I Realized Something Surprising While Writing My 1,000th Medium Story

Reflections on a dubious milestone

Paul Combs

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

As I was pulling a draft from my stories page this morning, I just happened to look at the number of articles I have published here, and because my brain only retains song lyrics and quotes from movies, my first thought was a paraphrased version of a Bill Nighy quote from the questionable Christmas classic, Love Actually:

As dire chance and fateful cockup would have it, here I am, late 50s, and without knowing it I’ve gone and spent the past two years and eight months of my life writing 999 articles on Medium.

That’s right, dear readers; this is my 1,000th story on this platform. I’m as surprised as you are.

When I saw that flashing number (it wasn’t flashing in reality, but in my mind it definitely was), I very briefly considered walking away from Medium right then and there. Like Barry Sanders retiring from the NFL in the prime of his career or The Smiths breaking up after just five years, the idea of slamming on the breaks just short of what is truly a massive number seemed appealing in a what-might-have-been sort of way.

Then I remembered that even as poorly as this place pays these days, it’s one of the main ways I’ve chosen to afford the essentials of life: coffee, cigarettes, books, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and cat food (with things like rent and health insurance falling far down the list). I also remembered what I wrote in story #999 about the voices in my head needing to get onto the page lest they drive me deeper into madness than I already am. Thus, I was faced with a conundrum: what could I possibly write about that would be worthy of such a milestone?

Another ode to Bruce Springsteen seemed a likely choice (82 of those 999 articles are about him, after all). Or perhaps something about the saints or bookselling (did you know that St. John of God is the official patron saint of booksellers?). Or even a rant about one of the myriad things that irritated me just this week.

With apologies to both Bruce and the saints, none of those felt right. As much as I would love to mention that “Born to Run” is the Greatest Song Ever for the 1,000th time in story #1,000, I just can’t think of a way to…

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Paul Combs

Writer, bookseller, would-be roadie for the E Street Band. My ultimate goal is to make books as popular in Texas as high school football...it may take a while.