And just like that, my writing days were over.
Not so, my friends, not so. It’s true – this is my last official column as a staff writer for The award-winning Carroll News, and it is most certainly bittersweet. (Don’t worry; there’s one more after this in the senior special edition in a few weeks, but this is the last installment of “The Bayer Necessities.”)
And let me say, I have loved being here for you these four years. For some, I am glad I could serve as your Virgil through the nine treacherous levels of Niehoff’s Inferno, a.k.a. JCU (just kidding, Father – I’m sure if we met, we’d be great friends). And for others, I am glad I could serve as your last-minute giftwrap or your bathroom reading material when your phone was dead and my face was lying on the floor.
Alas, I have reached the end of my time in this sacred spot on the bottom left-hand corner of page 18 in The Carroll News. I don’t know who will be taking my place, but I can only hope that it is someone with the courage to inspire, entertain and offend people in the name of free speech and humor.
It seems that I’ve written on just about every subject that seemed relevant, so in many ways, I feel that I’ve given you the key to understanding the meaning of life. Now your job is to figure it out.
That being said, how can I possibly come up with an ending that ties together all of these collegiate themes in one culminating column? The answer is simple: I can’t. That is why I have decided to offer you several “deus ex machina” endings. You may choose the one that best suits you.
Option A: The Ignatian tear-jerker
As I move onto this next chapter of my life, I can’t help but give thanks. Foremost, I thank God for guiding me through this chapter of my life and helping me realize that the journey truly is the destination; also to the amazing people in my life who have kept my Jesuit swag off the charts; and to the educators at this school who have gone out of their way to educate me both in the classroom and as a person for and with others. Thank you.
Next year, I will be working towards peace, by fighting for justice in Ecuador at Rostro de Cristo. This is not a path I could have ever anticipated, but the overwhelming guidance and support I have gotten from my family at home and at Carroll has made me confident that this is the best way to leave my handprint on the world right now.
So, in honor of our little school in Cleveland, here is my senior adaptation of our fight song:
Onward, On John Carroll, For you’ve given me four great years;
Onward, On John Carroll, Onto Jesuit dreams and noble careers;
Onward, On John Carroll, You’ve helped me conquer all my fears;
Dear Alma Mater, brave colors gold and blue, you’ve led me to new frontiers.
Option B: The good riddance
Finally! No more 5:37 a.m. deadline nights, no more writer’s block, no more 12-hour-old Guy’s Pizza. Tuesday nights are mine again.
So what should I do with all this time? Go to The Pub, right? Nope – I’m sleeping. I haven’t slept on a Tuesday night since high school. I don’t even know if my body will let me. But, darn it, I’m going to try.
So here are a few good riddance secrets that I’ll share with you: 1) I never know what the WonderWord means either, so stop asking me. 2) I’m a mostly sarcastic person. Good luck figuring out if I’m being serious about that. 3) In November, I voted for the candidate with both an “M” and an “O” in his last name. And 4) More of you need to write letters to the editor. Seriously, you’ve got the gift of free speech – use it. Apathy hates everyone equally.
Option C: The M. Night
I have a confession to make. I know this whole time you’ve been reading these columns, you’ve ascribed them to a fellow you think is Brian Bayer. Well, that’s not entirely true. You see, there is no Brian Bayer.
Here’s the twist: the person you think is Brian Bayer is Dan Cooney. Think about it … You’ve never actually seen the two together. You might think you have, but it’s always been when you’re really hung over – you’re just seeing double.
Thing is, I, Dan Cooney, have a lot that I want to say, but I don’t want to tarnish my reputation as the friendliest guy on campus. That’s why I secretly live a double life as the distance-running, five o’clock-shadowed, sexy journalist you know as Brian; through that name, I have been able to conquer every topic, from sex to Jesus. Just like Pokémon, I got ‘em all.
Roll the credits. Bayer out.