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"Fear and Loathing in Room 1510: A Savage Journey to the Heart"

(Published May 9, 1997)

Many people who receive this publication ask me, "Willie, why can't you use a stickier paper to print The Scarlet Letter on?" They ask me this because these people have taken to soaking each issue in milk, wadding it up in a ball, and throwing it at one of Athens' upper-level windows in the hopes that it will adhere itself and be regarded as an avant-garde papier-mâché masterpiece.

However, there is a small, doughy subset of people that actually reads-or at least skims-our humble little periodical. These people often send me e-mails reading, "Sugar Daddy [as I'm known in some circles], this is a pretty dang adequate li'l student newspaper you've got going here. What exactly goes into the publication of one of these here Scarlett Letters [sic]?"

Well, I, for one, am glad you asked, and I hope I can elucidate some things for you. About a week before each issue's publication, we have a Design Week in which the entire staff (in theory) stays after school for a few hours to help slap this journalistic tome together and to take cheap verbal shots at each other until the contents of our respective spleens have glazed every surface in the room. During the Design Week for this issue, I kept a journal, as any good journalist would do if he or she was John Doe from Seven.

I would now like to present it to you, to show you what it's like to be "in the trenches." I'm talking to you, Mr. Fireman! But anyway, here, without any further falderal, is Fear and Loathing in Room 1510: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the Scarlet Letter:

April 28, 1997: First day of late night week for May issue. Everyone is being remarkably civil to each other, even if Crawford did have a long, noisy tiff with Jim about the controversial nature of the editorial in which he states that the International Club "reeks of Big Brother" and "is a smokescreen created by the administration, designed to distract us from our rights being whittled away like so many cinnamon sticks."

We ordered dinner from some pasta place, and the delivery boy insisted on being paid in backrubs, which I thought was a trifle unusual. We almost have the feature pages completely done, so we're off to a corking good start.

April 29, 1997: Tensions running sort of high today. Andrea told me I have to remove 900 words from my album review, and she got all unreasonable when I suggested we make room for my wonderful words by omitting that stupid box with all of our names and our editorial policy. I wound up doing as she asked, despite the fact that it robbed the story of its essence.

Jim wants me to remove the rest of the words to make room for a factoid box. Tim showed up today, I think. Laura and Kristen didn't get anything done again today because they were busy arguing about whether their sports injuries article should be titled "Athletes Take Nasty Spills" or "Nasty Spills for Athletes." We should have the feature pages done tomorrow, though, so that's good anyway.

April 30, 1997: Everyone attempted to pull out someone else's jugular vein today, except Steve: someone had the foresight to bring in a set of Mexican jumping beans, so he stared at those for a good seven hours, silent except for the occasional cryptic cheer, "You can do it!" Kevin angered Rachanee by inserting the phrase "so there" into all of her stories at the end of every sentence. Jen spat at me when I tried to look over her shoulder to see what she was typing on her PowerBook (she was typing, "All work and no play makes Jenny a dull gal" over and over for some reason), and then Jim threw an X-Acto knife at my head because I refused to turn off "that weird Beck music."

Wasn't a good day for me. We pasted the feature pages, but we had to tear them all off again because we forgot to include headlines on the stories.

May 1, 1997: Something about this room seems to make us very silly. The yearbook staff left us a nasty note this morning, saying that they have to use this room too, so would we please not use their materials to soak the liquid up off the floor following our "cola fights." We all sat around for three hours, trying to think up a caption for Angela's story, before we finally got really slaphappy and sick of thinking and just wrote, "COBOCOBOCOBO!" Crawford didn't notice that because she, Will, and Mike were out in the hallway, racing around in rolling chairs. We finally finished the feature pages, though! Only 14 more pages to go!

May 2, 1997: I called in sick today. I'll assume everything got finished on time.


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