Iâ€™m a magazine junkie. My first Vogue subscription was right up there with getting my driverâ€™s license. Technically, I even have a degree in magazine journalism. That wasnâ€™t too hard to do, as you might imagine. I know a magzine is called a book, and the area with the stories is called a well. But other than that, the curriculum did not live up to my expectations. I dreamed of prancing around in sky-high stilettos, nabbing emu muffs from the freebie closet, maybe fetching Anna Wintour or Liz Tilberis some passion fruit tea. Or infant blood. I would toss off opinions on the bag of the season, foment Halston revivals, and take to hurdling over fire hydrants to escape Bill Cunningham constantly photographing me.
But then I realized that a) I kept having to take crappy newswriting classes to fulfill core requirements, and b) I would make about $25k starting out on staff on a fashion mag. And I wasnâ€™t already independently wealthy enough to afford the requisite wardrobe and the crappy NY studio at a good address. And I got so fed up with the newswriting classes that I just wanted to start making shit up. Itâ€™s not like I invented a heroin-addicted tot and started a national outcry, but I nearly had one professor convinced that street luging was Boston’s underground sport of choice. Then I had one whole class on how to “Boston Herald-ize” a headline. A reputable paper says “Nightclub fire kills 90?” The Boston Herald says “DEATHTRAP!” This was not what I wanted to do in life. And I only had a semester left to get my degree! If I had it to do over again, I would have picked a different program at a different school. Seventeen-year-olds should not be allowed to make momentous decisions that will eventually cost them much aggravation, not to mention a hundred grand.
Since I was clearly no good at creative non-fiction unless I was making it up, I gave up on writing for a living and went for the cheap, easy loot of web development. Ah, the late 90â€™s! Hell, back then I could afford the clothes. Nowadays I still buy all the magazines. Not Glamour, not Cosmo, not In Style. Lucky? Doesnâ€™t turn my crank. Just the ones with really inaccessible fashion layouts. I have piles and piles littering my apartment. This morning I was flipping through Elle, and I ran across this bang-up piece on Matt Dillon, by Rachael Combe. Basically she lured Mr. Dillon back to her apartment and cooked up dinner on the pretext of interviewing him. Then she let the steak catch fire! He had to wield an extinguisher!
Now Iâ€™m cradling my head in my hands and thinking â€œOh, Iâ€™ve wasted my lifeâ€ (using the voice of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons). If only I had known that the secret to journalism was putting celebrities in peril. To think that I could be luring a drunken David Bowie to my rooftop plunge pool right now! I could be scattering ball bearings in the foyer to welcome Ashton Kutcher or Adrian Brody. Think Misery. Think shoving Christopher Walken from a ski gondola. Am I ever on the wrong track….
Câ€™est la vie.