When the Boston Phoenix hired me in the pre-9/11 aughts, I had little more on my resume than a stint scooping ice cream in Harvard Square and some clips from an internship at a magazine. I suppose it was qualification enough for the position to push the weekly paper’s content online through some deft copying and pasting (learned on the job). But I was a shy 22 year old, humbled by the bylines that I carefully posted each week. Despite achieving some success as a writer for my college newspaper, I was still terrified of picking up the phone and getting a quote. Still, I proudly took home my measly paycheck, which went straight toward my Porter Square rent and my weekly supply of burritos from Anna’s Taqueria.
Last week, when I learned that the Phoenix has published its last issue, I fell into a state of mourning. The mere three years I spent there overlapped with those formative early-20s years of figuring out Who You Are, and for me, the paper was a guide to life, informing this recent grad on what to do in her spare time with a group of friends growing closer with every night out for beers, show attended at the Middle East, or odd film screening in a lost corner of town.
For someone who had not gotten her post-high-school rebelliousness out of her system during college, a job at the Phoenix was a countercultural balm. While my parents wished I was studying for the GRE or LSAT, I spent my nights playing drunken Jenga in my friends’ Somerville apartment and stumbling into work the next day—easy enough when the work day didn’t really start until 10:00 a.m.