Sunday, July 13, 2008

Journalistic Integrity

Fourth grade. For me, it was 1987–1988. I was twice scandalized by George Michael: first, with all the butt wiggling (I had never before realized that the rear end could be a desirable body part), then with the song that had the word "sex" (!!!) in the title. (Which I LOVED, being that I was a very sensual 10-year-old. Or that songs with the word "sex" in the title made me giggle. Okay, maybe they still do.) Fourth grade was also the year I was given the World's Most Unfortunate Haircut, which was spawned at the Best Cuts at the mall and involved thick bangs that looked as if they were trying to fly away from my face. (I finally managed to grow out the Bangs of Satan by ninth grade, but the whole thing was so traumatic that I don't think I can ever have bangs again.)

And of course, I wrote a bunch more stories of debatable quality, starting with this one, which was written for school and is dated September 14, 1987:

The New Newspaper Writer

"Mom, mom, guess what?" called Teresa "I'm the new newspaper writer. Isn't that great? Mom . . . . . "
"Rese, is that you, honey? I'm in the attic. Congratulations."
[Why is she in the attic? What's she doing up there? It will forever remain a mystery.]
"Thanks, mom. I'm gonna work on a story right now."
Teresa ran to her room and started writing.

Teresa's articles are all written in cursive, while the rest of the story is printed, so I think this means I have to use a "newspaper" font.

'Say Farewell To Our Beloved Slide'
by Teresa Lanes
The slide that stands high and tall in the playground will be no more. The slide has proved to be dangerous and unsafe. All next week construction will be taking place. The slide will be torn down and hopefully they will build us another slide.

This was a page torn from real life. Except they never built us a new slide. Jerks.

Then she typed it.
The next day it was in the school paper.
[That's some turnaround!]
"Teresa, great story!" exclaimed Mandy, her best friend.

Holy CRAP! Teresa and Mandy??? Could these be our old friends forever?! (Or was I just too lazy to come up with different names for my characters?) Can we just say it's them? I'd like to believe that Teresa came out of her terrible illness with a carpe diem attitude that led her to discover a passion for journalism.

Just then the bullies walked by, Mona, Ted, Liza, and Barry.
"Great story!" snorted Mona, copying Mandy.
"Our beloved slide!" grunted Ted.
"What a baby!" cried Liza.
"Tell us something we don't know!" said Barry.

Okay, the slide thing probably isn't breaking news, but what is in fourth grade? However, the bully names are kind of awesome. Barry, I'm looking at you.

"They have no respect!" And Mandy was right.

This was, if you'll remember, the era of Rodney Dangerfield.

They next day a pair of twins appeared in the 5th grade. Boys.
What a great story! Teresa wrote:

'Twins New To School'
by Teresa Lanes
Maybe you've seen them around. If you have not-look. I'm talking about the new twins who paraded in yesterday.
[Paraded? Teresa kind of has a flair for the dramatic, doesn't she? I guess we should have seen it coming, what with the fainting spells and all.] Dave and Brett may look the same but they are quite different, as the boys say. Basketball, baseball. Red, green.

What kind of ending is that? I hate to say it, guys, but Teresa is getting sloppy.

The next day people really noticed the twins. Teresa felt proud.

Their newspaper gets published EVERY DAY? That's some serious business for an elementary school.

But when she got her paper back she felt sick. She only got 2 answers right.
She quit the newspaper comitee.

Whoa! That came out of NOWHERE!

"Hey, guess what?" asked Mandy.
"I'm the new newspaper writer!"
"Oh, gosh!" said Teresa.
[Cue the drum roll, please.]


Wow, what a back-ass-ward moral! She really seemed to enjoy being the new newspaper writer, didn't she? And it's not like those articles were incredibly lengthy and time-consuming. Does anyone know the Latin for "let the day totally pass you by"?

My teacher's comment, however? "Very nice." With a smiley face.

In other news, someone was led to this blog by Googling "does mary lou retton smoke." My guess is NO (not only is she an athlete, she just seems too perky to be a smoker), but I hope he or she enjoyed Gymnastics Camp! Or learned a valuable lesson from "Cynthia's Friend."

NEXT TIME: The McCormick Girls, a novel about four sisters who have nothing in common but each other—and a tendency toward excessive eye makeup.


zanne said...

This is my favorite story so far! I noticed that the characters had the same names as the girls from your other story. I thought that maybe you just really liked those names when you were younger. I have always hated my name (Suzanne), ever since I was little, so the characters in my stories all had names that I liked.

I never wrote for the school newspaper in high school or college, and yet ended up in journalism somehow. I wonder if my elementary school had a paper? I thought this was a cute story. :) Too bad she had to quit though! I didn't see that coming!

Anonymous said...

I never wrote short stories when I was younger. They all *had* to be the length of an adult novel ... at least in my mind.

I wrote on my high school newspaper staff, and we only printed ours once a month. That's one impressive elementary school.

BadKat said...

My second favorite line in any song ever is from “I Want Your Sex”. I am still convinced that one of these days George Michael will come to my house, and fall madly in love with me. Or at least sing me a rendition of “Wake Me Up”. I might even settle for Andrew Ridgeley if he frosted his hair like George used to.

Twins must be super rare in Teresa’s world. They seem to have the appeal of a side-show freak.

Loved this one!! I give you a smile face :) Can't wait for the next one, I love eye makeup!

Kylie said...

Loving it! :D

Sada said...

Obviously we didn't have a paper either, or I would have realized how infrequently an elementary school paper is published. But that would have thrown a wrench in my intricately crafted plot!

gollygee said...

Barry rules. :D