What Miami Taught Me

​​If there's one thing I learned in college journalism, it's that the word me should never show up in a story. Nobody cares about "me." But the Powers That Be asked me to write something, so if you don't want to indulge a punk college kid in a couple hundred self-indulgent words, I certainly won't blame you. Don't say you weren't warned.

I'm a senior at the University of Maryland; I came to Miami for ten weeks, and those ten weeks run out today. I'm sure there are readers who don't mind, but it's a real bummer for me.

There are very few people who get to write things all day for one editor who likes slapping his desk and yelling about sangre y sudor and another who likes short stories, Stanley Kubrick, and the word hobo. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could have happened only in Miami -- as New Times lunatic Calvin Godfrey wrote before me: "I got paid to fall ass backward into weirdness." Except, you know, he actually got paid.

But while my friends were off interning at small papers up North, making coffee and reporting on high school graduations, I was eating Pop Rocks and arguing with Jose Canseco. I got very lucky. It's a weird, sweaty fishing village you've got down here, and it taught me a lot.

I learned that the entire city is not always one giant crazy episode of Burn Notice, but it frequently is. I learned that you can put synthetic marijuana on an expense sheet if you say you're writing a story about it. I learned that tattoos down here are really cheap.

I learned that, for all the dirtbags hanging out in this town, there are also men like Robert Del Castillo, who spends every day helping people with mental disabilities get jobs even though his nonprofit's funding is drying up.

I learned that you'll get odd looks if your Taylor Swift tune is playing too loudly in Hialeah, and that even a lifelong Phillies fan can develop an affinity for those goober Marlins. I learned what the hell an arepa is.

I learned that liberal flag-burning pseudo-reporters can also be really nice people, and I learned there aren't many skylines that could ever compete with the one you see going west on the Julia Tuttle Causeway late at night with the windows down.

And even if I never make it back 'round these parts as I hope to, I'll at least be able to say I took what talents I had to South Beach. So, after two months, 2,000 miles, and 42,161 words, I'm outta here. Thanks for the chance, guys. Cheers.

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