It was two years and seven months ago that I drove my primer-gray GMC Jimmy over a ridge just after sunset and saw the neon lights of Wendover, my first real sight in Nevada.
As my eyes were inundated with the bright flashes, I remember my first thought being "Welcome to Nevada."
It seems fitting that I will leave the state the same way.
You see, yesterday was my last day at the Nevada Appeal. That's right, your prayers have all been answered " this will be the last Party of One.
It's been an interesting final week, one that I can say may be among the most stressful in recent memory.
First off, my mom and girlfriend have been alone together in an apartment rummaging through all my worldly belongings while I am chained to a desk. I'm pretty sure that's chapter one in the "how to cause a break-up" handbook.
To be honest, I was really hoping that I could just tell only the people that absolutely needed to know I was leaving and just one day not show up.
In fact, I flirted with the idea of starting a rumor that I died, just to see how long it took for news of my demise to get back to me.
Yeah, did you hear about Jarid? He looked so normal. Who knew he would just snap, cover himself in meat and run through a lion cage? I gotta say though, screaming 'can't beat the meat' " that's one sweet way to go out.
I decided against it " mostly hoping to avoid police involvement " and figured I'd just make my last column really memorable.
So I sat down to write my final tirade and I went through my usual pre-column ritual. Got my Doritos and my Cherry Coke Zero, did some preliminary stretching, insulted a Taco Bell clerk, sacrificed a chicken and was ready to begin.
But, as I sat there, I realized that I had no idea how I wanted my " as an adorable 80-year-old woman called it " "cute little journal" to conclude.
The way I figure it, I had two options. One, I could take the yearbook approach and thank everyone for all the hard work, tell you all how much I will miss your comments and how it's been a pleasure to provide you a laugh once a week.
But in reality, most of that is utter crap. Why? 'Cause most of your comments are down right mean and involve me slowly expiring in some horrible, nightmare-causing way.
As I was cleaning out my desk the other day, I came across all the snail mail letters people have sent me. While each one of them brought a smile to my face, there was one that is still my favorite.
Dear devil worshipper,
I cannot believe they allow you to continue to spew your filth without fear of repercussion. Your bosses should be worried, not only for their business, but for the health of your immortal soul.
You seem like a empty, shallow animal in need some morals and a good beating.
Go (expletive) yourself.
(OK, so I changed the last line, but the rest is printed verbatim.)
But that letter leads me to option two: Just printing a list of people who should be stripped naked and repeatedly dunked into a tank filled with electric eels.
My immediate concern with this option is length, as there is only a certain amount of space available and I couldn't get the list under five pages.
Perhaps listing all 100 members of the Osmond family individually wasn't the most efficient method, but hindsight is 20/20.
Then I figured, I should probably use my voice and platform to attempt to enlighten the masses. You know, tell people what I will remember from my time in Northern Nevada.
But, after thinking about it, I narrowed it down to two jewels.
One, this town has the creepiest looking store clerks I have ever met. Hands down.
Two, I can honestly say that I have never eaten more in one sitting than I have here. That was not a good two days.
In the end, I realized that any of the ideas for my final column would mean that I will be missing an opportunity to say thanks to all the people who did take time out of their busy schedules to write or call me and tell me I made their day better.
Thanks for the chance to bring levity to a world desperately needing to laugh at itself.
And to everyone who offered me kind words, all I can say is "
I hope you don't get stung by eels.
- Jarid Shipley was the Features Editor for the Nevada Appeal. Then he up and decided to follow his girlfriend to Pittsburgh.