Thank you very much, everybody. The comments and encouragement I've seen here are extremely flattering, and I'm honored that you all have enjoyed reading my work. Really it'* all you guys who deserve the credit for making this place what it is... I just tried to describe it with a little creative detail.
I will not receive a letter grade for this paper. It is part of a three-story portfolio I'm handing in tomorrow, and my work will be judged on the amount of editing and revision I put into my stories. However, I can tell you that my professor specifically told me he enjoyed the piece. Really, I don't much care what kind of grade I get on it. I think I wrote as well as I could about an intangible thing that keeps us all coming back to this website, and as long as I was true to the cameraderie of BC, that'* what really counts
Again, many thanks to those who have commented so far. Make sure you guys point out any editing goofs that I missed so I can polish this turd to a sparkling shine!