It is entirely by coincidence, and not, as some conspiracy theorists would have you believe, by design, that the title of this post is uncannily similar to that of Monday’s apocalyptic bombshell regarding the imminent demise of NotGraphs, a blog soon to be known as NotNotGraphs, or, for short, Not.
That post, titled This Weblog Will Expire in Three Months, detailed history’s most cataclysmic development by explaining that the blog’s majordomo, Monsieur Carson Cistulli, wants to spend more time with his family, or maybe with Bruce Jenner’s family. I don’t know. I didn’t read it.
Whatever the case, the timing could not have been more adventitious for me, personally, with regard to the post that you are currently reading – and might be reading for the next two-plus minutes. Why? Because for the past three days, while circling want ads for Unamusing But Punctual Comedy Writers in the local PennySaver, I’ve been drinking a lot – a LOT – of the eggnog left over from the most recently concluded yuletide season. It is not so much for the milk, eggs and nutmeg that I’ve imbibed this frothy concoction, but, rather, the bourbon, the better to ease the pain of impending unemployment.
The problem, as you know, is that eggnog is plagued with a shelf life, perhaps not as rate-specific as the decay of a radioactive isotope but still pretty rigid. Though sensitive to a variety of factors, including exposure to heat, light and Satan, most canned eggnogs last for a period of four to five months. That time has come and gone. And, according to Science, the nog will not submit to an eternal lactose return. It ain’t coming back.
Still, I need this nog. I need its 160 proof! The prospect of overcrowded soup lines – each populated by laid-off humorists declaiming, “So, did you hear the one about the priest and the rabbi?” – has inspired me to find a super-clever solution for an expiration date long since passed. That solution? Well, just as the powers-that-be have chosen a meaningful but otherwise arbitrary endpoint for our beloved blog, I have selected 1:33 p.m. Central Standard Time as the endpoint for my beloved nog.
The clock, as they say, is ticking.
Now, if you’re the wondering type, you might wonder what any of this has to do with baseball. After all, NotGraphs isn’t only about hilarious comedy jokes, and, to a lesser extent, remarkably nubile groupies who fetch our cashmere slippers. No, our precious yet moribund forum is also about the Pastime.
On that point, I can tell you that the eggnog in question represents a kind of Alpha and Omega for yours truly. For indeed, Christmas was the occasion upon which, with a foamy stein of nog, I toasted the ’14 season by saying, “Here’s to the absence of injuries, both minor and major, that will surely favor my chosen team, the Texas Rangers!” And here I am now, in the solemn acknowledgement of this unlikely convergence of peculiar codas. My beloved blog, my beloved nog, my beloved squad: all dying or dead.
Apart from a healthy admiration for Bruce Jenner, mortality is the one big thing we all have in common, our lives connected by the darkness that will mark their ends. Life has promised us no longevity. It has vowed no lasting presence in the blogosphere, and no perpetuity in what I call the nogoshere. Expiration dates, whether arbitrary or fixed, are mandates we all must honor.
Still, in the interim, just as Monsieurs Montaigne and Cistulli have argued, the moment and its closest cousins will have to carve out the recesses, in both the temporal and spatial dimensions, that render the end as much a celebration as a lamentation, the swings and seesaws being as much a part of life as the instant their momentum goes kaput. And so we all raise a glass! … and if not a glass, a frothy stein! Here’s to the Rangers, whose last and healthy few shall limp across my TV and toward their merciful Valhalla.
Here’s to eggnog, with which elixir I toast its very shelf life.
And here’s to NotGraphs, the greatest of all blogs named NotGraphs, whose now-prescribed terminus we both acknowledge and honor with the sort of prose that only those with a serious death wish might enter and complete.
’Tis the season! The clock is ticking. The nog is spoiling. The blog is leaping and stumbling, across all these clauses and phrases, toward its own end of days, even as the sun burns the fuel that anoints its own existence.
I raise my glass a final time. I press it to the lips.
I taste the milk, the eggs and the nutmeg. I feel the bourbon. It courses, a loving tincture, through my mortal veins and then to my fermented brain.
Say – what about a blog called NogGraphs?
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.