Another reporter's poetic farewell

When Jaime Cárdenas was hired as a Los Angeles Times sports writer last year, Sports editor Randy Harvey gave him special billing. Cárdenas was an intern with a personal story and Harvey wrote, "We were fortunate that we were able to offer him an opportunity to remain with us after his internship ends this month." Well, Cárdenas was laid off last week and today emailed the staff his goodbye.

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sweep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

On Aug. 14, 2007, I went from being an LA Times intern to Los Angeles Times Staff Writer. At the time, I felt like I was on top of the world. Having grown up in Tijuana, I worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get to The Times. Being so young I felt like my life was just beginning.

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

On July 14, 2008, exactly 11 months after that date, my world— my dream!— came crashing down. I turned 27 earlier this year.

After the jump: he tells his mother.

One minute I held the key Next the walls were closed on me And I discovered that my castles stand Upon pillars of salt, pillars of sand

I never expected to get hired at The Times. I never thought Randy Harvey would make me an offer I couldn’t refuse (honestly, who could refuse the LA Times?). He went out on a limb and took a chance on me. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity he gave me.

Working for The Times was a tremendous experience. There were a lot of highs, some lows of course, but everyday was usually better than the one before.

It goes without saying that I had never worked with so many people that were as passionate as they were talented. I have learned a lot from everybody I’ve met and worked with (since I wasn’t here that long, I can actually mention all of you in this space: Grahame L. Jones, Debbie Goffa, Randy Harvey, Kevin Baxter, Dylan Hernandez, Martin Henderson, Dan Arritt, Eric Sondheimer, Bob Rohwer, Eric Maddy, Austin Knoblauch, Sean Ceglinsky, Jonathan Abrams, Mike Bresnahan, Bill Plaschke, Kurt Streeter, Barry Stavro, Mike James, Mike Hiserman, Jim Barrero, Dan Loumena, Richard Kipling and Ken Fowler. I’m also grateful for the support provided by Robert Lopez, Efrain Hernandez, Veronica Garcia, Randy Hagihara, Laura Gutierrez and Ari Bloomkatz and Tiffany Hsu.

Monday was obviously a tough day for me. What makes it more difficult is that I just moved in to a new apartment last month and signed a one-year lease. The lowlight of the day, though, was when I had to tell my mother.

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can not explain
Once you go there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world

At the moment, I don’t know what my next move in the game of life is going to be. I might stay in journalism, which is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do since I can remember, but I might also go over to the dark side and work in PR or, if I’m unable to get a job, I might just go back to school (and maybe get a degree in something other than journalism).

But no matter how black things look and how tasteless food is at the moment, I can’t help but think back to the moment when I got hired. I remember walking out of the office and just wanting to run to my car, I didn’t want to give Randy a chance to change his mind. I wanted to race to the top of the Spring St. parking structure and scream and let the world know the good news.

I leave this place with a lot of good memories and a few good friends. It’s been a fun ride, I wish I didn’t have to leave so soon, but I’m sure there’s a reason for my early exit. I’ve always believed that things happen for a reason and I’m sure the next piece of God’s master plan will soon reveal itself.

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can not explain
I know Saint Peter will call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

That’s it for me, folks. To quote Coldplay’s hit-single, Viva La Vida: “I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing; Roman Cavalry choirs are singing.” That's my cue. I had a blast being here and couldn’t have expected working at a finer newspaper for my first job right out of college.

Now it’s on to my still-unknown second job. And home to go listen to more Coldplay.

Gracias y adios. Que dios los bendiga.


-- Jaime Cárdenas

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