It is said that all good things come to an end. Some are ended too soon by debilitation or death, and some are ended by joy. And then there's the career and scheduling dilemmas that led to my retirement announcement. I have 14 credits left before I graduate, but most of the journalism classes I need to graduate aren't available until the fall of 2000. My career at the Excelsior has had its ups and downs, between getting to meet movie stars, seeing my name up in print almost every week, the flame wars from the opposition, the threats of lawsuit and libel from a nutcase who ran the opposition newspaper, and the lack of income I have received for my services.
I first stepped into the Excelsior office in February 1997. At the time, I had just transferred from Towson State University, and I was recovering from the extracurricular bombardment most freshmen and tranfer students endure when they start their experiences at Brooklyn College. I was very surprised when they called me back to say they were printing my "Grammy Predictions" column. And from there, I wrote more. Music reviews. Media reviews. Editorials (such as the famed Campus Gripes series). Responses to an anonymous critic over at Channel 4. Even some papers I wrote for Journalism classes, such as "Online Harassment" and "Death by Media." And along the way, I made friends with many of the Excelsior writers, most of whom were born around the time I was in kindergarten and elementary school.
To Aly Walansky: You took over the Excelsior during one of its roughest hours. You turned the ship around when others (Ann Marie, USL, and company) tried to sink it. Your tastes are a bit oo immature for some, but you cook one mean turkey.
To Gary Lynch: Every group needs its clown. I'm sure you are serious in some of your demented liberal beliefs, but you kept me smiling when other made me consider leaving a while back. If it weren't from you, I wouldn't have been able to make that last vacation to visit my relatives in Colorado in 1998. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have kept my sanity during that time I had the heart scare because of a faulty EKG reading. I'd better stop now before I come out with something more backhanded and sarcastic.....
To Jon Koza: Everyone needs a level headed friend who is there in times of misfortune and calamity. Fortunately for me, you were that friend. Remember me when you get that estate in Scotland.
To Rashawn Chisholm: Through my two and a half years here, you've been the sane, mature voice of reason. When others thought the next big thing was WuTang or Third Eye Blind, you reminded them about how good the old school was. You're the only guy on the paper besides me who can decipher that Billboard magazine thing. And thanks for reminding me, against the protests of others here, that being born in 1970 or 1972 doesn't qualify as geezer status. Don't worry, your name is already on Mary Wilson's rolodex.
To Meredith Tomback: You're one of the few people I know who have been through the rough road of supporting yourself through college. You may have left the paper two semesters ago, but you still get mail here. And an anonymous friend of mine wants to know when you're reviving the Phil Collins Fan Club. Aly says you're welcome back here any time.
To Sabina Mollot: Thanks for proving me wrong about people who are into that counterculture thing. You're a good writer and a good illustrator. If I ever get my own business, will your dominatrix still work in advertising?
To Jazzy Lino, Barbara Pizarro, and Carole: I've had problems with most of the people I've met on the opposition paper. You three, however, have been nice to me, and for that, I'm grateful. Barbara, I hope you know that Aly was willing to give you a staff position at the Excelsior if you wanted it. Jazzy, thanks for keeping that Delphi forum I started alive and for proving I'm not the only Mets fan left on this campus. And Carole, watch out, because Gary wants to move in with you.
To Julia Neale: I mainly remember you from that Creative Writing class I took back in the fall of 1997, but it seems you thrived here while I was in financial exile in 1998. Before you, I didn't know there was an alternative to the WNBA. Before you, I didn't know any sports writer could successfully tame Gary. Too bad we didn't get to see more of each other.
To Kit Lo: Thanks for bringing some computer know-how to this office. And thanks to being an antidote to the likes of the nameless sexually obsessed slandering idiots that have roamed the Excelsior office in the past. But I think you should consult someone about your Teutonic obsessions (i.e. Rammstein and Ute Lemper).
To Jason Weiser: Sure, some people say you're a nut (and those people are from the nutty liberal persuasion anyway). But you're the Excelsior's nut, and you make more sense than any of the idiots in student government.
And to Howie, Tsippa, Zissi, Megan, and others who didn't get a paragraph or two, I have only limited space in this paper and on this website, and I acknowledged you here as opposed to the "Campus Gripes Hall of Shame." Don't think I haven't forgotten you!
And to my sister, Mrs. Suzanne Faith Clarke Hayes Johnson: You see, Suz, college isn't so bad. If you know what the hell you're doing, you can actually do well in a place like this. I've seen your e-mail, and you can write. And I'm sure that if you wrote for this paper, you could save the Garth Brooks, Three-6 Mafia, and Wynonna Judd CDs from certain destruction. Besides, Allie and Jamie need to emulate their mother more. Lord knows this family's been through too much crap this decade. If you ever do decide to move to New York, this city's not that bad, and it's certainly safer than New Orleans, Memphis, or Baton Rouge. And with your luck, I might need your help in finding one of those free housing deals.
December 6, 1999/BC Excelsior