’s towns,” as a way to let one another know that although they were a hundred miles away, I was thinking of them in a funny, shared, use of “new technology.”
That was in October…of 2012. Holy. Freakin’. Shirt!
My oldest grandson is 18. Both of them stopped playing the game long, long, long ago. But, through a series of strange and unusual events, I ended up taking over the top-rated TSTO blog (along with another guy who also stumbled into the opportunity), and the course was set. What was at first a sideline, and a way to escape the rigors of owning a company that provided Internet solutions to more than 160 broadcasters across the country, the “sideline” became an obsessive, full-time “extra job.”
A book…thousands of posts…and the joining, uncoupling, and rejoining of the Addicts crew reads like a bad, but “can’t put it down,” real life drama docu-series.
But, it’s time to put it down…
When the “drama of the early years,” and the rigors of trying to maintain TSTOFriends (the offshoot of the original, but short-lived TSTOTips) became more than I wanted, I met with Alissa, buried (a few) hatchets, and gladly came back to work with the Addicts crew. That was in 2016. Almost five years ago. It was a selfish move…trying to find a bit of sanity in an otherwise insanely demanding endeavor. But, it was also a way to keep the work we had started in Uganda, alive and vital. As part of our agreement, Alissa said I could still raise funds, and that she would support our work. And from that day, virtually every dime that I have earned from Addicts, has gone to our work in Buyijja.
I have been clear, through countless posts about our work in Buyijja, that I was only willing to keep writing, and posting, and “playing the game,” out of loyalty to Alissa, and our work in Buyijja. There are countless references and comments to that point over the past five years.
And I have also been equally transparent, that my love of the game had diminished greatly, as EA/Gracie/Fox continued to reduce the “fun” in the game…relegating us to repetitive tappers, with little challenge, creativity or reward. That’s on them. Not on TSTOAddicts or Alissa.
The game has become boring, repetitive, and almost without merit, outside of the writer’s dialogue. Anyone who has played the game since the beginning would agree with that. It is on life support…at best. But, life support in a coma would be a better analogy. The writers chatter in the corner of the room…telling great jokes, as the patient lies motionless and braindead, a result of the lazy, unimaginative programming that has happened over the past three years.
There is no better way to make my point, than to look back to THIS POST, where I reviewed 2016 in the tapping year.
Can you imagine that we were actually mildly depressed by some of these events? The fact is, if I made a similar graph over the past three years…it would be one, long, static, flatline “Meh” representing the same, old, same old, events. The GAME has created a ton of people that simply have gotten used to, and agreed to compromise their standards of what the game SHOULD be!
Sheesh. Remember the “good old days?” Heck…I even remember complaining that “Whacking Days” were the same as other Whacking Days. But, at least there were snakes, and bopping, and activities to do, other than just trudging through the same, repetitive Three Act Nothings Events. Friend Rewards? Gone. Side games like the Casino Event, or Stone Cutters? Gone. Now…we have so many Homers, and Marge’s and Lisas, and Barts, that even Professor Brown from “Back to the Future” would call “bullshirt!”
But, I hung in there. Until this past year.
For a full year, Covid has all but decimated the school we support in Buyijja, the village near it, and almost all of the staff. Our last attempt to do “distanced learning” without any technology (the village has no electricity, and little clean water, much less computers for kids), was a valent, but fruitless effort. Only a handful of the printed workbooks that were distributed in the village by the remaining teachers, came back completed.
The school, closed since March of last year, may open…but with less than 30 students, and two teachers. That is down from 260 students, and 9 teachers. We are in a state of “wait and see,” but the writing is pretty much on the wall.
Without a reason to keep writing for Addicts, and doing my best to wait it out, I have lost all desire to continue to use my “Life Currency” writing about a game I no longer care about. It’s as simple as that. I enjoyed doing “Addicts Live,” with a chance to see the team “face-to-face” but admit to being annoyed when we actually had to talk about the game. I didn’t care about the game. At all.
Alissa could see this. “There was no joy in TSTOville” for me. And while the Filler posts continue to garner good readership, it all felt like work, with no real reward. Add to this, my patience for pinhead comments was all but gone. Not a good thing for anyone involved.
Another factor that shaped my decision is the fact that in the past 18 months, I have lost 9 close friends and family, including my Mother and Father-in-Law. Several of the friends who have passed during this time, were younger than me…leaving a hole, and a bit of “looking over my shoulder,” for the next grim report to drop.
This happens at my age. I’m 67 years old. This is the time of life when mortality becomes very real, pandemic or not. And the fact is, I have kids and grandkids scattered all over the country, and a ton of things I still want to do on my “bucket list.” Writing about a “Silly Little Game” is no longer one of them.
The world has changed a lot in the 8 years since we started this insanity, and in most ways, not for the better. It is obvious that social media, and huge divisions in politics, religion, and reduced common courtesy have taken a huge hit.
I am a pragmatic optimist…which seems like a contradiction of terms. But, I have come to realize that continuing things that don’t bring you happiness is a fool’s game. I need to be a bit selfish with my time. I am optimistic that change and improvement can come to the world, with hard work. But am pragmatic enough to know when to “cut bate,” and move away from things that are futile. I need to spend it with people I love, doing things that bring me joy. TSTO doesn’t hit the top 25.
Alissa and I have been over this, and we both agree that the time is right for her to “take back her joy,” while I depart to do the same. Ironic? Nope. Just two people with different desires and commitments.
I don’t regret a minute of time I have spent on the Addicts team. And I certainly will continue to drop in…but as a “civilian” who is just dropping comments for the fun of it.
I’ll have one final Friday Filler…a chance to offer thanks not only to the team, but to the loyal readers who have been part of my life all of these years. Buyijja is a huge question mark at this point. But, I will determine where we go with things as the facts and needs present themselves. Alissa has committed to continue to support the efforts, if there is something left to support.
Until then…know that I truly wish The Simpsons, and TSTO had the good graces to “go out on top.” The news that the show has been renewed for another two seasons brings me no solace. I’ve watched too many people take their last breath this last year. I have no desire to hang around, waiting for the monitor to flat line.
I’ll have more to say…and lots of people to thank on Friday! Until then…keep on tappin’…if you want to.
See you then.