In what was a really uncomfortable situation for all Megaphone staff involved, long standing humor and satire section editor Vickie Valadez was asked to leave staff position yesterday.
The unanimous decision was finally made after last week’s copy meeting. At copy meetings, editors pitch suggestions for stories to staff writers and assign them to interested writers. The assigned stories (or the majority of the non-crappy ones) are published in the upcoming issue.
Valadez’s story ideas were painfully unfunny in the weeks preceding her dismissal. “Anyone want to write an article in support of taxes?…Um, okay, how about ‘24-hour lab closes’ or something?…or something about Obama’s dog?”
Ellipses in print cannot capture the prolonged, awkward silence in the Pub that Tuesday evening, as writers avoided eye contact and looked at their watches or cell phones. Even her fellow editors were suffering due to Valadez’s deficiency of funny, also avoiding eye contact with the editor. Web editor and frequent Backpage contributor Lane Hill hid behind an issue of the Megaphone.
“It’s really sad, sort of like seeing a puppy die,” News editor Leslie Lube said. “She just isn’t funny anymore.”
Editor-in-Chief Rachel Rigdon agrees. “A lot of writers are bad at what they do, but not THIS bad. I’ve never had to fire anyone else before. I mean, we’ll take work that’s hardly legible, from barely literate writers. If you’re so bad you get fired here, then your work has to be really pretty awful.”
“It’s like getting fired from washing dishes at Chuck E. Cheese’s or something,” added soon-to-be EIC Joshua Hughes. “How does anyone manage that?”
The pathetic attempts only worsened until the final copy meeting. “Okay, okay, I got one: Somalian pirates killed 18 people. So, maybe like, they could see out of both eyes that day!! Eh? Eh?”
One could almost hear the sound of crickets in the Megaphone Pub. Sad, awkward crickets that wished they were somewhere else.
“Fine, guys. FINE. You tell me what’s funny. Hospital infections. You can get that out of nowhere…um, library fines? You know, they sometimes disappear after a while…oh, I know! Racism! Wait, no, someone told me once that wasn’t funny…”
After writers started leaving the office, an exasperated Valadez excused herself from the meeting and didn’t return.
The Megaphone staff speculated as to how Valadez lost her humor—or rather, Valadez generously speculated for them for the sake of this article. As the end of college education approaches, the rumor of the existence of some dull, dreary, jobless “real world” after college seems to be more and more substantiated. Entering the “real world” almost certainly means becoming an “adult,” and becoming an “adult” almost certainly means that she is now old, or soon about to be old. The graduating editor, now 22, is therefore clearly over the hill. There’s no light to life now, just a vast desert of mediocre options. No more landmarks to meet, graduation and first blackout and other unmentionable (i.e. sexual) goals have all been met. No laughing in order to not cry at the sad, funny things in the wolrd, because that requires some optimism. Just crying.
Might as well start building her nest egg, applying for Medicare for numerous medications and filing for social security. Oh wait! There are no jobs to make money in order to save money, Medicare is a failure and there isn’t any social security left! LOLZ!
Anyway. Being an old person, or at least an adult isn’t comical in the least, the staff decided. She must be stricken with “old,” just as the rest of the graduating seniors on staff would soon have to face. And even the rest of the staff, eventually.
But how to cure this, they wondered. Maybe these concepts of “adult” and “old” are blown out of proportion. Possibly the process of becoming an “adult” doesn’t really occur at all, or at least for most people. Sure, these people will have to pay bills and work jobs and not have as much time for partying, but do we truly “grow up?”
Brings to mind the image of parents or an old couple bickering endlessly about dinner, or who will pay for dinner, or how to appropriately fold towels.
Or, even worse, the adult that never grew up: the lone grandpa of yours that goes from job to job, with wild bouts of uncontrollable drinking in between; the older cousin that makes everyone feel guilty about any slightly inconsiderate thing they ever did to her, ever; your older sibling that, in terms of maturity, is about the same age as his child.
Or, even beyond family, those reckless few that repudiate the expectations of responsibility that comes with adulthood and do whatever they desire, regardless if they are an “active contribution to society” or “helpful in their community,” or “employed.”
Maybe the cure for regaining humor, the staff ultimately decided, is just not taking the burdens of life too seriously. These so-called “adults” certainly don’t, and they’re hilarious, whether laughing at their jokes or as the target of jokes.
At this suggestion from the staff, Valadez responded, “F*ck you guys, I’m not old.”