A long time (I think six or seven years) ago in a Nexus office far, far away (in, like, a spiritual way), a bunch of funny people sat around a table. The Daily Nexus was introducing a satire section, and it needed a name.
“How about something with way too many syllables that isn’t funny at all and doesn’t really make any sense?” said some idiot. Everyone murmured, shrugged and nodded in agreement, unable to come up with anything better than the mess of Scrabble tiles that wound up forming the title “Nexustentialism.”
Despite being autocorrected to existentialism on Google, and despite having nothing to do with existentialist thought and despite, honestly, barely having anything to do with the Daily Nexus, the title of “Nexustentialism” held its own for eight (I counted this time) long years. And while we will remember our time as “Nexustentialism” fondly, we, the current editors, respectfully, need a goddamn upgrade.
We considered several options for the proposed name change. Contenders included “The D.P. Peepee,” “Poison I.V.” and even “The Sand of Barbara.” Comparing one title to another was no easy task; each had its own charms and whimsy, its own value to bring to our grimy little “family.” However, after meticulous deliberation (long nights in the office saying “D.P. Peepee” over and over), we finally landed on our new name:
But then that one was taken already, so we had to start over.
After approximately one quajillion more years (26 minutes) of extreme thinkage on behalf of our entire editorial staff, we found ourselves in yet another pit, getting nowhere. We wondered if our founding fathers were right: was “Nexustentialism” the best we could get? Would we ever come up with something better, more all-encompassing, less fucking annoying to spell? Why does DLG still serve shark fin soup? The answers escaped us all.
Until, finally, it hit us: a raindrop seeping through the Nexus office’s ceiling — which may as well be a kitchen sponge wrapped in cardboard given how well it protects us from the elements. “That fucking rain,” I thought, looking around at the various buckets stationed across the office that had been tasked with collecting the ceiling seepage.
But there is one bucket in particular that takes no mercy on our editorial staff: the bucket behind the chair by the production desk. The sludge that sleeps in the Production Bucket is the most unholy soup I’ve ever come across. I would try to describe it to you in more eloquent prose, but honestly, dude, it looks like shit. Like, pure, liquid shit. No nasal passageway is safe. Several inches of brown who-knows-what goop have somehow accumulated in this bucket for who knows how long. Its stench infests the air, making it itself a prank for staff to play on each other (Atmika, seriously, why did you make me smell it?).
And yet, the sludge bucket and its stench remain.
Anyone who has seen the Daily Nexus Office knows how much of a hoarding problem we have. There is not one bare wall, not one desk uncluttered with decades’ worth of photos, sticky notes and inside jokes from editorships’ past. Not one single thing has been thrown away since probably the beginning of time. Not even the rank-ass sludge bucket.
As the satire section, it’s easy sometimes to feel like the black sheep of the Nexus (not to be confused with “The Black Sheep,” another lesser UCSB satire column). All of our peers are doing such incredible work. I don’t need to tell you that; you’re already reading the damn paper if you’ve gotten this far. Literally, just turn the fucking page and I guarantee you’ll see some incredible reporting. But here? You’ll get some shitty Photoshop art and a few dick jokes, take it or leave it.
And yet, the satire section and its shitty Photoshop art and its dick jokes remain.
Maybe we’re the sludge bucket of the Nexus, surrounded by our peers, who are all beautiful photographs or inside jokes or chalk messages scribbled on the walls. But we haven’t gotten chucked yet, and that’s gotta count for something.
As we now bid our bittersweet goodbyes to our days as Nexustentialism — a title with the “stench” buried deep within — we find a certain pride in our newfound ability to truly let our stench flag fly.
So, if you smell anything funny on your next daily commute past Storke Tower, don’t worry — it’s just the Daily Stench.
Sierra Vakili actually smells pretty decent.