ONALASKA, WIS — An Onalaska man reached the end of a long and perilous journey Friday as he was finally able to read an article from a local newspaper’s website.
Local news enthusiast Jared Markford began the arduous process of making his way through advertisements with the eventual goal of becoming informed six years ago to the day.
“I clicked on a link from The La Crosse Tribune’s Facebook page,” Markford said. “I knew there were going to be some ads, but I didn’t know how bad this was going to be.”
Markford said it started with a series of survey questions which quickly broke into a lengthy series of pop-up ads.
“The first two and half years was pop ups,” he said. “The interesting part was that just as you learned the pattern of where the ‘X’s’ were going to be, everything changed and you had to relearn.”
What followed, he said, were several mini-games, flash videos and the occasional Best of La Crosse County survey. His very last struggle was with an automotive dealership mini-game.
“I was playing through the Pishcke Motors ad-game where you smash through all of the brick wall murals in the area,” Markford said, “and all of the sudden there was just silence. No movement. Like I was on Apollo 11 and we had just broken through the atmosphere into space. It was beautiful.”
There were unfortunate consequences of trying to read an article from The La Crosse Tribune. Markford’s fiance decided to leave him seven months in and he lost his job due to poor attendance.
“It’s not all bad,” he added. “I lost a ton of weight… Anyway, did you hear that Robin Williams died? So tragic.”
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.