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By the Way: Emo kids and the Black Parade

Hair dyed jet black, shredded jeans, checkered Vans, a punk T-shirt and a whole bunch of colorful wristbands — those were the hallmarks of an emo kid in the 2000s.

I knew a lot of kids like that, but I never was that kid. My hair always remained its natural color and never grew long enough to offend even the most traditional churchgoing old lady. My ears never got pierced or gauged (though the mole on my right earlobe still gets mistaken for a piercing from time to time). And my only exposure to punk and emo music came from video games — special shout-out to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

Unlike most of my friends, many of whom had their own emo phases, I had to seek out Fall Out Boy and Good Charlotte. Because of that, songs like “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and “The Anthem” are associated with different emotions in my head. While 2000s angsty punk brings feelings of nostalgia for many of my friends, I get nostalgic for Bob Marley and ‘90s country.

So when I listen to My Chemical Romance’s iconic “Welcome to the Black Parade,” I feel every ounce of emotion MCR poured into the lyrics.

2006's The Black Parade details the death, afterlife and reminiscence of a character known as simply “The Patient.” It’s album that’s full of pain, fear and regret as the Patient looks back on his life. 

At The Post, we’ve taken to referring to seniors’ impending graduation as “death.” This comes partly from a shared sense of morbid humor that seems to come from the nature of daily journalism. But mostly, “death” comes from the slow but steady realization that your friends will be departing soon.

“Welcome to the Black Parade” has become something of an anthem for some of us this year. Its themes of wistfulness and death align with our feelings as graduation approaches.

In our newsroom, many of us spend countless hours every week, sometimes working from morning until 2 a.m. to produce content that we always hope you, the readers, enjoy. During that time, we learn a lot about each other’s pasts and futures. Countless inside jokes are developed, ranging from muffin-eating habits to duck noises. Those long days and even longer nights are tough, but the people you work with make it all worthwhile.

And when “death” comes for each year’s class of seniors, many of those people who you’ve formed those one-of-a-kind relationships with slip away. Of course, in today’s hyperconnected world, we won’t lose all contact with our pals. But it’s never quite the same once they’re gone and no longer in the newsroom daily.

As the academic year comes to a close and our friends near their “deaths,” “Welcome to the Black Parade” comes to mind. The Patient’s father tells him "Because one day, I'll leave you / A phantom to lead you in the summer.”

That day is nearly upon us at The Post. Our seniors have written their final collective column, and we’re ready to say goodbye.

But as they join the Black Parade, we’ll keep the chorus in mind: "We'll carry on / And though you're dead and gone, believe me / Your memory will carry on / We'll carry on / And in my heart I can't contain it / The anthem won't explain it.”

Alex McCann is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Does graduation make you feel like an emo kid again? Tweet Alex @alexrmccann.

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