Decemberween ’23 — Decay!

There’s a very real consequence to being my friend, in that I will bring you terrible things to point and laugh at, unless you make it clear I shouldn’t.

Twitter has been a strange part of my life, in that it is simply put, a bad space and the actual reach and improvement it gave my life, while tangible, is hard to quantify versus the effort it took. I try to think of it less as a product I spent my labor on and more a play space I used, and try to ignore the ways in which whatever chemistry drove that place also absolutely scrubbed layers off me in the process of its operation. But Twitter is something I think of as a site I used, and my account only persists so when someone inevitably links me something because they’re not off the site either.

Anyway, one of the friends I made on Twitter was Decay, and Decay is great.

Decay's cohost avatar, which is a picture of Entrapta, which does not properly convey their chaotic Harry Duboisish stumbling through the virtualised halls of the Great Enemy, The Computer

I don’t really know what Decay ‘is’, like if you ask Decay what their title is, what job they have, they wouldn’t give you a ‘oh I’m a software engineer’ or something. In fact, I think Decay starts with ‘an anarchist’ and then moves on to refer to their job as ‘computer toucher.’ But also sometimes I’ll see them show up like ‘hey, sorry I went quiet for a month, I was building a stage that we set on fire’ or something like that.

Decay is one of those many people who I think of as ‘my cooler friend.’ And I maintain this relationship by periodically dropping into discord a link to something the dumbest person on earth said today, with the same energy of a roommate finding something terrible in the back of the fridge that neither of us remembered putting there, and insisting, ‘oh, you gotta smell this.’

I don’t do this with most of my friends. That’s not how I deal with Doc, who I show cool movie clips and funny things I find about guns in anime. That’s not how I deal with Fox who I sent video of pandas falling over. It’s not how I deal with Karen, who I send scriptural verses for our shared Bible study group. But Decay? Nope, Decay is the kind of cultural raccoon who loves when I can bring them a moment of Alex Jones faceplanting on air and leaving fifteen seconds of dead air when an academic expert refuses to play along with his lies.

Part of it is also just a matter of a common internet age. Decay and I probably started on the internet about the same time, but their original experiences were more social and a bit less focused on, y’know, -Chat-Canberra. We’re both veterans of the USENET newsgroups, we’re both familiar with the Forum Days of the internet, and yes, this is to a degree ‘two old people on a couch mad about a thing on the TV’ nonsense. But it means that there’s someone I can talk to, who I can bring opinions to and who I know doesn’t need me to explain to them how computers worked in, say, 2002.

Look, Decay is one of the most fluent speakers of Senior Cardgage I know.

Decay knows more than I do about computers and math and anarchism and a lot more about political theory and the realities on the ground of American life and politics. And you need people like this that you can talk to, you need to be able to talk to in a private space where if you say something unhinged, a friend can say ‘hey, that’s unhinged, here’s what you’re missing.’ And that’s important to me, because even if my emotional reaction to something is real and exists and feels like it matters, often I’m basing it on something I don’t truly understand.

But okay, I think Decay is great. I love and am proud of them. I am grateful they’re my friend. I trust them to kick me in the teeth if I’m being an asshole to people. But what does that mean aside from the general taunting from me of haha look at this I have a friend and I have put effort into maintaining a relationship and sometimes that involves reaching out to start a conversation, nyeh.

This is Decemberween, though. This is a chance for me to celebrate people who I love and why and not necessarily do it because of the hash tag content. But if you are interested in things like complex math, Decay has written some EffortChosts about those, and a useful guide to how hat size relates to danger in Touhou, which you can see on Cohost, if that’s a platform you use. They also have a website of their own where they’ve produced some writing about topics like The Brown M&Ms situation from the Van Halen tour.

Decay is also just an invaluable sounding board for me making sure I can explain my academic work to a person who isn’t about to quote Foucault in common conversation unless they have to. Just from our conversations, I have such gems as:

  • “Hon hon hon, je suis so raciste zat i fuck up my own thesis” where Decay had crunched through Caillois and found the part where Caillois in a book explicitly argued for European colonialism but then also universal liberation in the name of global communism.
  • “in anino ths tieh,” where we tried to get an AI image generator to do anything with the phrase ‘anarchist meme.’
  • “Haha dude don’t bogart the suicide juice,” where we found the story of someone taste-testing a friend’s end-of-life drugs at an assisted suicide.
  • “system clocks are bloatware,” where Decay explains to me just how some people relate to their operating systems
  • “Verdi’s Pitch,” where a major figure in right-wing politics espouses the idea that literally all music is wrong.
  • Multiple times when I approach with a math problem that seems to be the halting problem. Or the time I asked a question about combinatorics that resulted in us winding up in the territory of Open Problems in Cryptography.

Decay rules! Decay is cool and funny and great! And thanks to Decay, this year, I learned about LIGMA!