So Long (and Thanks for All the Fish)
By Steven Robert Allen
Bittersweet isn't my favorite flavor in the world, but sometimes you just have to swallow the pill and hope the effect will be a healthy one. Indulge me for a moment while I daydream about how I got to this point.
Here's how it went: Back in 1998, I weaseled my way into the Alibi by writing 100-word “Speed Reader” book reviews (for five bucks a pop). The next year, I became the paper's theater reviewer. In 1999, I took over as arts and literature Editor. In 2005, I became editor.
Those are the basic stats, but they don't really say much, do they? My memories are of: Packs of dogs running wild through the office (quit staring at my lunch, Como). Carl wailing away on his guitar whenever his computer crashed (which was often). Cassyle rollerskating down the hallway. The stench of death in the old upstairs fridge. The rain falling on Hickory's desk. The weekend Quake sessions with accompanying violent cussing from the production boys. The Gracchi spewing face-melting punk rock in the lobby after hours. Huddling around that crappy black and white TV with the aluminum foil rabbit ears on 9/11, watching the world fall apart before our eyes.
What else can I say?
In the span of a decade, the Alibi became my second home. (It sometimes felt like my first home.) I've been both an eyewitness and a participant in this paper's finest moments as well as its worst. I'm going to miss the work, the grueling but weirdly satisfying toil required to put out a newspaper every week. Most of all, though, I'm going to miss the staff ... my friends.
On Oct. 1, I begin a new job as executive director of Common Cause New Mexico, the state chapter of the venerable government watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C. I'm extremely excited. I'll get to use my law degree, which has largely remained dormant for the past 12 years. More importantly, I'll have an opportunity to positively influence public life in New Mexico—no small thing.
Man, though, am I ever going to miss this place. The current editorial staff is the best we've ever had, and they've won plenty of regional and national awards to prove their worth. I fully expect the paper's best days are ahead of it.
That's one reason why I don't mind making an exit, not too much, anyway. To tell you the truth, I'm eager to just be an ordinary reader, to pick up the Alibi on Thursday from one of those ubiquitous blue metal boxes, just like everyone else, and take a peek inside. For a change, it'll be a surprise. I'm really looking forward to that.
So, so long, everyone—thanks for the fish, and the memories. I can honestly say it's been a pleasure.
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