Abstract Academic: Riding my laptop into the sunset

I’m not so good at goodbyes.

Actually, I’m not so good at hellos, how-are-yous and everything else in between. Talking to people, really. All that eye contact is hard to maintain.

Which is why I have loved — and cherished — this weekly opportunity to talk with you (or at you) about the things that mean the most to me: pop culture, sports, childhood fears, parking injustices, parenthetical asides (they look like this) and the funniest words in the English language (No. 1 is “poop,” with “weenie” running a distant second).

In my three years writing a regular humor column, I’ve parodied Seuss, professors, Edgar Allan Poe and Super Bowl commercials. I’ve discussed my hatred of small talk, couples dating, peer editing, Neil Diamond, unsolicited birthing advice and angry people. I’ve written three New Year’s Resolution columns, and haven’t kept any of them. I’ve discussed why a vacation should consist of lying in a beach chair on some island, sipping multicolored beverages, and not bush-whacking past spiders the size of Geo Metros or trying to make six separate bus connections from Warsaw to Nairobi. I’ve written a prayer to a higher power, and defended a turkey at Thanksgiving. I’ve explained to Facebook users how sarcasm doesn’t come through very clearly in writing, and how complaining and being funny are two very different things. I’ve made cases for being blunt, removing February from the calendar, unhealthy eating, giving Halloween back to the children, and electing Elmo the muppet president of the United States. I’ve mocked people who still use “gay” and “retarded” as insults, and proved Darwinism by observing the dating habits of my brothers. I’ve covered love, service, environmentalism, genetics, football, bumper stickers, technophobia, Armenian celebrities, bachelor survival, lip gloss, shaggy hair, buying beer in Utah, robotic professors, business opportunities, indie music, diapers, syllabi, spelling bees, cheez products, a cappella music, junior-high romances, skateboarding, lying, Little League baseball and lunch meats. My only regret is that I didn’t do another column on parking.

But I’m moving on now. This is my last column for the Weber State University Signpost, which means someone else will have to take up those column inches. I wish you well, whoever you are, but your experience will fall far short of mine, because I had all these people I need to thank (you can skip this paragraph if you’re not a regular reader):

ShayLynne Clark, for giving me a chance to write when I thought I was destined more for a life in the convenience store industry.

Allison Hess and Shane Farver, for showing me that this could be more than just a casual hobby.

Spencer Garn, Gina Barker, Eric Jensen, Cozette Jenkins and Corie Sue Holmes, for doing all the important stuff while I complained about parking.

Stephanie Simonson, for ficksing all my miss-takes.

John Schwiebert, Michael Wutz, Brad Roghaar, Sally Shigley, Colleen Packer, Omar Guevara, Susan Hafen, Shannon Butler and Gary Dohrer, for allowing a mediocre student several chances to succeed.

Mark Henderson, for keeping me in school for several years, and for teaching me that you don’t really have to answer all of your e-mails (someone show this column to him, or he probably won’t read it).

The Weber State choirs, for giving me what every student needs — a community of friends (even the catty ones).

My in-laws, for making me think my columns were funnier than they are.

My brothers, for reminding me that most people don’t read my columns (eat hot death, you twerps).

My mom, for reading everything I’ve ever written and telling me it was good (a lot of it wasn’t).

My dad, for laughing audibly at every bad joke.

My son, Roger, for not getting bored while I try to finish my last column.

And my lovely, brilliant wife Jill, whose ceiling is so much higher than mine, and who spent a lot of late nights telling me to stop watching “Survivor” and write my #### column.

Most importantly, I’d like to thank you, the reader. You’ve put up with a lot of hasty, lousy pop-culture columns, and always made sure to tell me how much you liked reading the columns I actually thought about, which always made me try harder.

Darn you.