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The End of YesButNoButYes - Goodbye from Aquaman

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(Note from Scaramouch: As part of our final celebrations, I reached out to past and present writers and asked them all to contribute a final story. This one's is from Aquaman. Enjoy)

If I were to publish an autobiography, nobody would read it. Whoever gave it the green light would (and should) be fired. But if you stuck with it through the self-indulgent chapters on high school jobs and dog ownership, you'd be rewarded with one surreal section--the time when my boss at the ad agency started a pop culture blog and asked us to contribute on the clock.

The year was 2005. Clients were coming to us with questions about dipping their toes in this newfangled blogosphere thing. Some of those questions were predictably terrible. "People are complaining about our ad campaign on a message board. We're upset, and we want to tell them how wrong they are. Can you help us set up a blog?" (OK, I'm paraphrasing.) Scaramouch wisely thought we should know more about blogging than that the word was derived from "web log." So he started YesButNoButYes.

The first few weeks, it felt like we were talking to ourselves, a feeling supported by analytics. But a funny thing happened--people started reading. People in the building, then people in other buildings. Pretty soon, we had actual fans, and actual people who hated us.

Then much funnier things started happening.

I remember getting a meeting request one day. It was a long meeting with a vague title, so I went looking for answers. "I got in touch with K.C. Armstrong from the Howard Stern Show," Jellio explained. "We're going to interview him on speakerphone about where he's been." Woodward and Bernstein we weren't, but Page Six picked up our scoop the next morning.

We once interviewed the Naked Cowboy via conference call. He was not pleased that we'd also tracked down (and patched in) the Naked Cowgirl.

I did a Q&A with one of the fictional characters from the Degree In-Action Heroes campaign. Their ad agency approached us! I pictured the miserable junior copywriter who was tasked with responding to my ridiculous questions ("It's often said that young children have more fun playing with the box the toy came in than the toy itself. After your role as the Suck-Up Guy In-Action Hero, are you hurt by that?")

All this was far more interesting than the Free Checking banners I was supposed to be working on.

In addition to having a stranglehold on the top search result for "Famous Virgins," YesButNoButYes holds a special place in my heart. It's where I learned through trial and error (mostly error) how to engage readers online. It's where I learned that bitching about my commute made my commute much more bearable. It's where I learned people will go to great lengths for a free t-shirt. It's where I learned to take an anonymous punch from an incensed commenter without it ruining my day. And it's where I learned that underwear = pageviews.

I'd like to thank Scaramouch for letting me join in on the fun those many years ago. Since 2007, I've been employed by mental_floss magazine as the managing editor of mentalfloss.com, a job there's no chance I'd have without my experience with YesButNoButYes. When I'm old and gray, watching Cosby Show reruns on Nick-at-Nite in a nursing home, some senile pervert will wave a cane in my direction and ask if Rudy Huxtable grew up to be hot. At that moment, I'll think back to my time with YesButNo and smile.

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