Hey, all four of you who still care about what’s going on in the world of soap operas, I’ve got some news for you: This morning, NBC announced that it has renewed Days of our Lives, the best sole remaining sudser in its daytime lineup, for another 18 months. That’ll keep Days — which celebrated its 43rd birthday last weekend — on the air through at least September 2010.

A PopWatch editor asked me if I’d write a little “fanboy tribute” to a show that I admittedly still watch every day, and his choice of wording made me smile. I guess I never thought of my allegiance to Days as anything approaching “fanboy.” (Soap operas are downmarket enough as it is. Can’t I at least call myself a connoisseur?) Truth is, he’s right. By my estimation, I’ve been watching Days since I was roughly five years old. And after doing some very rough math, I can tell you that I’ve given approximately 6,240 hours of my life — many of them right after walking home from Catholic grade school — to this show. My love for Days peaked in the early-to-mid ’90s, when crazypants writer James E. Reilly launched the infamous buried alive storyline (still my all-time favorite), the Maison Blanche mystery, the legend of Samantha Brady (where would be without Alison Sweeney, people?), and what ended up being probably the most controversial storyline in daytime history: the demonic possession of Marlena Brady. Come on, PopWatchers, I know you remember this fantastic crap!!

As glad as I am to see Days given yet another reprieve, I can’t say I’ve sat through an episode fully absorbed in years. The show has been in a creative slump for a while now, there isn’t a single storyline currently holding my interest, and I’m not sure that NBC has the money (or the desire) to save what is admittedly one of the last of a dying breed. But we’ll see. In the meantime I, like any loyal soap fan, will keep tuning in tomorrow, ready to spend another 42 minutes with my beautiful, clueless, dazzling, and inane friends in Salem, U.S.A.

So, who’s willing to join my shame spiral and ‘fess up to be a present (or past) Days watcher? What are your all-time favorite storylines? And if you’re still watching, what’s your advice for the show in its next two years?