Goodbye To Uncle Joe

_The wicked crawl from the wrong side of the cradle; their first words out of the womb are lies. Poison, lethal rattlesnake poison, drips from their forked tongues- Deaf to threats, deaf to charm, decades of wax built up in their ears. _� Psalm 58

Joe Eskenazi. Two words which, put together, spell the name of a man. A man who, through his columns (six whole semesters worth by his estimate), inundated the Cal population with letters. Thousands of them. Arranged, as it were, into words which formed sentences which formed paragraphs which formed columns which formed a body of work best summed up by one word: analgesic.

I’ll look beyond the fact that this word is in fact an amalgam of two other words- anal and gesic. And I’ll also look past the fact that the word signifies the adjectivized form of analgesia, which refers to “insensibility to pain without loss of consciousness.” Because I felt the pain of each and every one of Mr. Eskenazi’s columns. I felt the pain of a man stranded at the wrong publication. A German stuck on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall, gazing westward with hopeless eyes. Except right here in Berkeley, and without any real wall.

To use the phrase “wrong publication” implies the existence of a “right” or “true” publication. This is, of course, _The Heuristic Squelch. _Ever since I started reading Eskenazi’s work, it has been painfully obvious that his dream all along was to write for _The Squelch. _His second to last line expresses his desire to be part of “a bigger paper that pays better.” We all know that _The Squelch _is printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, clearly smaller than the 11″ x 17″ tabloid size used by _The Daily Californian. _(Since we changed formats for this issue, that last joke really bombed. It’ll be back to normal next time though. Promise.) And _The Squelch _doesn’t pay writers, because frankly, community service should be on a volunteer basis. It was a mismatch from the beginning, I guess.

What is my evidence? “After all,” you say, “he has never mentioned _The Squelch _in a column. He probably has never heard of you. And frankly, neither have I!” Let me respond, kind ma’am. For starters, Mr. Eskenazi has directly borrowed concepts and ideas from The Squelch. This ranges anywhere from his Berkeley Bingo column to his recent Jowitt-Joke�, which I trademarked in an article last year. Proof, you ask? Well the trademark symbol is right there in front of you, you slow wilted half-breed! Above all, however, is the constant theme running through Joe’s column writing�a desire to be funny. This is a noble desire, godly even. It’s what makes us at The Squelch tick. But for some reason, Mr. Eskenazi was never able to make the transition to our publication, a decision which he regretted. In _Joe Eskenazi: The Memoirs of a Great Man, _he revealed that “The Squelch was always a goal of mine�the egg to the average sperm, the high school diploma to the chronic dyslexia sufferer. But it just never happened. I simply never felt that I could play with the big boys of humor.”

I have seen real changes at _The Daily Californian. _I have seen authentic, albeit pathetic, attempts at humor in recent weeks. Some of these, such as the space fillers (and the sheer number of them, good Lord!), arc intentional. The layouts and new columnists, however, can awkwardly be described as lessons in the opposite of serendipity. Although Mr. Eskenazi is now retired, it gives me peace to contemplate the satisfaction he must have gained from working on a paper which tries to be funny. However, it gives me distemper and gas to visualize his angst from working on a publication which fails so miserably.

_If all I get from you is deafening silence, I’d be better off in the Black Hole.� _Psalm 28

Joe Eskenazi. Two words, which put together, spell the name of a man. A man who, despite constant harassment from _The Heuristic Squelch, _did not fight back, did not respond, and did not hire a lawyer. Joe, we thank you for the third thing, but we wish we had heard more from you. We would have loved a dialogue, however bitter and confrontational. Instead we got a monologue, which is one person talking, not those things that wussies use in their fireplaces. But we look forward, never backward, searching, always searching, for the next _Daily Cal _columnist to harass.

Luke Pilose is the Managing Editor of The Heuristic Squelch. Come to his “Joe Eskenazi Farewell Party,” October 13. RSVP