This is going to be one of those introspective, thoughtful posts, so I am sorry in advance about the lack of funny. If you want a laugh, check out one of our older posts to the right.
I started Zero Shared Nickels a little over nine years ago. It was nothing like it is now. Back then it was a stupid little email ‘zine that a lonely teenager would send out periodically to about 60 email addresses (30 bounced). It was a time in my life when I would replace S’s with Z’s and type in alternating capitols. At face value, it was a bunch of wacky random crap thrown together, but in reality it chronicled my depression, my happiness, my complaints, and my growth.
“It’s always darkest before it goes completely black.” That’s always good to know. I always get confused and when it gets dark I scream, “AH! MY EYES! ITS TOO BRIGHT!” Then i run around crying and tripping over things. - ZSN #12,Â June ’01
I gave up on the ‘zine because it was becoming a drag to write. My college girlfriend had a habit of analyzing everything I did, wrote, or said.Â She would dissected my actions and leave them in bloody piles on my dorm room floor (which is a very vague metaphor for “get mad at me all the time”). I finally couldn’t take the scrutiny, so I stopped. After spending a summer living with her, I traded in thoughts of writing for thoughts of how to get her to leave me alone. The end result was that I gave up writing entirely for about a year. Which was fine, really, because the ‘zine was only funny to stupid teenagers.
Does anyone know how long it takes me to create one of these rambling messes? Countless hours …Â Â And ya know what? Itâ€™s kinda a waste of time. - ZSN #42, April ’04
I started up the website in 2005 after I got my creative spark back. I had things to say and I was going to say them, damn it! This website became a place where I aired out my anxiety about graduating college, which was then followed by anxiety about making it in the Real Worldâ„¢.
After I graduated from CSC, I was sure I’d never see anyone from there again; I had no money, no job prospects, and I was stuck living in a home where I didn’t even have my own bedroom.Â I blackmailed my friend from high school, Tom, into writing for the website. I wanted ZSN to grow into a big collaboration project, though that idea never took hold.
During college, my then-girlfriend and I were planning to move to Boston, so I could become a big shot graphic designer and she could go on to grad school. We knew that the two of us could never afford a place on our own, so we recruited Tom and his then-girlfriend. Thankfully, this plan fell through and the women in our lives went away, leaving two happening bachelors looking to make their name in Boston. We used ZSN to chronicle our journey to Boston, which started with a very jobless HP living under the Tobin Bridge in a Spanish slum.
Then he said â€œIâ€™ve been at this company for 14 months, I started at entry level and NOW I OWN THE COMPANY.â€ – Job Potential: Impotent, Sept ’06
The focus of the website began to shift in 2007, moving from personal accounts to something you might almost call an “article”. ZSN became less personal and more about humor, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. This might mark the time in which I became comfortable in my life as an adult. I knew who my friends were, I was dating a nice young lady, I had a steady job working at Harvard, things were going well! It’s funny, once life seems to be going well I seem to write less about it. Nothing to complain about, nothing to say!
As mentioned a few paragraphs up, I had always dreamed that ZSN would bloom into a big collaboration project. I cannot remember how many times a friend has stated that they were going to write something for the site, but then I would never hear from them again. One time, an individual laid out exactly what he was going to write about.He was going to review Playboy magazines: the ads, the articles, and (of course) the ladies. When I told him that so long as it was funny I didn’t care what it was about, he stopped and said “Oh, I don’t think it will be that funny.” Never heard about it again.
A few collaboration projects did make it past the planning stage. High school friend and fellow geek, Mike, appeared from time to time to thrill us with stories from Stop & Shop.Our greatest colab project was when we teamed up with 6 other websites to form Obscure Inq. Obscure Inq lasted a few months and it was a lot of fun at the time. However, between people not understanding the concept and the writers lack of inspiration, it fell through.
You may not believe this, but people can be interesting sometimes. Did you know that things that happen in movies might have happened to people in real life? Itâ€™s amazing! - You Look Bored, June ’08
The website has grown and changed, and I think I have too (by accident). I find myself more fascinated by web design than writing and more interested in video than pen and paper. I’m getting a little too busy to put time into this site. Well, not at work. I just sort of sit in my cubicle all day. Otherwise, I spend my night working on homework for my Grad classes. I spend evenings chilling with Tom. My weekends are spent with Ashley. I’ll go months where I travel every weekend, all over New England (though the knee has slowed me down). I just don’t have the time to make anything funny any more. There leads us to:
Zero Shared Nickels will continue to update for a few more weeks, when we run out of drafts of things to post. The site is basically running on autopilot now. By no means should this stop you from commenting or sharing these links with your friends. I love reading people’s comments!
Just because ZSN is ending, don’t think this means I am done being a moron online! Worry not! Aside from the fact that I am constantly tweeting about godknowswhat, I will have a new domain up and running this summer. Be sure to bookmark it now and add it to your RSS feed:
Special thanks to the following:
- Tom. For participating in the site and getting our asses to Boston.
- Travis. For code help and general design inspiration.
- Ashley. For sticking by me despite my ramped drinking.
- Phil. Cooking with Wilber wouldn’t have a theme song without you.
- Ben. For trying to hype the site whenever he could.
- Mike. I always enjoyed your Tales from Stop&Shop and random superhero posts!
If I forgot you, I forgot you, sorry!