I’m Ryan Ermey. I’m half of The Hatchet copy desk, and I’m the Bar Bro. I’m sorry if I ruined your favorite bar. Well, sort of. I’ll get to that.
Joining The Hatchet was a calculated choice for me. You’re going to read stories in this section of editors who fell in love with this paper from freshman year – students who would be lost in a great, big collegiate world were it not for The Hatchet. You’ll hear from people who joined the paper because they need to write like they need to breathe, and who feel as though they received their actual education not in a classroom, but at The Hatchet townhouse.
I’m not one of those kids.
I joined The Hatchet because I could work two nights a week copy editing – a skill I already had – throw it on my resume and have some extra money for the weekends. I went to my first staff meeting and this feeling of noncommittal was only magnified. These people were a family. They partied together. They took trips to the beach. They finished one another’s sentences.
I figured I’d let them have their inside jokes. I’d get my money and get out of Dodge. My position on the copy desk lent itself to this attitude. Copy editors are relative outsiders in this whole process. Your name doesn’t go on stories, and your words aren’t the ones being scrutinized. The stakes are lower. I already had a family on this campus.
But as my nights in the townhouse grew longer, I grew happier and happier to let The Hatchet occupy a larger space in my life. I joined the editorial board because I wanted a say in the paper’s voice. I started writing a column. I began to love the people that made this paper live and breathe, and soon their inside jokes and their war stories and their startling familiarity with one another was my own.
Because that’s the thing about families, isn’t it? Even if you love your own, it’s always wonderful to be part of someone else’s, to feel their love on you, to let their warmth surround you. I can’t think of a better way to describe my experience with the men and women of The Hatchet. I love them dearly, and I tried my very best to contribute to the paper in ways that made their work and their lives richer and fuller and better. I can only hope that they felt that.
So my work at The Hatchet turned into more than beer money, which is not to say that I didn’t spend my paychecks on beer anyway. When I became more invested in the product that The Hatchet put out, I wanted to write a column for people who enjoyed drinking the way that I do – fun and cheap and easy. I believed then and still believe that these people are in the majority on campus, even if the bottle service crowd gets more shine in the Washington Post.
So I wrote a column about dive bars, and unfortunately for some of you, that meant that I wrote about bars you didn’t think GW kids should know about. To this hipster subset of my readers, I’m sorry you feel that way. I don’t know who reads my column or takes it seriously, but I always imagined that the people who would be interested in going to the bars I write about wouldn’t be the McFadden’s kids you fear will clog your bar. I won’t apologize for writing that bars didn’t card me when they didn’t. You guys will just have to deal with that.
I hope that some of you read my column and found some joy in it. I hope that I inspired a few of you to broaden your social horizons. I wish I could have written more of these. I may have one left in the tank for The Hatchet before I graduate. Now that you know who I am, if you see me out somewhere, say hi. I’ll buy the first round.
A few people to thank. Feel free to skip to the bottom.
Amanda – I couldn’t have done this job without you. I know I’m not the easiest kid to deal with. You were sweet on days when I had nothing but bile and understanding on days when I didn’t want to be there. You always seemed to know when to let me be right and when to call me on my bullshit. You’re genuine in ways I’ll never be – a truly original personality. You’ll be an excellent psychologist because you understand people. At least I feel as though you understand me. You have become one of my very best friends, and it was a pleasure to work beside you for all this time.
Gabe – Had you not been so mercurial, so brilliant, so funny, so talented – this wouldn’t have been nearly as fun. I’d reference a few of our jokes, but none seem fit to print. I’m having trouble writing this one. You take no prisoners, and I value your opinion tremendously, so I’m just going to pay you the most outrageous compliment I can. Befriending you has been like looking into the gold, shimmering splendor of Dame Shirley Bassey’s birth canal. I guess I fucked up that whole inside joke thing…
Priya – There was never a doubt in my mind that you would become the wonderful leader, boss and journalist that you are. You’re tremendously talented, and you throw your entire being into everything you do. I’m quite positive that you will be an enormous success, and I admire you tremendously. Except your taste in music. Yuck.
Jenna – Your joy is contagious. It sounds like an empty, trite thing to say, but it encapsulates our friendship, which has been a delight from the beginning. Legit, you rock.
Traynor – Despite your casual attitude toward copy, you are the most dynamic and talented writer on staff. You’re one of those people who writes from that deep, dark creative place in the soul – and not from anyplace cerebral or disingenuous. I’m excited to read everything you write, and I wish we could’ve bro’d out on the road, even if it probably would have led to carnage.
Connor and Dev – Fuck you guys.
Ferris – That was for you. You can party with copy and web any time. Your tireless work has made my job infinitely easier this year, and our late-night walks home were sources of humor, wisdom and comfort. You’re so capable. You’ll be great next year.
Cory – I can’t wait to see what you do with this paper next year. You’re razor-sharp, and your vision is fresh and modern. Don’t let this shit bog you down. Take a step back and look at the forest once in a while, lest you get preoccupied with the trees. I’m confident you can see the whole picture.
Annu – I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t feel completely at ease around you. We’re running out of time for best friends Taboo and cigars and bourbon. We need all of these things.
Ops – Ed board was challenging and funny and weird. Even when I didn’t get my way, I was always thankful for the insight and the diligence with which you pursued your craft. You’re both brilliant.
Lisa – You’re a fabulous writer. You’re going to be the coolest New York literary biddie, and I can’t wait to visit you when you’re getting paid by the word and living in some rad loft.
Francis – Pay me. And finish your food.
Team photo – All of you are so talented in a way that is completely foreign to me. This place would be nothing if it weren’t for your collective creativity, passion and artistry.
To everyone I’ve worked with here, you’ve all enriched my life and my college experience. I hope I was able to make your words richer, and clearer and more resonant. To those of you staying on staff, especially my copy children Robin and Melanie, things are gonna get shitty. Help each other, and know that everyone in the townhouse has your back.
To my friends outside of this paper, thanks for listening to me bitch about this shit when I’m quite certain you never cared. I’m finally free on Sundays and Wednesdays again, just in time for some of you to remember.
To my family, thank you for all of your support. I love all of you.
And finally, to anyone still reading; be wonderful to one another. I read once that it takes about as much effort as sitting up with your legs straight out in front of you. I imagine it’s even easier than that. -30-