After a long and storied career, SF Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll is retiring, spurring numerous tributes, a call for new voices...and, if I'm not mistaken, a problem for Dear Abby.
As Carroll notes in his final column, he took his first job at the Chron in 1962, before heading off to Rolling Stone. He returned in 1982, and wrote a regular column for the paper for the last 33 years (he's run down his absolute favorite columns here, and his full archive is here), typically a gentle rumination on the issues of the day with frequent mentions of his cats (none of which I ever actually met, DAMMIT).
Fellow columnist Leah Garchik wrote a lovely tribute to her departing colleague, and the Chron is trolling for his replacement (could it be you?). But after you read all that stuff, check out the quirkiest nod to his departure, a missive in the even-longer-standing syndicated advice column Dear Abby.
While the Dear Abby that ran everywhere else contained the usual set of queries (late in life baby adoption troubles, my friends don't like my boyfriend), the Chron version from today contained a special lead letter:
Dear Abby: I have been a San Francisco Chronicle columnist for 33 years, and my picture is at the top of the column. Because that enables readers to recognize me, I have had to leave lavish tips in the jars on the counters of cafes and coffee shops. Now that I am retiring, do I still have to be generous? Wondering in Oakland
Dear Wondering in Oakland: Only if you plan to continue eating in those establishments. Your celebrity status carries with it extra responsibilities. So live with it — and enjoy it!
Tomorrow is the last day for the legendary S.F. Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll. Here is my last, ugly shot at him. pic.twitter.com/IE5msllAS9— Don Asmussen (@don_asmussen) November 20, 2015
Leah and Jon side by side one last time. Jon Carroll's last day at The Chronicle. pic.twitter.com/xsgBkwtidG— Jill Tucker (@jilltucker) November 20, 2015
Big Chronicle party for ME. I was entirely overwhelmed. Smooch. @sfchronicle— Jon Carroll (@jonrcarroll) November 20, 2015