Greg: What are you talking about? This is my last "Progressive Revelations," so please don't ruin this for me.
Eel: You gave me one line -- that's it. I mean, you've written over 50 columns and over 40,000 words and I get one line. Where are your priorities?
Greg: My original priority was coming up with some way to make the final version of this column a special one, but I'm struggling with how to wrap things up.
Eel: Try tin foil. But don't get it near me -- that could be dangerous.
Greg: So in my last column, I am going to be interviewed by an eel?
UView: You're also going to be interviewed by me. You know you like me, baby. I'm quite the machine.
Greg: I didn't think you talked.
Eel: I know, this is ridiculous. Who has ever heard of a talking UView?
Hamlet: Not me, that's for sure.
Eel: Enough of you, Hamlet. Someone is calling you from Who's. He said the frosh are wicked cool over there, and they think you're one hot stud. Greg, start expressing yourself before I steal the spotlight. I already stole the potato chips. And they were good chips, too.
Greg: Well, I was going to start off by talking about a guitar player I saw at the Park Street T Stop the other day. He sang a song about how tourists only want pictures of Cheers.
Eel: Usually, yeah. Cheers and eels.
Greg: And he kept thanking the people at the T stop, even though they were there to ride the T, not necessarily to hear him. So it made me think a lot about thanking those who have made the effort to read this column over the past 27 months. Readers with effort are the key to unlocking the lock of all locks, or something like that. Without readers, there would be no "Progressive Revelations," so I owe them everything and a bunch of locks. But I don't owe them a stick of gum because I gave my last one to Hamlet.
Hamlet: Now I'm ready for the frosh.
Greg: As this is the last time the column will appear, I wanted to take the space to bring the series to a close and clarify some things that aren't supposed to be clear, like translucent curtains. Unlike translucent curtains, however, this column is not edible, except for the last letter of this sentence. But I hope you didn't go ahead and eat that letter, because someone else might pick it up and think there's a spelling error. And we already have Beverly Hills: 90210 for that. Wow, and I've never even watched the show. It's no holds barred in this final edition, huh?
Eel: It's clear to me that you and I are a force not to be messed with. I mean, you're sort of a weakling, but I am -- quite frankly -- the bomb. I was voted "Most Likely To Be the Bomb" in Eel School, after all.
Electric Eel #2: That's not true, buddy. You know you lost to me by 76 votes.
Eel: It was fixed! That's even more clear than the last thing I considered clear.
Greg: Well, things weren't always so clear for me when it came to "Progressive Revelations." When I started as features editor in January of 1998, I wanted to start something that had been missing from the Heights for a while: a humor column. But I didn't want it to be just any humor column where some sophomore kid talks about this, that and the other thing. Instead, I wanted it to be a humor column where some sophomore kid talks about this, that and the other thing, and then attempts to connect them in some way. The hard part was coming up with a name for this column -- something that was original and would make my words seem significant, with the key word being "seem," of course.
Eel: Did you think about naming it after Hulk Hogan?
Hulk Hogan: The Hulkamaniacs are going wild out there!
Greg: Right. So, after consulting my thesaurus in order to avoid using a name such as "Connecting Thoughts," I decided on "Progressive Revelations" and stayed with it. Shortly later, I realized that the column's name was much more significant than I ever imagined. In March of 1998, while doing an Internet search, I realized that "Progressive Revelations" is a biblical reference in a certain faith, as it refers to words being passed from one messenger to another. Meanwhile, the initials of the column, PR, imply public relations of some sort. And the word "progressive," which is the nickname in which many refer to the column, is synonymous with "liberal." And with these comments now revealed, I must state that it was never my intent to be a liberal writer attempting to form public relations via religious references, although that could have been fun. I really only wanted to connect my thoughts somehow with the hope that maybe they'd form a picture, like a walrus or a goose.
Eel: Or some three-letter creature that we've all come to know and love.
Elk: Good point.
Greg: In the first "Progressive Revelations," appearing in the January 26, 1998, issue of the Heights, connected thoughts is exactly what can be seen, as the column connected seven paragraphs with the words "And speaking of …" at the beginning of each. It was a concept I was proud of. It was a concept I liked. But at the same time, it was a concept that proved to be limiting, and the first few "Progressive Revelations" seemed to take longer to write than the other 50 combined for structural reasons. The second column, appearing two weeks later, connected holidays. But holidays were the least of my worries, along with Full House re-runs, as what I intended to be a bi-weekly column almost didn't last past the second week. I faced opposition from our copy editors who thought the column was not structured enough and therefore rambled on about nothing.
Eel: I like cheese doodles.
Greg: I should have taken the criticism as a compliment because rambling was the point. At any rate, I have several Heights individuals to thank for the continuation of "Progressive Revelations" beyond the first couple of weeks -- and they know who they are. Because the readership of the column was very low at that time, I needed my Heights companions to tell me to keep on going, to tell me that what I was doing was something that should be continued, and possibly to tell me to go to the bathroom if they thought I needed to go.
Eel: I remember you wrote about the Winter Olympics for your third column and ended up not printing it.
Greg: Thanks for reminding me. I guess that will remain the lost "Progressive Revelations" column, although I do have it saved somewhere. So, after October 26, 1998, the column began running every week. In 1999, the structure became much looser and the columns subsequently became much longer. When 1999 ended, and I completed my second year as features editor, I was happy to be asked by the new features editors to continue the column. I must thank them for being patient with me phoning each week to bother them and call them funny names.
Lettiz Hedd: It would stink to have a funny name.
Greg: I still can't believe the column turned into what it did: something people have been reading on campus and apparently beyond, thanks to Internet exposure. I feel like the column has become more a part of my identity than anything else I've done here, and the readers have made me proud of that fact. It is the readers who have been my audience every week. It is the readers who have given me feedback. And it is the readers' actions that have given me material and have allowed me to wait until April for an electric eel to have a speaking line.
Eel: I'm really making tracks now, though.
Greg: I don't want to speak of "Progressive Revelations" as if it was some kind of revolution that changed life as we know it, or pretzels as we know it, or even pretzel warmers, if those exist. All I did was sit down and type whatever came to mind; it was a simple job. I've come to realize that we need to tell ourselves it's the little things that make life what it is; it's the "irrelevant" that is actually relevant. Stream-of-consciousness and randomness are in every one of us, and it is these kinds of thoughts that can unite us all in many ways. I'd like to believe my thoughts are no different from the readers' thoughts. I just happened to type them.
Eel: I am unable to type.
Greg: I figured that. You know, certain themes have popped up more in the column than others, but unfortunately there's not enough room to address them in this final edition. So please e-mail questions, concerns and feedback to email@example.com. Replies, as well as the archived columns, can be seen at www2.bc.edu/~gagliarg. The "lost" Winter Olympics column from 1998 will be there, too.
Eel: Any final thoughts?
Greg: I guess I'm just trying to imply that anything can be linked to something else. Furthermore, anything can be relevant and important, and we can't forget that, because we're missing out on a lot if we do. If it hasn't been obvious by the large length, it's hard for me to bring this column to a close because I feel like I need some kind of dramatic conclusion. This is probably the worst thing I've ever written since a fourth grade book report I don't remember, because I am trying to do too much with it. However, it's tough to carry over 40,000 words into a funnel that will summarize them. When it comes down to it, though, I think I'll always have revelations as long as there's that one source that provides stuff to talk about.
UView: You mean me?
Greg: No, I'm talking about life. The world is filled with ups, downs, and even diagonals. It is filled with things that will make us cry, things that will make us smile and, above all, things that will make us laugh. And that's good, because we need to laugh at what happens to us in order to fully appreciate life. Humor is the lens for making everything look just a little bit better.
UView: Kind of like sunglasses.
Greg: I guess so, yeah. So, all this time I've been writing because I really need a new pair of sunglasses. Maybe I could have saved a lot of time and bought a pair over two years ago. Funny how things work. But I digress.