(Originally published in The California Aggie)
Screenwriters have perfected the art of the great ending over the last 100 years or so. I’ve always been a proponent of learning by imitation, so I think I’ll steal a page from their proverbial book today as I try (probably in vain) to neatly wrap up my career as an Aggie columnist.
I could pull a “Seinfeld” and bring back all the memorable characters from the past year in a shamelessly contrived yet celebratory retrospective. Who didn’t love seeing Jackie Chiles, Babu Bhatt and the marble rye bread lady one last time, testifying in court against our four self-centered misanthropes?
But that wouldn’t be quite right, not for this column anyway. I interviewed a few lucky individuals for one column or another, but for the most part it’s been a forum for, well, myself. I’ve prattled on about my own thoughts on the arts, pop culture, Hollywood and UC Davis, giddy at the prospect of sharing the fruits of my endless Entertainment Weekly browsing sessions with a devoted public. I hoped for readers, of course, but not contributors.
Okay, so “Seinfeld” is out, but what about the ending that redefined all thriller movie endings that came after it – The Sixth Sense? Finding out Bruce Willis was dead the whole time in the last 10 minutes of the movie was more exciting than the entire film leading up to it. Plus, it forced even the most passive moviegoer to use those brain cells and actually put some thought into what they’d just seen.
Kudos to M. Night Shyamalan for proving that audiences will rise to the level of intelligence set forth by the filmmaker, but, on second thought, it still doesn’t help me. What am I supposed to do, reveal that I’ve been writing this column from beyond the grave? I can assure you I’ve most certainly been alive as I’ve spent hours pondering over topic ideas and writing when I could have been watching clips of Johnny Depp movies on YouTube (which is what my heaven would include, by the way).
I’m running out of space here, so let’s move quickly through some other options. Has this column been a figment of your subconscious, Inception-style? “Lost” is one of my all-time favorite shows-maybe I ought to sort-of explain the mysteries of the universe and then disappear into a beam of bright light (ouch- sorry, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, I loved the ending, I promise!). Or maybe I should just say “screw it” and cut off mid-sentence, a lá “The Sopranos.”
The truth is, I’ve never been big on goodbyes, so maybe something short and sweet would be best. To everyone who’s read this column over the past year, thank you. Because of you, I’m convinced that this is not my last column, but the first.