This is why I don’t like to look back. This is why I won’t use Facebook. This is why past a certain point in my life, I have a strict firewall.
Stupidly, I let this post by Bob Lefsetz influence me. I decided to look up three people.
One of them was Alan R. Bechtold. Who I then learned had died back in 2015, eerily almost to this very date.
This is why I don’t like to look back.
Alan was one of the people on this side of my firewall. He saw what I was doing at the time in the pre-Internet online world and thought there was more cheese to be had. But none of it was my cheese, so it was all OK. It was me he spoke to when The Logical Gamer — his brilliant printed tabloid of Siskel & Ebert-like reviews of console games back then — was folding and he wanted to launch a weekly news service for Bulletin-Board Systems (BBSes).
And he had two truly innovative ideas.
1) He wanted sysops to pay for it, and
2) He wanted the Audit Bureau of Circulations to verify the readership so he could sell ads!
(What? You thought all that only started with the Internet? There was online before the Internet. Keep up!)
Absolutely no one else even came close to the way Alan thought. And his power of persuasion — he was a natural at it. I was having trouble getting sysops to cooperate for their own benefit with me for free. While he was getting them to open their wallets and send him money! I should have asked him for lessons!
I liked Alan so much that I sometimes did trade show reports and such for his weekly online news service — which was called the Bulletin-Board Press Service (or BPS, a play on the abbreviation for bits per second of the time, the speed of modems used to get online) — for free, as long as he agreed not to edit my work at all. Well, the day came when we disagreed on the introduction to something I wrote. We discussed it, and I let him change it. Because he was right. He wasn’t only a writer in his own right, he was a damn good editor too.
Here’s Alan discussing a bit of those days:
I’m not exactly sure who the two people are. I know one was a woman whose name I can no longer recall. The other, might it have been me? I’ll never know.
Life intervened — a Jordan Peterson-style “catastrophe” struck my life — and we lost touch. I did look him up on the Net once before, however. I saw that he had moved into Internet Marketing. Like I said, I hate looking back, so I didn’t contact him to catch up or otherwise bug him.
And now he’s gone. Been gone.
To quote Bob Lefsetz, the instigator of this:
And that’s when I realized, it’s happening, the tribe is being thinned, people are being cleaved off.
That’s why I don’t look back. I don’t want to see the bodies.
Rest in peace, Alan. You were not forgotten.