Friday, July 19, 2013

Honor Among Tweebs

An open letter to @drinkblogrepeat, @prodigalsam, and #therealtwitterati:

I meant to write this before now. I should have! I'm writing it now with just a few hours left in the Free Times Best of Columbia 2013 Poll, but writing it at this late hour is better than not writing it at all, I guess. I hope.

For those of you who may not live in or around the Columbia, South Carolina area, our most popular newspaper (hey, it's my blog, I calls it like I sees it) is a free weekly paper aptly named... Free Times. For the past four years, they've held a "popularity" poll covering topics from biggest media hog to best bar to hit up with only $10 to your name. It begins with a round of write-in nominations, from which they then publish the top nominees as a multiple-choice ballot for the public's opinion on the best of the Best of Columbia. 

This year, they've added a new category: Best Twitter-er. I mounted a mini campaign for a write-in in the nomination round, more for fun than anything else - there has never been one single day in all of my 14402 days* that I would or could have described myself as "popular". In fact, I once lost a student council election in the 8th grade... ordinarily not that big of a deal, sure, but I was running unopposed. Riiight. See? (I ended up getting the gig by default, and the council was just me and Assistant Vice Principal Cankles, whose name I cannot recall.)

So: Imagine my surprise when I found myself as one of the four nominees for the Best Twitter-er in Columbia. ME! I was shocked. Thrilled! Amazed! Heartbroken.

Yes, heartbroken. Because of the three other nominees in my category, one is my late, great, wonderful friend Rick Stilwell. He died on January 11, 2013, and there he is, his name right above mine, nominated to be Columbia's Best Twitter-er of 2013. 

The thing is: He deserves to win. I think that the first time "Best Twitter-er" is a category in this poll, Rick should be the guy. Rick was the Randy Newman of our local Twitterati. Always there, always a favorite, always with just the right narrative, always showing up in our timelines with the right accompaniment for the timeline at hand. Did he win awards for it? Nope. Would he have needed to win awards for it? Nah. He just loved what he did. And then, after all these years, in spite of having passed on, when finally Rick is going to #WinAnyway - I hope, and I really do believe he should win - somewhere out there in heaven or the afterlife or whatever awaits, he'll be RandyNewmanizing his acceptance of the win. After the heavenly afterlife twitter version of a standing ovation, an amused @RickCaffeinated wouldn't want your pity, but he'd be grateful, and so honored, to have won your votes.

So, to get around to my point, I'd like to ask you, @drinkblogrepeat and @prodigalsam, with apologies for this late hour, to encourage your followers to vote for @RickCaffeinated instead of asking them to vote for you. Even though we lost our friend on that Friday morning in January, Rick's account continued to tweet - beginning with a tweet during our impromptu memorial toast in his honor at Jamestown Coffee Company - every five days, until his last tweet arrived... five months to the day after his passing, on June 11, 2013.

Rick's Final Tweet

If Rick wins, I kind of like to think that we all win. Because really? I think we would.

*That's right. Math. I did some. I am 39 years and 157 days old as of this writing. That's 14402 days, 2057 weeks (plus 3 days), and I've been alive for 10 leap years (which is to say 10 February 29ths). I'm going to text my mother so that she can answer "473 months" whenever she needs to mention the age of her eldest child.