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Get on outta heah!

By Tate Williams
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
May 10, 2000
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Editor's Note: This is the traditional good-bye column, submitted by the outgoing editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, myself. In exchange for captive attention, I guarantee violence, mild cursing and the meaning of life.

The typical approach to a good-bye column or a commencement speech aims to carry across some sort of wisdom gained during a period of time - toss in a few pop-culture references and relate a story about a lesson learned and poof, column done.

Some end up pretty good, some don't. But my predecessor Dave Cieslak has once again proven to be a hard act to follow with his well-written and moving December column - it's in the Wildcat archives, so read that. I can't really think of anything great to define my Daily Wildcat experience or college life. It's just too complicated.

So I leave with a tale from my childhood that holds some great message that I haven't quite found yet. There will be an attempt to make this universally relevant, and it will probably be a stretch.

When I was in first or second grade, I saw another kid take a beating outside my house after school. It was the first live violence I had ever seen, and the fact that it was right outside of my window was pretty jarring.

The next day at school I told everyone I knew what I witnessed, which led to an overwhelming response from the elementary school community. I was pretty proud of my big mouth, and the fact that I had spurred a playground-wide discourse about the nature of ass-beatings.

I was less proud of myself after the young victim decided to take his anger out on me. He told me I lied and he had only been shoved a couple of times. Then he and his friends shoved me against a wall a couple of times.

In just one day, the thumping that I saw while looking out my window came was aimed at me - and all because I talked about it.

I've been at the University of Arizona for the last four years, and it's a much bigger playground. Outside the window, people don't get shoved as often. They get stabbed or raped or fired or shaken down because of race. It's harder to watch, and even harder to talk about.

As a senior looking back at my big mouth in grade school, I think it was good. I wasn't some kind of hero - more like a little coward who got a kick out of spreading gossip. But for all I know, had I kept it shut, I could have been shoved anyway, for any number of reasons.

What I loved about working at the Wildcat was living in an office surrounded by, and in constant contact with people who have big fat mouths, and don't mind getting shoved for it. Sometimes people get mad about it, but at least everybody knows - they know what happened, whatever "it" may be. This place is amazing, and I don't just mean the newsroom. Everyone has gotten a shove now and then, and sometimes the only saving grace is that the word gets out.

I have met and worked with so many amazing people and made friendships that I never would have had otherwise. I learned how good it can be, and it hurts to leave. And I learned that the uneasy feeling I had after being thrown against a stucco wall would be a common one - and a good one.

I just met a guy with a real tough life. He said he has a pelvic injury from working construction, and every time he stands up it feels like someone is kicking him in the crotch.

He was standing with a group of students on campus, and everyone was intently listening to him talk about how his friend has been putting him up at night, and what a good time they were having. He's not your typical inspirational speaker, but he was pretty inspiring.

So my final words in the Arizona Daily Wildcat are these: Even though standing up can feel like a kick in the groin, telling people about it is well worth the shove that may follow.

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