Jarid Shipley, a former reporter and most recently features editor and "Party of One" columnist for the Appeal, announced in his column Thursday, in vague terms, that he was moving away.
He began writing that column in October 2006, with the pronouncement, "My name is Jarid, and ... I am not normal." Ever since then, he's been proving that with his observations on what it's like for a single 20-something to live in Carson City. Along the way, he's poked fun at a lot of people, but no one more than himself ... all toward the goal he stated in his last column, "... the chance to bring levity to a world desperately needing to laugh at itself."
Whether it was his battles with weight, his trouble with women and relationships or any of the dozens of other issues and, mostly, non-issues that were causing him anxiety, he let it all out in that column every Thursday. Many people got to know him, and more than a few who called me told me they didn't much like him. They found his youthful and self-admitted immature observations unlike anything they'd seen, or wanted to see, in the Appeal and sometimes, they said, he just went too far.
But many others, young and old, became fans, for the same reason ... he represented views, thoughts, humor and observations that they hadn't read in the Appeal before. One of those people, Marje Long of Stagecoach, called me Thursday after reading his last column. She said she's going to miss Party of One because Jarid reminded her of many guys she knew during her life. She referred to him as "Nevada's answer to Dave Barry," and sometimes read the column over the phone, laughing, to a friend in California.
"I really and truly enjoyed his column," said Long, 67. "I thought he was hilarious."
As I said, Jarid was vague in his last column about his reason for leaving, and wrote nothing of where he's going. So I'll fill you in because the story has an interesting and ironic twist.
It began shortly after he started writing his column, when Mr. Party of One chose to go to a speed-dating event (where participants are given six minutes each to talk with several different women) and then write about it for his column. I recall strongly encouraging him to attend, so perhaps I share a portion of the blame, or credit, for what was to come.
On Feb. 1, 2007, he wrote about his conversations with the seven women at that event, explaining there were four women there he voted "yes" to, meaning that, if they agreed as well, he would be able to go out on a real non-speed date with them. He wrote, "to be honest, while all four of my 'yes' ladies would have been fun to get to know, there was really only one I was hoping for."
And folks, that one turned out to be the reason he's no longer in Nevada.
Just over a month later, he wrote a column titled "Where did I go right?" about this particular girl, Kate, and his fate was sealed. Not many months later they moved in together and he became Party of One in name only.
Thus, when Kate was offered her dream job in Pittsburgh, Jarid wasted little time in deciding to move with her. That he decided to do this despite the fact there is as of yet no job there awaiting him is a testament to his oft-repeated claims in his column that this girl is really quite a catch. And having met her and seen the two together, I can attest that in those statements he was not guilty of exaggeration. They're the kind of couple that give other hopelessly single people hope that there's someone out there for them, too.
While Jarid will no longer appear in the print version of the Appeal, it's possible you haven't read the last of his observations. He may be updating his blog on our Web site, nevadaappeal.com, once he gets settled in Pittsburgh.
I'm going to strongly suggest he do away with the title "Party of One," however.
• Barry Ginter is editor of the Appeal. You can reach him at 881-1221, or via e-mail at email@example.com.