This is a reposting of my final piece for the Star News. Oh, man. The tears!
This is my last column.
Automatically, the idea that I’m being canned, that the column has been a by-product of our odd recession, pops up in the head. Doesn’t it? He finally went too far, he crossed the line, he said something he never should have said and “the Man” is sending him down the road with a stick and a handkerchief to stuff his few belongs: a pistol and a picture of his last, true love.
Nope, I’m not being fired. Instinctively, I want to be vague and mysterious. But Wilmington has been really good to me. So I’m going to share. I received my Masters in Creative Writing from UNCW in May and I found a teaching job in Rockville, Maryland starting in September. So that’s that. Putting it down with words makes it seem like the most simple of things, something that I should want and be happy about. An old saying finally has some clarity to me, now. You ain’t gotta go home, but you can’t stay here.
I have negative physical reactions around sentimentality or nostalgia. Those moments in the airport when the guy looks over his shoulder and she waves? Yeah, I hate that crap. But I will miss this column. I have never worked on something this consistently, and have never felt this satisfied. If I could change anything, I would change my word limit. 800 words were never enough.
To all the bars. Every single one of you horrible monsters. I hate some of you, and love some of you more than I should. Wilmington is amazing. Do you know that? Our nightlife scene is so robust that people talk about it in different countries, in different languages. Bars are not a place to get drunk. They are our modern day watering holes. We share our stories there. We share our desires and our hopes. If you don’t already, you should spend more time in one.
I love the Blue Post most of all. My second home. A place that has given me nothing but love and hangovers. They don’t need my endorsement, and that’s why I’ve never given it before. Real recognizes real. The staff are beautiful people. They have my admiration and my respect.
To John Staton. He’s been my editor since the first day I began writing for Currents magazine. I’m happy also to call him my pal. We have shared the good times and the bad times equally, I believe. He has done what every good editor should: Forced me do to something I didn’t want to do. He made me cover Girls Gone Wild. He made me do a bar review of the Liquid Room. He’s caused more pain and suffering than I want to remember, and I owe him so much. If you liked this column, you owe thanks to John as well. The only reason this column has seen print for as long as it has is because of him.
To anyone I made upset or angry. Well, hmm. The very nature of a columnist is to make someone mad, to find something that is wrong and say, hey that’s stupid. I will be the first to admit that I looked for the bad more often than the good. The glass was more than half empty. It was shattered and leaking. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t push people to a riot fever, men with touches calling for my head in the streets. I’ll miss my enemies the most.
To you guys, the readers. I never would have thought that my nature (angry, cynical, deceptive, plain rude) would be appealing to anyone besides Satan. I’ve never lied to you, and I suppose that is what you are looking for. Thank you. Really, thank you for reading. I’m weird about attention. It humbles me, the response this column has received. From deep down, thank you all.
My successor will be Mr. Jonathon Guggenheim. Here is a piece of an actual conversation.
“Do you want to do it?” I asked him.
“I want to do it,” he said.
“You have to do a column every week. Like, with a deadline.”
“Oh, man,” he frowned. “I don’t know. No, wait. I can do this. Once a week? Really? Ok, wait. I can. Seriously. Let me think about it.”
I call him my friend. Which means we typically like the same women. That gets old. But otherwise, he’s tops. I’m excited to see his eyes dim a bit, watch him frown with disgust at a horrible motion in the nightlife scene. I leave your voyeuristic needs firmly in his capable hands.
I don’t believe in good byes. See you soon. I hope you all have a good evening.