Thursday, May 26, 2005

Turning in the Decoder Ring

Completely done. My last column — my last verbal contribution ever to the Nexus — ran today. I like it. I think it's a good enough way to cap off a three-year stint as a semiregular opinion columnist. Good night, Artful Dodger.
Turning in the Decoder Ring
Now It's Time to Figure Out a Way to Dodge the Real World.

During my five years at UCSB, the phrase “last quarter” always referred to the previous quarter — as in, “Jeez, my grades went down the toilet last quarter.” Recently, however, I realized that these two words have gained a whole new meaning. “Last quarter” now means just that - my final quarter at this school, as an undergraduate anywhere, or as a writer for the Daily Nexus.

Before I can even begin to imagine what life without this newspaper might be like, I’m set with the task of writing my final column. Historically, Nexus farewells include a thank you to every person the soon-to-be-unemployed columnist ever spoke to within the dingy office walls.

Thank you, now-graduated editor who initially did not remember my name. Thank you, now-dropped-out reporter I fired for sucking. Thank you, lady who gives me my paycheck. You get the idea. I, however, will not name names.

Having tapped away at a keyboard here for the past four years, my list of thank yous would stretch beyond the length restrictions for the acceptable Nexus column. I’ve worked with a fine group of reporters, columnists, editors, artists and photographers here. Their cumulative influence will return me to the world with a better understanding of how to put a sentence together.

The one person I will specifically thank is Tiffany Leung. She lived a few dorm rooms down from me during freshman year. Way back then, life on the eighth floor of San Nic was marked by video games and booze-soaked dorm carpets. Yet, despite these distractions, Tiffany somehow had the insight to attend Nexus writer’s training. She said she might like to one day see her name in the paper, and I agreed to sit through the two-night session with her.

Though I’m fairly sure Tiffany completed the training course, she graduated last June without ever having written an article. Whether it was her predisposition to the more scientific side of academia or a reluctance to sacrifice all her free time, the Nexus didn’t work out for her. And I am about to complete what I would consider a fairly successful four-year stint. So thank you, Tiffany Leung, for nudging me into writing in a way that might actually prove useful later in my life. You never got your name in the paper, so I thought I’d put it in my last-ever Nexus contribution as my way of saying thanks.

Before I turn in my Nexus decoder ring, I would also like to put to rest those questions we Nexites find ourselves being asked by our peers when we wander into Isla Vista during rare spurts of free time. Though we may spend our day running around, asking questions and jotting the answers down in our reporter’s notebooks, we invariably spend our nights at parties, answering questions about work as soon as anybody finds out where we work. The questions are always the same.

Yes, Beth Van Dyke was hot.

Yes, that was her real name.

No, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Dave Franzese.

And no, I don’t care that you think your girlfriend could write the Wednesday Hump any better.

Yes, Sean Swaby does drink a lot of beer.

No, I don’t know who the Weatherhuman is. For all I know, it could be you.

Yes, we get paid.

No, it’s not very much.

Yes, we do get decoder rings.

No, they don’t double as walkie-talkies.

No, we’re not all on drugs.

But yes, we are all doing it with each other.

And yes, sometimes in Storke Tower.

That being said, it’s been a blast, this sexless marriage to a time-eating monster called the Daily Nexus. If the best hours of my post-Nexus career are as good as the ones this beast consumed, then I’m walking away from this office with no regrets.

As you read this, Daily Nexus training editor Drew is trying to remember what having a real job was like.
Weirdly, when I look at the Nexus archives, it says I only have written 45 opinion columns. I could have sworn it would have been more. Oh well. I guess I'm not as opinionated as I thought I was.

Topics covered besides that of today's column:
  • eavesdropping
  • grammar
  • subleasers
  • raccoons
  • the Super Bowl
  • mosquitoes
  • the ugliness of Storke Plaza
  • capital punishment
  • the B-52's "Rock Lobster" and censorship
  • "Mr. Personality"
  • English majors and the shame of using Cliffs Notes
  • the surreal summer of 2003
  • GOLD
  • "You know this is wrong"
  • the Hollister Co.
  • auditioning for "The Real World"
  • professors' politics
  • Bam
  • make-up
  • the utter brutality of the cut flower market
  • stupidity
  • the ugliness of the 2004 presidential candidates
  • Jay Leno's bloated salary
  • sex clones
  • why the plus in "A+" should affect your GPA
  • the proliferation of the word "ass"
  • being a super senior
  • Week of Welcome
  • hurricanes
  • Conan O'Brien's vindication over Jay Leno's bloated salary
  • Gmail
  • driving etiquette
  • why I didn't attend a "walk-out" protesting the war in Iraq
  • The Facebook
  • The Santa Barbara International Film Festival
  • Valentine's Day and consumerism
  • GOLD (again)
  • my concussion
  • the Queer G.E.


  1. Anonymous6:07 PM

    Just a thanks for all your services at the Nexus. It made my life in Santa Barbara a lot more enjoyable while i was there and filled many a boring ass asian studies lectures with some sort of meaning.

  2. Hey Drew,

    Thanks for finally putting my name in the Nexus. =)

    I barely even remember nudging you, but I was glad you came with me to the training session. I'm still in SB, at the city college. have steered towards the direction of food chemistry (aka cooking) in culinary school.

    heard about your last column and just had to check it out. thanks again for all those years of fun reads and congratulations to graduating UCSB!


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