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It’s not hard to say goodbye 

It’s the end of an era. It was an era full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing. It was short era, but it was an era nonetheless.

Silas Lyons is leaving. He’ll tell you that his departure from his post as local news editor at the Tribune is for family reasons and that his exit shortly after McClatchy curled its corporate fist like an iron vise around the Knight Ridder chain is merely a coincidence, but you know and I know that nobody in the world loves his family enough to voluntarily move to Redding, which is apparently the northerly X that marks the final resting spot for the Lyons clan. At least it’s not Bakersfield. Nobody deserves that.
To be honest, which I always am, I’m not surprised that Silas is waving goodbye. I fully expected to see someone pack up and move out from the Tribune office in the weeks following the acquisition, and I also fully expected that departing person to cite something other than “new owners� as the reason for leaving. Good for me. I may set up shop as a psychic and charge big bucks to tell people stuff that they could figure out for themselves if they could only put two and two together and actually get four.
Anyone who catches the next train for anywhere-but-here after a new company takes charge may ultimately be leaving for “family reasons� or “personal reasons� or some other reasons that look good in quotes, but the catalyst that actually launches them into the blue yonder is almost always the fact that a new boss—or team of bosses—is stepping in. After all, Silas has had family for a lot longer than since McClatchy announced it would be pulling the strings at the Tribune, but he never moved to Redding before. As far as I know. He could be a prodigal son returning to his roots after a long time spent in a distant land, frittering away his inheritance and education by writing for what has to be the worst …
But look at me. How easily I fall into my old patterns of sarcasm and suspicion and mocking. I come today not to taunt Silas, but to bury him. Or something like that. I was never good with words, which is why they stuck me here to write this column instead of the cover every week. With Managing Editor King Harris penning this week’s big story, however, it looks like we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel. And was that Rick Martel on the front? I thought it was, but someone here told me it was actually a wax dummy. Maybe we’re both right. In either case, don’t stare at New Times too long this week. Rick’s eyes seem to follow you wherever you go.
But back to Silas. From the time he was but a lowly columnist, until he worked his way up to being a lowly editor, I used him as my personal journalistic whipping boy. I talked about him so much, he must’ve received second-degree burns on his ears. If the Tribune ever did anything wrong—which it did with the regularity of someone getting mad at New Times—I took jabs at him. He got more face time in my column than I do, and he got more column time than my face does.
Throughout it all, however, he didn’t sit still and take my good-natured ribbing or cold-hearted abuse in perfect silence, as do so many of my other victims. Silas occasionally bared his claws and took a few swipes at New Times, once going so far as to refer to us as a weekly paper responsible for corrupting young minds and libidos by printing pictures of Steve Diamond and the smutty stuff he peddles on our cover. Ah, good times.
I hear that Silas is next going to set up shop at the Redding Record Searchlight, where he’ll be an online manager or something. In any case, he’s not really going to write any more. He said that he’s not going to miss writing at his new job, and I have to empathize with him. I’m not going to miss his writing either.
Silas, good luck to you out there in the big, wide world. It’s not like San Luis Obispo, in case you don’t know. Out there are drive-through windows at fast-food restaurants, and houses that even the moderately rich can afford, and stores with strange, foreign-sounding names like “Target� and “Wal-Mart.�
And be careful. Not everyone speaks the truth like I do, and if they do, it’s not always in love. Watch out for gypsies, tramps, and thieves. Basically, if Cher ever sang about them, stay away from them. Don’t take candy from strangers, and don’t just stick your chewed-up gum in any alleys you find. What SLO folks call a tourist attraction, the rest of the world calls disgusting. The police call it littering.
If you happen to run into any of the Redding Shredders, please send them my love. I haven’t traveled up to that neck of California in a very long time. That’s all I’ve got for you, besides telling you not to piss into the wind, but that applies as much in SLO as it does in Redding, and if you don’t know that by now, then I’m amazed you’ve lasted as long as you have.
So, now, with Silas out of the picture, I’ve got to find someone else to pick on. Send resumes' and headshots to: Shredder Fodder, 505 S. Higuera, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401. ∆

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