Hey, you. No, you. Yeah, you! No no, not you. Yes—no—. Yes, you. You’re probably wondering how I got here. To tell you the truth it all began with me as a young sprout on the streets of Detroit. The Motor City. The 313. D-town. The Danger Place. The Not a Safe Place at All. What happened on that block in that city next to yours which looked in so many ways so similar to your own? A grotesquerie of grocery stores and baseball parks and fast food drive-thrus, of prom queens and smelly teachers and summer vacations bridged the universe of my adolescence. Every day and every night I walked along this suburban slab with my saxophone held close. I wiped the sweat from my upper lip and played myself a final ballad. But this time, I play the stacato and my saxophone opens like a blinding snake jaw into a portal to another dimension.
I am transported through a Nicaraguan riptide and come up for air choking on the smells and sounds of a whole new world. I am no longer young and misunderstood. Those words mean nothing to me here. Here, I am perfectly relatable, approachable and grounded. I understand everyone and everyone understands me. In this world, I can toik loik thois and the people know what I mean. In this world, Mister Chase was my father and I am just plain Chaser. I used to feel like China Soup Wonton but here, they look at me like I’m Chase Sui Wonders.
If my old life was a Detroit gray scale, my new life is a technicolor phantasmagoria of smash cuts and flashing lights and beautiful people throwing daisies at me. At the Harvard Lampoon my best friends are fruitcakes and my worst friends are raindrops. It’s nothing but sunshine all the time. Instead of breakfast, lunch and dinner we skip straight to desert. We scoop in the sweets to the beat of the music that the band plays for us. And just as the soft serve hits the back of our throats, the first chair alto bursts out of her chair in the orchestra, illuminated like a gas-fired geyser, belting out the notes with waxing bravado.
Just like that, I am flushed down the portal from whence I came. I am transported back to the stoop and have no choice but to create a magazine about my most young and most misunderstood days. The portal teases me with nostalgic reverie of my past while keeping my feet firmly locked to the castle floors. But even as the portal of youth thrashes about on the pages that follow, I will never forget my roots. I’ll say it once. I’ll say it one thousand times.