by Jacob Sprecher
Managing Editor from 2008-2010
I worked at Synthesis for six years. It started innocently enough with delivering papers once a week after graduating college in 2006. Now trace the line from writing album reviews for the weekly and national, to features, to an editorial internship, to being hired as an associate editor, to being promoted to managing editor when Ryan “Daddy” Prado vanished into the Pacific Northwest like a fart in the wind, to quitting, to delivering papers (again), to being rehired as an editor, to quitting (again). As a direct result of those six years, I have more memories than I know what to do with. So let me just get it out of the way right now and say that I love this stupid paper. Contrary to anything I’ve said in the throes of frustration, I truly loved and believed in Synthesis, even when I knew its best days were behind it and that there wasn’t a thing I or anyone else could do to “save” it.
I’ve been feeling incredibly nostalgic since learning the day had finally come. I’ve rewritten this very paragraph about a dozen times because I just don’t know exactly what to say. There was a time I cared so much about this paper that it hurt. I used to get sick to my stomach every Monday morning at the thought of a spelling mistake on the cover (you can imagine how I felt when it actually happened). But when things were right, man, what a special place to work. On any given day, half the fucking office was hungover, the other half planning on being hungover within 24 hours. We cursed, ranted, raved, listened to great music, ate free lunch, played Street Fighter II and drank cheap beer and champagne every single Friday. Oh, and we put out a weekly.
Of course there were some really tough times, too. There were stretches where money was tight as a baboon’s asshole, and let’s just say my Onion-inspired April Fool’s piece on homosexual aliens probing bros at The Bear didn’t go over too well. (I still think it was funny.) But the bad times at Synthesis never outweighed the good—not even close. Putting bands on the cover every week? Running columns like Hot Flashes? Having a boss like Bill Fishkin that allowed you to be yourself in print?? And here’s two words for you: Karen. Potter. The woman is a tireless champion, the paper’s unsung guardian angel. In my opinion, she single-handedly sustained its existence through the darkest days with her steadfast dedication and attitude while everyone else was ready to blow their brains out. (Thanks, Kron.)
And for all of Synthesis’ faults—of which there were many and all of which I contributed to—it always had something to say. That something may have been lewd, crude, agitated or absurd, but it was there. More specifically, that something was probably a rad touring band that nobody else in town would feature, a “Back to School” issue anchored by a column titled “School Sucks Die,” or Art Wellersdick expounding upon the romantic qualities of having sex with a cadaver. Or maybe it wasn’t. In any case, I will always take pride in the commitment we made to being tasteless, trashy, hip, shamelessly liberal and generally unprofessional. None of that would have been possible without my fellow office freaks: Rene, Eric, Prado, Daniel, Spencer, Dain, R-Dub, James, Hannah. Contributing freaks Bob, Kev, Arielle, Julia, Olivia, Dustin and Dollar Bill, just to name a few.
As for the readers? Thank you. For every staggering drunk and scorned try-hard that talked shit out at the bar as if there were no separation between church and state, there were 100 people with something positive to say, and that meant a lot. Not that it was expected, or even deserved. But it never went unnoticed. And even if you never said anything nice and just kept picking the paper up week after week: THANK YOU. It meant the world to people like me to put a paper like Synthesis out in a town like Chico, and that was only possible because it got read.
But do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That’s the sound of inevitability. I will miss Synthesis not just for what it was, but for the void it leaves in departing. I sit here now and humbly admire its aspect; like the awfulness of Ahab, the whiteness of the whale. It was the most fun I ever had working anywhere, and along the way I found my voice as a writer, my taste as a music lover, and a network of friends and connections that will no doubt prove to be lifelong.
And I got to say FUCK a lot.
“And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Goodnight, sweet prince.”