I”ve written a lot of articles and I”ve tried some different things, but this is a first for me: I”ve never written a final column before.

Paul Wong
Unsung Ann Arbor<br><br>Chris Kula

It”s actually a little tricky. You want to do something special for the last at-bat, but you don”t want to be that aging slugger who tries way too hard to stretch out a meaningless double only to pull his hamstring, leaving him prone in the base path, sobbing like a wee babe and gasping for air like a chub tuna. So to speak.

You want to squeeze in all of those great references you”ve been sitting on for the past few years, but deep down inside, you know there”s no logical way to mention in the same column the likes of former Detroit Piston Scott Hastings, Shanice”s 1992 hit “I Love Your Smile” and the episode of “Silver Spoons” where Rick got Menudo to play his birthday party. And you”ve never been one for gratuitous referencing.

But the hardest part of coming to the final column is that there”s just so much left to say, so many loose ideas and random observations waiting for their chance to become, if you will, the next “Focus Girl.” Forget about smoking: The weekly fix of crafting a good column is a tough habit to break. But I”m not going out cold turkey.

In just a few short months, I”ll be moving to New York to apply for the position of Famous Writer. A nice entry-level opportunity, perhaps something to get my foot in the door of the Famous Writing industry. If nothing pans out in four to six days, I”ll consider doing some temp work as an Aspiring Writer. And, if worse comes to worse, there”s always the option of wearing more black and trying my hand as a Starving Artist.

But enough about me let”s talk about me for a change. One of the cardinal rules that I first set for the column was to not talk about myself or my opinions, because I was always left with a janky taste in my mind after reading these college kids trying to pontificate on their life issues with the gag-reflex introspection that is so truly undergrad.

Instead of getting all gushy about me, myself and that very special Kula family Christmas, I tried to keep things a little more universal and a lot more wry. Aside from the occasional mention of some fabulous red hair, I”ve never revealed that much about myself, never really divulged anything personal.

So for this last waltz, I wanted to make known some of my personal favorites, the parts of my life that I dig the most. You”re familiar with the Best of Ann Arbor poll as it were, this is the Best of Unsung Ann Arbor.

This is the time for me to give praise to people like Ray from Good Time Charley”s, the friendliest doorman at the friendliest bar in town. The name doesn”t lie: It”s always good times at Charley”s, which is why you can find me there every Thursday. And many Tuesdays. And most weekends. And, of course, Columbus Day.

This is the time for me to tell you about Ann Arbor”s own Soup Nazi, the guy who runs the little Le Dog shack on E. Liberty. He may serve “No pop! No soda! Ever!!!” and he may snap at you if you”re not quick enough with your order, but the man makes a sinful lobster bisque. I”m serious: Shit”s so good you need to say 10 Hail Mary”s after dining 15 if you get it with bread.

This is the time to confess my thrice-daily devotion to Saturday Night Live reruns on Comedy Central. Oh, that 1990 season! Dana Carvey! Phil Hartman! G.E. Smith! My dream job is a writing gig on SNL, so let”s all hope that Lorne Michaels can keep the show on the air long enough for me to give it a whirl in both Studio 8H and Tina Fey.

This is the time to say that, no matter how many times I see it, when Kevin Costner asks his dad to have a game of catch at the end of “Field of Dreams,” I”m reduced to tears. Al Kula … Dad … you”re a very good man.

This is the time to give the most important shout-out of them all, to the person who deserves an entire column: Hi, Mom.

And, finally, this is the time to voice my most sincere gratitude to everyone who has been kind enough to pass along a compliment about the column. Be it an e-mail or a handshake on the street, every kind word has meant a great deal to me. The way I see it, when someone takes time out of their day to think of you, to stop what they”re doing just to say, “Hey, I really enjoyed that,” that”s the best compliment you could ever hope to receive.

Thanks for reading and, even more so, thanks for your laughter.

This is Chris Kula”s final column for the Michigan Daily. Give him feedback at http://www.michigandaily.com/forum or via e-mail at ckula@umich.edu.

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