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We need to talk. You might want to sit down for this one.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve had our fun. We meet here in this column and we share some laughs, even a few tears, and I don’t regret a minute of it. But there comes a time in every ramblin’ man’s life when he’s just got to mosey. And that time, for me, has come.
Next week, I plan to pack up my desk and move to Ormond, to help launch the new Ormond Beach Observer (planned for first publication in September). I’ll be associate editor down there and write my weekly column down there. Seven days from now, when you reach for that weekend edition of the paper on your driveway, and you realize that it feels a bit lighter than it did before, that’s because, tragically, I won’t be in it.
I know what you’re thinking: It’s the end of an era, like the day bellbottoms went out of style or they stopped selling Surge in soda machines. The Flagler County branch of the Cavaliere Nation is crumbling. The Palm Cavaliere Observer, as you’ve come to call it, has gone out of business.
I’ve literally become yesterday’s news.
But, please, you shouldn’t blame yourself. It’s not that I’ve grown bored with you or tired of our time together.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Brian McMillan and the rest of the fat cats up in PCO corporate have made their decision and, alas, I’m just a cog in their machine. There’s nothing I can do. I’m basically gone already.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Riding around town, past all the hundreds of elections signs growing like weeds in our intersections and medians, I was struck recently with a revelation. Why not launch a campaign of my own? The “Keep Cavaliere in the Coast” campaign.
Already, my signs are at the printers. I had to spend most of my savings to buy them, of course, but the way I see it, the money went toward an outstanding and worthwhile cause: my ego.
I’ve also organized a street team, an army of 20/twentysomething disciples who have agreed to march around town this week, ripping out every election sign they find in the county and replacing it with a giant cutout of my face, complete with a comic book-style speech bubble that contains a message sure to send a shiver down the spine of every person who passes it.
It’ll say, “Imagine life without me.”
I know. Talk about a punch to the gut.
But that’s just the start. I’m going viral. In a couple weeks, I plan to be all over the Internet and have high school kids everywhere wearing shirts with animations of my mug plastered over purposefully vague one-word themes, like “Hope” or “Change” or “Dy-no-mite.”
I’ll work with the county to install a bat signal-like beam on the roof of the Taj Mahal that will light my initials into the sky whenever a resident is down and needs a good pick-me-up in the form of lighthearted social observation.
And don’t forget about the grassroots movement. My house will become a call center, where volunteers will take turns using my cell phone to harass strangers for support. The Do Not Call List will be our main contact source. I’ll hire local nonprofits to protest Observer offices and flood staff inboxes with hate mail.
If it all pays off, maybe — just maybe — I’ll get the occasional guest spot in Palm Coast print. If not, it’ll be like I never existed here.
So this is it, I guess. I feel like the guy in the movie who’s coughing on his deathbed, motioning you closer and closer to hear his last words.
But I’m not ready for last words.
You haven’t seen the last of me, Palm Coast. It’s like my dad always used to say: I’m like a bad penny. Even when you think you’ve lost me, I just keep coming back, over and over and over again.
And don’t worry: I’m 90% sure he meant that as a compliment.
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