I will not miss John Bolaris.
Scratch that. I don’t know John Bolaris, don’t need to know him, and he might be a really swell guy for all I know. But I’m ready to be done with the spectacle of John Bolaris in Philadelphia, ready to be done with how his seeming (and seemingly completely oblivious) need to always be the center of attention turned him into a poster child for reality show culture and into a mascot for Philly’s large population of ironists and car-crash fans, everybody craning their neck for a chance to see when he’d finally implode.
I will not miss that he announced his departure to New York in a newspaper column instead of surprising us, for once, by slipping out of town, quiet and unnoticed. I will not miss that the best memory he could share of his 20 years in Philly was of somebody else getting to meet him. ( “Holy s—, I’m driving Hugh Douglas and John Bolaris to the park.”) I will not miss that, even in the last column, he was still fighting all the old fights he should’ve walked away from a long time ago, if only for the sake of starting over, or not embarrassing his daughter.
I will not miss his inability to just shut up. I will not miss the way he can dominate our pop culture discussions by refusing to just shut up.
I will not miss his Twitter feed. I will not miss all the fights with “haters” that he couldn’t walk away from. I will not miss his daily forecasts—as though everything else, the women, the gossip column appearances, the higher-profile embarrassments, and subsequent firing, were all just a sideshow to his deep need to let you know what tomorrow’s high temperature will probably be. I will not miss that that charade ultimately meant he got engaged to his centerfold girlfriend—on Howard Stern’s radio show—just as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the region he professes to love so much. I will not miss that even during a disaster, after he’d been out of the forecasting game for awhile, one of the century’s worst storms became about him.
I will not miss old stories about how badly he screwed the pooch on the “Storm of the Century.”
I will not miss that his girlfriend “accidentally” posted nude shots of herself to his Twitter account. I will not miss that all of the above landed him on the Dr. Phil show.
I will not miss the amount of Philadelphia journalistic energy (including my own, frankly) that’s gone into tending the John Bolaris flame long after it should’ve been allowed to burn out. We’ve enabled him—not that he needed much enabling—to keep on down the path of public self-destruction, and we’ve done so pretty much because it was a hilarious, funny thing to do. And, no, I will not miss feeling yucky about that.
I won’t miss having to note, chagrined, that saying all of this publicly just perpetuates the cycle of ego-primping I’m saying should finally, mercifully, come to an end.
I will not miss John Bolaris. But I wish him good luck in New York. Hopefully, we’ll never hear from or about him, ever again. And hopefully, that’ll mean he’s finally found some peace.