When I was in high school, I contributed to a student-run Underground Newspaper. It was cool, because it was SUBVERSIVE. And decidedly low-tech. All we had was a typewriter, a copy machine, and a healthy disrespect for Mr. [REDACTED], the cranky SOB who hovered over us at lunch just because of that one time when [ALSO REDACTED] completely obscured the cafeteria clock with butter pats.
That paper was the tangible beginning of my deep abiding affection for print humor. It’s just so indelibly nerdy. We need our Onions, Spys, National Lampoons, and Insert Eyerolls, because we need to speak sass to power. And feel the artificial empowerment of Sticking it to The Man.
You can imagine, therefore, how my heart leapt when my son told me he wanted to write a humorous newspaper and print it out so he could show his friends. Was I ready to encourage my son’s desire to tweak authority? Sweet Mother of Gumby, yes I was.
First, it might help that my son is currently in love with the word “Awesome.” (I kind of hate how the word has been been diluted to mean “terrific” rather than “inspiring awe.” Tax refunds are terrific, but they are not awesome. The Grand Canyon is awesome. But I digress.) So he has created a community called Fort Awesome, whose currency is “awesomes.”
The other afternoon, he sat the computer and began writing articles for “The Fort Awesome Briefings.” The article to the left is about the “R-Phone,” which has sold 200,000,000 million billion units because — get this — the touchscreen has a Braille setting that makes the nubs materialize from its surface. (Get on that, iPhone 5.)
Then he wrote a lead story about a nuclear explosion at a ketchup factory. A cheerful conflation of his two favorite things.
After he had written everything, I spelunked around in the back of my brain for the part that remembers how to format stuff in Word to look like a newspaper. I used to do this for my college paper, back when you had to print out everything with corrosive, rancid-smelling chemicals. I therefore welcome digital publishing as a way not to smell like you’ve just been embalmed.
I futzed around with the the layout, with the boy as a backseat formatter, until we had something that looked pretty cool. Then we printed out a few copies, and bam. He was a publisher:
This is the last of three posts sponsored by Canon, which sent me a brand new PIXMA printer. I’m very excited to use it to help cultivate my son’s completely warped sense of humor.