A Smallish Link Dump: Why Couldn’t I Work at a Good Magazine?

A couple of interesting things I’ve seen online in the past little while, and that I’d love to share a few comments on:

Via Running Lonely, an amusing, though imaginary, tour of the offices of Runner’s World. Why is that interesting? Well, my first reaction was to bitterly, snarkily comment about my experiences in the world of magazine journalism, which included stints for a company that produced the best-named magazine ever (Bovine Veterinarian, although that wasn’t the title I worked for, although Pork—another title published by the company that I also didn’t work on—might have given it a run for its money if they had ever taken my advice and spelled it with an exclamation point at the end), the metalworking magazine where we once had to have a meeting about whether we were going to spell “Korea” with a “C” (no, we hadn’t mentioned either Korea ever), and the library magazine where I got to spend seven years in a closet, win perpetual salary freezes, and get screamed at a *lot* for things that I wound up being in the general vicinity of.

But then people who said they have actually been to the offices of Runner’s World (including people who claim to work there) commented, and say that it is actually really nice. Which makes me all grumblegrumblegrumble. Although they probably deserve it. I mean, Runner’s World is part of Rodale, which made Men’s Health, which is arguably the most important magazine launch of the 1980s. (Not actually a joke; Men’s Health showed that the Cosmo formula of “you’re not good-looking enough/here’s how to get laid” would work on men too.) If they can sell that, then (by the current rules of society, at least) they deserve nice things.

In something a bit darker, Dirt in Your Skirt comments about the danger that enjoying obstacle course racing can become an obsession.

OCR, I guess, is the second hobby that I’ve had that has attracted that kind of obsession. My first—well, you should be able to guess. Live in Chicago, thinks he’s funnier than he is… yes, I was into improv comedy for about 10 years.

There was a not-unheard of phenomenon: some kid, invariably 22, would take a class, get bitten by the bug, and then start taking every class possible (namely, Second City, iO, Annoyance, and possibly ComedySportz as well), and going to a show on every night that they weren’t in class. They’d, well, make an impression with their enthusiasm, and their naive little dreams, and within a year no one would ever see them again because they’d burnt out on not being famous.

The lesson to take from that isn’t really shocking: It’s important to live beyond what you live for. Walk in the park, go to a museum, laugh at people who play golf, go to an improv show—just maybe take a weekend off of OCR once in a while.

(Don’t really go to an improv show. You have better ways to spend your time.)


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