Oscar Wilde once said, "Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one."
Now, I'm not a philosophy major, but that at least sounds wise. So instead of boring you with all kinds of gushy feelings about how much I'll miss coming to work for the Beacon, I'll try and make you laugh one more time (or maybe for the first time - hell, just because I think I'm funny doesn't mean anyone else does) with a collection of strange but true stories from my days working in Room 5 of the Communications Building.
DISCLAIMER: The names have been changed to protect the innocent (and engaged), except of course for mine, because I am neither innocent nor engaged.
Perhaps the first story of any substance I did for the Beacon was back during my sophomore year, when I and a colleague (who we'll call Jimmy B.) traveled to Tuscaloosa for a weekend baseball series. Jimmy and I arrived in our sweet UT ride, a rust-colored Malibu, and checked into the cheapest place we could find. On that trip, I got my first taste of life in the pressbox and my first taste of life with Jimmy.
You see, Jimmy has his Tourette's moments, when crude phrases fly out of his mouth and seemingly out of left field, but Jimmy was also blessed with a diminished sense of self-awareness. Which is how we wound up circling Alabama's Sorority Park (yes, they have houses) asking the same group of fine southern belles for directions to the baseball stadium about 20 times. As an indictment of an Alabama education, I don't think they noticed.
Jimmy B.'s self-confidence also landed us at a BP later that night, and with the help of a less-than-upstanding Tuscaloosan, ultimately cost us $20 for a 12-pack of Bud Light. Yeah, it has its downfalls.
But ever since that trip, Jimmy's been like a brother to me and always will. I've learned numerous lessons from the man, like to avoid fraternity row at Georgia on a football Saturday in car with a University of Tennessee seal on both doors. Suffice it to say that full beer cans bounce a lot farther off the roof of a car than I would have thought.
Jimmy also taught me not to judge a book by its cover, but more importantly, not to judge a woman from behind, like the time Jimmy mistakenly hit on a 60-year-old at a bar in Orlando. She had the hind-quarters of a 20-year-old, but the face Phyllis Diller. Let that be a lesson to you.
But I'd be remiss not to mention some of the other people involved - we'll call them 'Little T' and 'Big T.'
Big T was there in Orlando, grinning after Jimmy's mishap with the senior citizen. Jimmy and I were with both Big and Little T in Gainesville, as well as D.B. and Se~nor C., when we were almost evicted from a Days Inn by perhaps the scariest woman I've ever seen. I swear she was a voodoo priestess. All we did was completely dismantle a printer - with a desk chair. One of the best ways to take out your frustrations is to rip up a printer that has given you (or Little T) trouble. Yeah, like Office Space, and yet I digress...
But the stories are far too numerous to mention, and some just aren't as good if everybody knows them. But the stories and the friendships extend way beyond sports and the Beacon. I left two of my best friends behind when I transferred here after my freshman year, only to find a group of guys that are like brothers.
I've been fortunate to get to know a group of people through the Beacon first as co-workers and then as friends. While I certainly won't miss coming into work every day, as I have in some capacity for the better part of three years, I will miss the people. It's like the Oscars - I can't name names because I'll run the risk of forgetting people, but suffice it to say, you know who you are. Rest assured, dear readers, you will be in outstanding hands next year with Jeff Haws and Tim Vacek in charge of the sports desk.
And of course I can't forget all of the Farragut boys (Cort, Andy, Shaun, Steve K., Steve G., Dave, Rodney and the rest) - you guys will always have a special place in my heart.
But there I go, doing exactly what I said I wouldn't. I had to go and get all sentimental on you. I'm sorry, I got no dukes when it comes to stuff like this. So I'll leave you with one final thought - good-byes are neither "good" nor "byes." Discuss.