Reflections: Maxim Alter

Maxim Alter
Maxim Alter

I’ve been contemplating how I was going to do this for a long time – how I was going to say goodbye. It seems silly to put all of my pain, love, frustration, joy and pride into one neatly written reflection. There’s just too much I want to say. But there’s not enough space. Not enough time.

I joined The Oracle a year and a half ago, not really understanding what I was signing up for. At that time, I had been drifting through college. I never enjoyed a single course that I took. I didn’t have a friend I could count on. I hadn’t figured out who I was or who I was going to be. But I took a chance, and I walked into that orange room and never looked back. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

In only a handful of hours, I’m going to stroll back into that office to make our newspaper for the last time. You’re all going to be sitting there working hard. I’m probably going to look at each of your faces and hold back some pretty intense emotions. I’ll call Zan something really inappropriate to fight the pain. I might even comment about how bad she smells. We’ll see. I’m playing this by ear.

In my meager 21 years of life, I have never met a more creative, talented and hilarious group of people. Each and every one of you have impressed me in ways I can’t describe. Just when I think I’ve maxed out on my quota of awesome friends and co-workers, more amazing individuals walk through that newspaper-laden door. My time here has been a gift – one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. So, below is a little note to each of you. Past or present Oraclers, I have a lot to say. And as Opinions editor, I’m allocating myself as much space as I want, so deal with it.

Zan, I’m starting with you. When I first joined The Oracle, you kind of scared me. You were this mysterious figure that lived in a dark corner of the office. You were tough and quiet – a little stinky. I didn’t know what to make of you, but you intrigued me. And today, I can truly say that I love you. Despite the horrible things that come out of my mouth when I’m around you, you are someone that I am going to miss every single day. You have grown so much in the last year. You are incredibly talented in a million ways. You’re even an amazing musician. I have no doubt that you will succeed in anything you want to do. Sure, sometimes your silhouetting chops off a chunk of someone’s face, but I am more than confident you’re going to keep that A&E section looking sleek and amazing when I’m gone. Just promise me that we can stay close. I’m serious. I’m leaving college, but that doesn’t mean I’m disappearing from this plane of existence.

Andrew, we joined The Oracle at the same time. We rocked the same copy-editing table and I had the pleasure of sitting next to you as we both embarked on being page editors. Because of our age difference, it saddens me to think that I might not have met you without The Oracle. I’ll miss so many things about working with you – like taking on my first Comic Con with you or terrorizing Julie. I am so proud of you for becoming next semester’s managing editor. I have no doubt that you will exceed me in a million ways. You are going to be an excellent leader and you have all of the qualities and skills to run this paper. I can’t wait to see it. But for now, take care of Julie for me. Force her to give up the juicy stories and the responsibilities. And don’t forget to keep calling her McGules so she never forgets the pain and misery I caused her.

Pam. Oh, Pam. Your sauciness is something that I will never forget. Just like Andrew, you were with me from the beginning. We started this journey together. I will miss you and your pint sized, in-your-face attitude. I just want to apologize to you for how offensive I’ve been. As a pioneer of social change, you must be disgusted with me sometimes. Yes, I am making fun of you right now. But in all seriousness, you are an extremely smart and amazing girl. I know you’ll do great things with your big heart. Have fun in Thailand. Live your life to the fullest. Experiment. God knows you don’t do enough of that. Just don’t ever change. I hope we don’t lose touch. Maybe we can meet up one day in some foreign country and have a Pete-esque adventure. I’m going to hold you to that, even though you didn’t agree on it yet.

Jaleesa, you are an absolute joy to work with. I am so glad that you joined us this semester. For someone jumping right into a page editor position, you have done an astonishing job – one that you should be proud of. I have seen you grow as a journalist every single week, and I know that you are going to kick ass next semester. You are a great writer and a solid reporter. Just remember that. Be confident and I know you will continue to do great work. I look forward to reading the paper next semester and seeing you get even better. Oh, and thanks for the iPhone cover. Every time I stare longingly into my own reflection, I’ll think of you.

JonBenét, I have a confession to make. I made the horrible mistake of judging you before I really knew you. Because you were so silent in Advanced Editing, I assumed you were a total freak. I didn’t ever try to get to know you. Sweet beautiful Jesus, do I regret that decision. You have to be the coolest person on this planet – no exaggeration. You are hilarious and just an absolute blast to be around. Before you joined The Oracle, I dominated the quote board. But then you came along and made that quote board your bitch. You took me out to the cleaners. I sleep more comfortably at night knowing that you will be around to maintain the inappropriate and offensive behavior that I worked so hard to bring to The Oracle. I seriously love the shit out of you.

Rachel, you are legitimately the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. If I could bottle your laugh and sell it, I would be a billionaire tomorrow – or just a weirdo trying to sell empty bottles of air. The moment you walked into The Oracle office, it was blatantly obvious that you belonged. Why you didn’t join sooner is beyond me. You are going to do fantastic things with the features section next semester. I implore you to petition to make Rebecca Black-related stories count as features and not A&E. Also, I’m going to miss seeing your doofy face walk into J2, 30 minutes late twice a week, looking like you just got out of a fist fight with Kimbo Slice. It’s the little things. Slug lyfe.

Cat, I think we both know how much I love you. You joining The Oracle was the biggest no-brainer ever. It feels like you’ve been here for years. Meeting you and becoming your friend has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. You are amazing in every definition of the word. You are such a kind and beautiful person. I have so much confidence in you and your abilities as a journalist – and you haven’t taken a single journalism course yet. Seriously, do you realize how incredible you are? You are going to blow everybody away next semester as sports editor. It’s not even a question. I promise you that we will remain close forever. I couldn’t live without you in my life in some way. By the way, we should have a “Buffy” and ice cream marathon soon. Come at me, bro.

Katie, I’m glad you decided to join The Oracle as a freshman. I envy you. You are one smart cookie. I’m going to start watching “Doctor Who” this summer and I look forward to staying up–to-date with your future columns. It brings a tear to my eye knowing you are continuing the tradition of providing quality nerdy television content to this newspaper.

Pete Viola, I wish I’d gotten to know you better. Too bad I’m never in the office when you’re copy editing.  What I have learned about you thus far is that you are really tall and really awesome. It’s like these two qualities are somehow related. Your height to awesome ratio is like 1:1. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. I’m so glad you have decided to dedicate more time to The Oracle next semester. Good decision.

Maeve, do I even have to say it? You are the light of my life. I wish I could spend every waking moment with you. You are smart and fun. You like everything that I like. You’re also a total pleasure to be around. The moment you walk into a room, every negative feeling I have disappears. It’s like you’re made of happiness and rainbows. In an effort to regain my manliness here, I will say that I have never met a woman as badass as you – oh wait, my bad, I totally met Starbuck. On that note, I can’t wait to watch “Battlestar Galactica” with you the moment school is over. Our philosophical debate afterwards will be both stimulating and life changing. I look forward to being your friend for eternity.

Laura, you’re probably never going to read this because you’re just the photo editor. But just in case you do, this is all I need to say: you’re the hottest guy I’ve ever met. When you were made, God took a really cool dude and transformed him into a delicate flower. The results of this experiment were then named Laura Luengas. And now that I’ve sufficiently creeped you out, I’m going to move on to someone with a more important position on the E-board.

This next paragraph is dedicated to Derek, Kathryn and Patrick. Derek, your cartoons are the bee’s knees. Keep being the shit. Kathryn, I’m still not totally sure what you do for The Oracle. I’m just kidding. You are obviously an integral part of this team. Without you, who would force Patrick to schlep and distribute all of our newspapers? And Patrick. Jesus Christ, Patrick. Stop being so good at your goddamn job. It’s ridiculous. You’re making us all work overtime to fill more pages. It’s just not cool, man. I’ll never bring you Rock Da Pasta again.

For you new Oraclers (Spiegel, Kate and whoever else may join between now and September) – congratulations on making the best decision of your life.

I think by this point, it’s pretty obvious that I saved somebody special for last. Julie, I have been dreading writing this paragraph about you for an entire semester now. I don’t even know where to begin. Any collection of words that I pathetically muster will not do you justice. Please stop rolling your eyes and take this seriously. Julie, you are the strongest, most talented individual I have ever met. You have made me into the journalist and the person that I am today and I am forever grateful. I will never forget the incredibly selfless things you have done for me in the past year and a half. I am proud to say that I was your managing editor. I am also proud to say that I was your second-in-command the semester you developed a twitch. I promise you that we will be friends forever. I don’t care if we live 10 counties apart or 10 states apart. No matter what disagreements we’ve had in the past, every conversation I have with you has made me a better person. I may be leaving The Oracle, but I am not leaving your life. You better start getting used to me. You are my best friend and I love you. Sometimes I’m glad you have no confidence. It would probably be the apocalypse if you realized how phenomenal of a journalist you really are. But at least I’m snarkier.

This is it, you guys (Yeah, Pam. Deal with it.) My time is up. I really don’t want to leave. But life is pulling me away. Even though I have no idea where I’m going from here, I do know that I want to stay friends with every single one of you forever. I’m probably going to have a lot of free time on my hands, so expect a few visits from me from time to time. And don’t forget – and this goes for each of you – I’m only a phone call and a thruway away. I love you all and I will never forget this experience. Thank you for everything.