Hop on Pop: Saying goodbye, reflecting on life’s journey | TheUnion.com

Hop on Pop: Saying goodbye, reflecting on life’s journey

Tidal waves don’t beg forgiveness / Crash, then on their way

– Pearl Jam, “Man of the Hour”

When I graduated from college in May 2004, a close friend gave me a copy of the film “Big Fish.”

“This movie is, like, about you, dude,” he said as I inspected its cover.

I’m not sure he was right – Albert Finney’s character spins fantastic stories that leave his son wondering what’s true and what isn’t as Finney’s character approaches death – but I can say that I’ve grown to really, really love the Pearl Jam song that plays over the end credits, “Man of the Hour.”

I thought of the song’s opening lines about tidal waves recently after a discussion with a friend about life on a molecular level. I’d read something equating human beings to a series of tidal waves that appear as different entities but are really all a part of the same ocean of molecules.

Our lives are much like that ocean – we appear, we slam into the shore and then we fade into the sands of time.

As a copy editor and copy desk chief at The Union for the last three years, I’ve read a great number of obituaries for the next day’s paper. I sometimes find myself writing my own obituary after I’ve read a few.

How will I be remembered? How will my achievements and adventures be summarized? I hope I will be perceived as adventurous, self-reliant and independent.


The road the old man paved / The broken seams along the way / The rusted signs left just for me / He was guiding me, love, his own way


With a fierce independence comes the desire to do things that are different, uncharacteristic and daring. I tell myself I want to be different than my friends or my parents without sounding demeaning to them. I’m not judging their choices; I’m judging my own.

I’ve always thought one of the best things about being a journalist is that you can do it anywhere in the world.

When I can’t be wild and adventurous, I’ve loved the mystical ability of music to take me places. I only recently heard Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” album for the first time – “Cypress Avenue” stirs visions of the tree-studded drive in Belfast, Ireland, that provides the dividing line for the upper-middle class.

That’s how we allow popular culture to entertain, distract, interest and amuse us. It’s always a transportation, a journey. I think that’s why, when my bank account won’t allow me to run off to the airport and do something bizarre and unexpected such as fly to Iceland, I plop down on my couch and listen to that nation’s Sigur Rós and fantasize that it looks something like that group’s material sounds.

Despite my efforts to be different, though, I’m beginning to realize things just change sideways.

My parents uprooted themselves from New York and went to Colorado in their 20s. And as much as I’d love to think of myself as a trailblazer, a rebel, an independent, someone doing his own thing, I’m walking an all-too-familiar path of self-discovery and life experience that most people walk in their 20s. I’m using those rusted signs that my parents left for me, marking points telling me where to go and what to try next.


As someone who loves experiencing new things, it’s become time for me to do something new and different, away from Nevada County and The Union. I’ve accepted a job at the Fairfield Daily Republic.

I really love the people here, and I’m going to miss this place. I’m going to miss spending afternoons alone walking the Independence Trail with my iPod. (The irony of the trail’s name is not lost on me.)

I’m going to miss interacting with our readers. Since us copy-editing folk are really behind-the-scenes people, this column has been a vein to the public. I’ve appreciated all of your thoughts and comments, even those from you who disagreed with me.

But lastly, and most of all, I’m going to miss my co-workers. I can’t find the words to express how much I have appreciated their support, guidance, advice, friendship and affection. They’re a special bunch of people, not just a bunch of folks who deliver you the news.

I’ll miss talking to them about the latest movie or the newest records, too. Some have exposed me to some amazing stuff that’s opened other doors for me.

But mostly, I’ll miss being in their company.

Take care, Nevada County. You’ve been great to me.


As the curtain comes down / I feel that this is just goodbye for now.


The name Hop on Pop is the title of a 1963 book by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. Nick DeCicco is copy desk chief and pop culture columnist for The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at nickd@theunion.com or by phone at 477-4270.

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