Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the idealists of March

Ten years ago today, on March 15, 1996, I was accepted onto the staff of my high-school newspaper. Only juniors and seniors could be on the staff, and applying was a relatively rigorous process involving sample writings, peer review and signed references from three teachers. It was really exhilarating to make it, as I'd missed being on a school-paper staff for the previous two years. At that point, Brutus himself could have stabbed me and I would have happily asked, "Et tu, Brute?" (actually, that would have sucked, because I'd be dead and wouldn't have gotten to write then).

Naturally, they botched my name when they announced it over the intercom (supposedly at the behest of a friend who told the announcer girl that I would find that funny). "EYE-in..." Ha ha, right? So my reaction to the announcement was the double-edged, "Yeah! HEY!" that now accompanies most good news that I get.

After a year as staff writer, I was named co-editor-in-chief. That meant I designed the paper, proofread articles and hung out with the yearbook girls during my free period. It also meant I wrote less, and that most of my stuff that got in was space filler. I did, however, manage to write my first-ever published editorial. Yeah, it was watered down and self-censored to the point of near-incoherence; but being that you all like to laugh at other people, I'll put it here:

The original name of the column was "Not Quite News." How prophetic was that?

Each blurb (numbered here in order) says something about my evolution as a writer:

1) Some things never change, and moving from the top to entry-level again is always a tough transition. MTV references apparently never change either.

2) When creating fake pages with fake articles to learn the program, don't leave them on the same disk as the real issue going to print; something bad is liable to happen. And it did with our second issue. Over the summer, I'd made up a CD review, in which I said I had a new CD out, and proceeded to minutely critique it (complete with sample lyrics!). To top it all off, I put my friend's name on the article. Imagine my coronary when I saw it in print! I was embarrassed, everyone was confused, my friend was mad at me (even though his English teacher asked him why he couldn't write like that in class) and one of my teachers asked me for a copy of the CD. This blurb was my attempt to play it off, though I guess I shouldn't complain at having a music review of my "work" published. Lots of real bands would kill for that exposure.

Still, it could have been worse; the dummy page the publishers didn't use was an advice column that referred to all of my crushes (and enemies) by name and description.

3) Considering any of the hundreds of things I could have whaled on about our new Nazi superintendent, I chose the tamest thing. Way to sell that Fourth Estate, baby.

4) This was supposed to end, "...And I should know, because she used to clobber me in baseball games in my front yard when we were kids." But that seemed too...self-indulgent?

Speaking of self-indulgence...I'm out. Et tu?


Phillip said...

i was on my ohio high school's newspaper staff for two years, the second of which i was co-sports editor (i can't believe that either). my senior year i would have been editor-in-chief had i not been forced to move back to LA and go to comeaux, where i wan't part of the paper at all. thus was born phillip's murphy's law.

Violet said...

I was yearbook editor for two years. My senior year, we lost the results to the "Best Movie" poll and reconstructed the list based on what had come out that year. For fun, I included _Neville's Big Grey Train_, a movie that I feel duty bound to write and direct one day just so stupid rednecks from my old HS can someday say "hey-isn't that a remake?".