EPISODE 12 (2004 – 2007)
Odds, ends, and the most important column we never finished
Not gonna lie, the end of Volume II kind of snuck up on me. And the timing couldn’t be more appropriate. Much in the way the tale surprised me by its progress in the present day, events within the story are about to catch history’s version of the Dig with its proverbial pants around its proverbial ankles.
I’m flustered. The people in this narrative are flustered. Nobody knows what the heck is going on.
Spoiler alert: The soon-launching Volume III plays out like a downward spiral of the golden age-type scenario. But let’s keep in mind that the majority of my Dig bylines appear during Metro Corp. years, which means they hold a comparatively powerful nostalgic sway over the composer of this oral history.
So is the Metro Corp. era objectively the best and most significant era of the Dig, or does it just seem that way because I happen to be the one telling the story?
Maybe it wasn’t the best era necessarily, but it was definitely a pretty good one. It was certainly the one with a Brian Viglione interview. That guy’s an astonishing ass drummer.
M.D. SAUNDERS (teenage advice columnist): I didn’t expect too much to come out of the Brian Viglione interview. But if he and his wife are doing an open marriage thing … I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Call me, Brian. But that subversive, goofy, not-taking-yourself-too-seriously Boston nerd humor that I saw in the Dig spoke to me. I didn’t have to change my writing voice so much as—just like Rita Repulsa says—“MAKE IT GROW!” It wasn’t that, like, “Uuugh, I’m a hipster and I’m over everything,” kind of tone. I wrote about seeing JEFF the Brotherhood and giving Damian Abraham from Fucked Up a raspberry. I didn’t try to write snooty, like, “And this is the cultural context of my critique.” I wrote how it channeled through my senses: eyes, ears, my mouth while I was giving the raspberry, the whole overall feeling.
DEREK KOUYOUMJIAN (photographer): This is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done. At the time I had kicked my girlfriend out of my house, got fired from my job, and I think I had just wrapped up a big project for the Improper, a big Phoenix project, and a big Dig project, and then there was a Dig party and all this booze. I went on a mission to get trashed, and get trashed I did. I downed at least 10 fucking vodka drinks, gulp gulp gulp, times two.
Before long I was like Scarlett O’Hara: Gone With the Wind. I gave Barry a ride to JP and it was like one of those PSA commercials or whatever. I got in the car, and I crashed into a street sign almost immediately, knocking it down and really denting the fuck out of my car. Somehow, magically, me and Barry made it from that spot on the Fenway where I trashed my car all the way to JP. … And then I woke up, and it kind of looked like my room at first, but then I realized, “Wait, this isn’t my room! Where am I?!” And then it all started to flood back all at once. The coup de grace of the night was me pissing in Barry’s hallway.
BARRY THOMPSON (Exit Pollster): I can confirm the accident with the road sign after the party happened. He did eventually wind up passed out in my room while I passed out on a couch or maybe in someone else’s bed or maybe on a floor somewhere, that’s also true. But I remember his piss being on the floor in my room, not in my hallway like he remembers. But the thing is I also remember someone else urinating all over that exact same hallway on a completely different occasion and for a completely different reason under a totally different circumstance, so it’s possible I’ve inadvertently and subconsciously conflated those two stories, which could mean Derek never pissed on any of my floors at all, but now believes he did just ’cos I’ve repeated that story so many times.
BARATUNDE THURSTON (columnist): I have one regret from my Dig time, and it’s the story I never wrote. I started to write it, and then I wasn’t around Boston enough to finish it. I wanted to do a reported piece about race and being black in Boston: “Where Are All the Black People?” was a proposed headline. As someone who came from Washington, DC, to go to a very white institution like Harvard who was trained to believe there were no black people in Boston, I was shocked to find there are all kinds of black people in Boston. But certain aspects of black culture, like black ownership of nightclubs, winds up isolated. So I was trying to spend time at black establishments and with black elected officials to find out what’s going on. It felt like a really interesting story that I hadn’t seen written. But I literally just ran out of time. I moved, started working at the Onion, and couldn’t do the reporting. So of all the stories I wrote for the Dig, one of the most meaningful is one I never wrote. It would’ve been a nice way to go out; “Where are the black people in Boston? Now there’s one less. I’m going to New York!”
SHAULA CLARK (managing editor): I remember talking to my boyfriend at the time when everything was awesome and it was such a joy to come into work every day. It was hard work, but we got to do whatever we wanted and turn out this thing that was really fun and well received. I said, “Oh man, I hope this lasts forever.”
But there’s no way it could last forever.
Next Episode: It’s 2008, which means everyone gets a big raise and we all sit around talking about how much we admire Wall Street for its prudence and tireless commitment to social and civic responsibility.
Barry Thompson lives next to a highway in the Allston/Brighton vicinity. He has written for a whole bunch of places, enjoys caffeine, and appreciates a good, hearty anxiety attack every now and again.