The End

Chaos in Print

Note: Well, looking at my calendar, we are approaching the 1-year anniversary of the end of my college radio show, Chaos In A Box. Cleaning out my hard drive, I found this, which I wrote the day after my final show to sort through my feelings. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the end, I’m posting it as my latest column.

The last 12 hours have been crazy. A wild rush of emotions just trying to find a voice. Kind of like the morning after a big party. I’m looking around and going “What the Hell was I thinking?”

How did it end? What was going through my mind as those final words were spoken? Well, what I was saying was what I was thinking. It was a stream-of-consciousness thing. The best thing to do at the time, I felt, was to try and communicate exactly what I was thinking. Talk through it. And that’s what I did. I had known from day 1 what the final song I wanted to play was going to be. When Return of the Jedi: Special Edition came out, I then knew of two final songs I wanted to play. After I hit play to send out “Victory Celebration,” I wondered if that’s how I should leave it. But, I knew I had been planning what song I wanted to leave people with since day 1, and I knew I had to stick with it or else it would be one of those regrets of my life things. So, “Victory Celebration” ended, and I had to play my favorite song of all time: “UHF” by “Weird Al” Yankovic. As the song played, I began doing the regular end-of-show routine: putting CDs back in the back, packing up my CDs, putting the last few songs I played into the computer. Just the routine. Well, I stashed a couple of station CDs in my bag. It’s my last show. I’ve been good for 3 ½ years. Who’ll notice? Then, the song ended, and I said my final final words: “You have been listening to the final Chaos in a Box. For the last time, this is Mark Cappis returning you to your regularly re-broadcast crap.” And I looked around. Knowing that this is the last time.

Those X-Men stickers I stuck up in my first year were still there. I’m surprised no one tried to take them down over the years. One last look at the vinyl collection. I wonder what ever happened to that first pressing of the Star Wars soundtrack I stumbled across in my first year? And, what I’ll miss most of all, that little yellow DJ chair. Whenever I came back from summer, I knew I wasn’t fully back until I went up to the station and sat in that chair. And I’ll never sit in it again. I turned off the lights, and began walking down the stairs. On the second step, I turned back and looked around. For the briefest of moments, I was back in January, 1996. It was the day after Lowel’s organizational meeting of the semester. I didn’t know my timeslot yet, I didn’t even know if I was going to be on the air, but I knew I just had to get a second look. For 15 minutes, I sat up there, and dreamed of changing the world. And now, the dream has ended. I spoke aloud the word “Good-Bye,” and walked down the stairs. My minded drifted to something I heard on Entertainment Tonight: when they had finished taping the final episode of Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld stayed on the set and left at 5am, just so he could be the last to leave. I think I understand why he did that, now. As I walked down the stairs, the things I should’ve said started popping into my mind, but I dismissed them. I was happy with how it ended.

Walking back across the bridge to my room, I ran into Arlo, who was off on a midnight sev-run. We hugged. I made him cry with my final words. I offered him some M&M’s. Once again, it was brought up that I should be doing this professionally. And once again, I said no. From my visit to the Bear that one time, I have seen how everything you say and play is regulated. I don’t think I could survive under those conditions. I would have to quit being me. I returned to my room, only to run into a some people in the floor lounge. The apologized for missing the end. That was OK. I got into my room, went to my VCR and hit rewind. I was already beginning to forget my final words, and I wanted to remind myself. I had felt somewhat emotionally detached in this whole experience, but listening to the tape of my final words finally drove home that it was over.

I didn’t feel like going to sleep. I felt like taking a walk. I strapped my walkman on, and headed out into the stars. Walking through the darkness, alone with my thoughts. I’d been walking a lot lately. I feel as though if I stop moving, things will crumble around me. I don’t remember my thoughts. It was like all I was doing was repeating “Wow. It’s over.” in my head. Just one thought stuck out: in high school, I had this one experience that finally hammered home that the experience was over. Shortly after writing my second final exam, I asked my computer science teacher for the key to the computer lab so I could go up there and clean out my computer account. Up there, alone in the computer lab, I started going through my files. I printed out what I wanted to keep, and then deleted everything. When I was done, and I was staring at the my now empty directory, that’s when it hit me. High school is over. My final show was a similar experience. College is over.

I got back at about 1am. Time to watch Beast Wars and Shadow Raiders. Shadow Raiders was good. A nice, goofy episode. Beast Wars was surreal. We met the aliens. They fused together their captives of Tigatron and Airazor to create their emissary to the planet: Tigerhawk. I’m still trying to comprehend the dream sequences in that episode. And the aliens! They look kind of like the villains on Shadow Raiders. Crossover potential? Hmmmm.

2am. I went to bed. I slept. I don’t remember my dreams, but I do remember dreaming.

I awoke at 8:30. For the first half-hour, I just lied in bed, in a semi-conscious state. At 9, I figured I should start doing something. I finally decided to read those Death collections I borrowed. I popped my CD compilation of my MP3s into my CD player, and began reading Death: The High Cost of Living. The opening pages were read to Unicron’s Theme. Not a promising start. Shockingly, most appropriate music for Death: The High Cost of Living: Opening titles from Star Trek: First Contact. Most appropriate for Death: The Time of Your Life: Change the World by Eric Clapton. Hanging over the whole proceedings was this sense of loss. Maybe reading Death helped. I have trouble dealing with the fact that the person who best shows by example that you should lead life to the fullest is Death. Maybe she just knows. This whole experience just felt like one of those “perfect moments” that are so fleeting in our lives.

11am. I should start doing something. Maybe I should write, reflect on this. I check my e-mail. Oh, so Kenten wants to know what I felt. Maybe I’ll just send him what I write. And I began writing.

It’s going on to lunch time, now. I should go eat something. My plans for the day are fuzzy. Maybe I’ll watch some movies. Maybe I’ll go for a walk. Maybe I’ll read those Sandman‘s. Maybe I’ll fall in love. I just know I’m not going to study. I don’t feel like doing that. Did a part of me die? Have I been re-born? I don’t know. But the sun is shining. The music is playing. Life goes on. And I have a day to conquer.