BY ED CULLEN
Advocate staff writer
I quit subscribing to magazines because I could no longer bear looking at the stacks of unread Esquires, Outsides, The New Yorkers, The Atlantics and the news magazines.
The news magazines were the first to go. I was already a week behind the world when Time and Newsweek plopped into the porch mailbox.
Reading Time and Newsweek, I saw their reporters and editors chained, first, to treadmills and, then, to NordicTracks.
I try to use the latest exercise machines in my daydreams.
“Faster, faster,” the Big Editor yelled through a rowing captain’s mini-megaphone. And the writers wrote faster and faster, but even if they’d been loaded into jet airplanes and worked feverishly as the planes flew west to gain time they couldn’t make the latest atrocity start over.
The New Yorker’s “Talk” section was easier for me to read. A stroll through Central Park last week was much like the one I took a few years ago.
“Where do you want to go in Central Park?” a friend had asked.
“I want to go to the pond were Stuart Little raced his sailboat against the boat of the bully,” I said.
My friend sensed how disappointed I was when we got to the pond and not only was there no Stuart but no sailboats, not a single one.
To make matters worse, there was a little concession where one might rent a toy sailboat, but we’d missed business hours.
Outside magazine began appearing at my house a few months ago. I don’t know why, unless it came free with a bicycle I bought from a catalog company.
Once, I read adventure magazines and felt crummy because I knew I wasn’t about to mountain bike off a cliff in Colorado or shoot the rapids in a kayak or stare down a grizzly just so I could write, “I Stared Down a Grizzly to Write a 1,200-word Story for Money.”
Adventure magazines remind me that I probably will not see Antarctica or the Serengeti, maybe not even Seattle.
When I did go someplace I’d seen in Outside, it was hard for me to relax after a hike or enjoy cooking over an open fire. Everything is so much MORE in the adventure magazines.
Outside had told me there was a ghost town high on the lovely mountain that shaded my camp in Colorado. But I had to ride to the ghost town on a mountain bike loaded with great gear that cost a fortune and weighed 14 ounces — total (bicycle, tent, sleeping bag, water, food and either grizzly repellent or grizzly attractant depending on the freelance story I meant to write).
It was no use trying to copy adventures using the outdated, heavy, mildewed gear that had served me well in pickup truck camping days.
Nope. It was easier to stop reading the magazine.
I am a fan of good writing. Period. As long as I can hold the writing in my hands. That means I’ll probably subscribe to magazines again, if there are any left that don’t require passwords.