Weekly Poll

This is Homecoming week at Powell High School. Did you enjoy high school?



December 31, 2012 8:10 am

All joking (aside): 2012: Without John Cusack

Written by Dante Geoffrey

It’s 5:45 a.m. and everything is very real.

You know how great sleeping in feels? I think it feels so good only as a counter balance to how awful it is to wake up early.



Every minute I’m awake prior to 7 a.m. is like another 10,000 ice-cold needles being slowly pushed into every orifice, plus an extra one humans don’t even have for good measure.

After four hours of almost-sleep, I’m sitting at my kitchen counter (also could be accurately called my living room counter) and writing a column that is due pretty much right when I get to work. I might finish.

It is silent outside save for the occasional whooshing of semi-truck tires passing on the highway, or the dub-step style pounding that is playing inside my skull’s “Good Morning, I Hate You” dance party.

The original idea for this column (as I explained to my editor) was for it to be a year-in-review type of piece. As it turns out, I’m a liar. But I didn’t lie on purpose, nor did I lie totally. The more I wrote the more I realized I’m clearly not writing about the same 2012 that you had, but I may be writing about a same year you have had.

Maybe for you it was 1998, or 2004, or 1960. Maybe this year hasn’t happened yet for you. Maybe it never will.

But I know for me, 2012 is when everything became real.

Thankfully, not in the MTV “Real World” way. In fact, as 2012 progressed, the more polite the people I encountered were.

The first half of 2012 was filled with the anxiety I imagine everyone feels when they are finishing college but have no idea what’s going to come next. For months, I didn’t have anything waiting for me after school besides a nice pile of debt. I knew this day would come. I knew I’d have to repay student loans at some point. I just thought I might be able to put it off for as long as possible. You know, the same way I put off graduation.

But in April of this year, with the stress of a bleak post-college reality constantly looming over me, I started applying for jobs.

You know how, when you’re a kid, your language is much simpler? That’s because you’re happy and worry-free. You never have to say things like. “Things are pretty rough in the going-outside-until-the-streetlights-come-on business,” or, “Until someone figures out how to monetize this whole eeny-meeny-miny-moe thing, we’re all screwed.”

But as a mostly-adult, I am forced to be aware of so much more, and hardly any of it is fun.

Oh, the thing I studied and have a passion and (arguable) talent for is one of the least lucrative fields in modern-day America? Good to know!

In applying for a couple-dozen reporter jobs I realized that my most desirable quality might be that my resume says I’m “willing to relocate.”

I lived in California my entire life, but knew that if I was to start a career in journalism I’d have to say goodbye to the Golden State, along with the entire Pacific Time Zone. Only one job I applied to was west of Powell, Wyo. That was the open position at a paper in Ketchikan, Alaska, one of the many places that considered itself too good to even tell me no.

In fact, besides a small handful of “Thanks, but no thanks,” emails, the Powell Tribune was the only paper that responded to my inquiry.

After two interviews and a lot of anxious waiting (filled with my family and friends asking, “What’s a Powell, Wyo.?”) I was offered the job. When Toby Bonner called me and asked “How would you like to come work for us at the Powell Tribune?” I immediately said yes (obviously, and to some of your dismays).

And, even though I had somewhat prepared for the moment, I was wholly unprepared for the way my life was going to change.

In no other year of my life have I experienced so much change. There’s the obvious: “real” job, new location, living far from family; and the not-so-obvious: “I have to read and understand my own medical insurance policy? But that’s what dads are for...”

Budgeting is one of my least favorite things in the world. I understand the concept, but I am poor at the execution part of it. Spending less than I make is pretty easy, but making sure you spend it on the right stuff (food, bills, DVD rental of “The Right Stuff”) is a bit harder.

The financial awakening I’ve experienced in 2012 can be chalked up to a harsh lesson, one that I’m sure most learn prior to their 25th year on this planet.

Not all of the realities 2012 has brought my way have been stressful or unpleasant.

Actually, the biggest and most shocking reality of all is, um, pretty freaking cool.

You see, I’m getting paid to write this sentence. Can you believe that?! Being professionally published is probably the greatest perk I have as a journalist. I have my own column. Do you know who else has their own column? Respected people. Technically speaking, I do the same thing as columnists Maureen Dowd (very famous), Chuck Klosterman (my personal favorite) and Rick Reilly (award-winning). I’ll throw in Ann Coulter just to make my mom sick.

Please know that I think this is ludicrous as well. I write these inane thoughts down, many of them shameful (you should see the pre-edited versions — actually, no you shouldn’t) and then they get printed, copied and distributed. Can you wrap your mind around that? If you’re holding a copy of the Tribune right now, it likely means that you or someone you know paid American money for it. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU PAID FOR WAS THIS SENTENCE. And it probably cost extra because it was in all caps.

Using the science of deduction (which reminds me, I highly recommend the BBC show “Sherlock,” the best TV show I’ve watched in 2012) I can assume that, since the Tribune employs me and publishes my work, it believes that this column, these very words, are considered valuable BY YOU, the reader.  Well, maybe not you specifically — in which case, why are you still reading? I guarantee you CJ Baker has written something actually worthwhile and important in this issue — but at least enough of you. You pay for this drivel. Is that not the craziest-family papering-thing you’ve ever heard?!

And, like many crazy things (fantasy football, one-third of my ex-girlfriends, the movie “Memento,”) I love it.

Thank you for reading, Powell. Or at least for not writing so many angry letters that I’m told to stop.

Because, as I’ve mentioned before, I like this job. Not everything about it (for example: If I happen to be the last person to leave the newsroom, when I turn out the lights I feel like there’s a real possibility that I will be murdered by a ghost) but most things.

Of course, a more serious writer would write about the soul-crushing, life-questioning realities that were forced upon him by the Aurora and Newtown shootings, not to mention the constant violence happening overseas, Hurricane Sandy, and the constant stream of awful, numbing news we see on TV and the Internet. I’m neither smart nor talented enough to put into words how those tragedies affected me; I can only say that they undoubtedly did, and in a way I was less capable of processing prior to this year.

And, like those horrific events that happened in the blink of an eye but will stay in our minds forever, I think it’s appropriate, if not ideal, to leave you on that note.

It’s 7:25 a.m., the needles are slowly retreating, I’m going to be late to work, and everything is very real.

Leave a comment

*The Powell Tribune reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments.