Articles by Brian Jackson
Ten Years of axnjaxn.com
19 May 2016
I registered this domain at the end of my freshman year in college - ten years ago, today.
Are any of us the same person we were ten years ago?
My wife and I - see, I wasn't even dating anybody ten years ago - my wife and I came to Seattle for PAX in 2014, and I didn't bring a jacket. Classic Seattle mistake. I bought a gaudy fleece jacket from the hotel with "SEATTLE WA" emblazoned in white text on the chest.
We live in Seattle now. I still wear the jacket. I think I kept this domain for the same reason I kept the jacket. It reminds me of a place and time. It reminds me of a mindset. In 2014, Seattle was an uncharted wilderness, full of good food, famous landmarks, and more tech companies than I'd ever seen in one place. In 2016, those things are just as much the case, but the struggle is to avoid framing the blessings I've received as normal. Expected, even.
So I wear the jacket, and I try to remember what it was like the first time I put it on to walk up Virginia Street to the coffeeshop at the Moore Theater.
I was in sixth grade when someone called me "Action Jackson" for the first time. I was on a class trip to a climbing gym. I wanted desperately to live up to that name, oblivious (of course) to Carl Weathers, or even to the fact that they used to call my father the same thing in school. I took every chance I could to use the name, like an adolescent George Constanza. It became my handle in every online game, my username on every forum, and my signature on half a dozen blogs (including an Angelfire page, a Geocities site, three Blogspots, and God-knows-how-many .TK domains). It was the crammed seven-letter pseudonym of a white kid who craved being cool and repeatedly fell short of the mark.
But, like the jacket, when I put on the name, I'm suddenly in all those moments again, with the benefit of my present perspective. I was a poseur, at best, when I distributed floppy-disk copies of my programming 'zine to the other kids, but not now. I did not have any life experience to put my convictions in context. My disparate interests are enshrined in links that I've just never taken down on this website: webcomics, fighting games, manga, even the distinctly unprofessional barely-games I wrote when the site went live. Gracefully, I don't have to hold on to those things.
To be human is to change, a slow boiling down that, if we're lucky, continues until only the essence is left.
I still want to live up to the name - be a man of action, and follow the example that so many have set for me. I only hope that in ten more years, if I decide to keep the lights on here for that long, that I will be as different from my present identity as I am now from when I tuned out class for an afternoon so that I could write some very unprofessional web content.
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