by Abe Asher
Last fall, the Blophish had a staff of four seniors, a product no one was reading, and little hope for the future.
So those OES legends, the likes of food critic Brian Esiner, trivia savage Spencer Slovic, editor-in-chief Janine Kritschgau and someone else who will get mad at me because I forgot they were in the activity, created the Aardvark Dig.
That began the road back to glory. Now, under my and Patrick McVee’s leadership this year, the Dig has become one of the hottest activities in the school.
I find it strange that the New York Times hasn’t extended me a job offer, but whatever, I don’t hold grudges.
What you folks might not understand is that this paper doesn’t run itself. It takes a constant effort, day after day, to put out the product you see. It’s a struggle each week to get the stories in, to get them posted, and to get people to read. Here’s a look inside a week at the Aardvark Dig.
10:14 AM: I arrive to find the entire classroom empty one minute before the activity starts. So I leave too.
10:19 AM: Everyone assembles. Kara goes around the room asking for people’s story ideas, causing several writers to go into epileptic shock. Simon M. is caught crawling towards the door.
10:25 AM: A grammatically-correct, long, well-written story from Elie “Is She In This Activity Or Not?” D. comes in. No one has ever seen Elie at the Dig, but we are assured that she does exist and “Elie” is not just a pen-name for avid reader and overzealous fan Tom Handel.
10:27 AM: Having never seen a story in need of no editing before, I make the perfectly reasonable decision to ignore it and wait until tomorrow.
10:30 AM: Jack L. sends in twelve stories at once, leading to bewildered looks from a number of the writing staff, who wonder whether he’s trying to be funny or still hasn’t fully acclimated from his previous activity which was called, “Going To Starbucks.”
10:31 AM: Forgetting how to publish stories, I shelve all twelve and release them only to a select number of fans on a pay-per-view basis.
10:32 AM: Jack S. asks if I’ve published his story yet. “Ask Patrick,” I respond.
10:37 AM: Jack S. asks Patrick if he’s published his article. “Ask Abe,” he responds.
10:40 AM: Isabella W. starts cackling at a picture of the Circuit Clerk of Hinds County, Mississippi, Barbara Dunn. She is removed from the room.
10:43 AM: We all remember that the beloved Thomas P. is no longer with the activity. He resigned in disgrace after the first trimester when he was caught shoving Goldfish from the snack cart into his pockets.
10:45 AM: Bradley C. and Liam W. finally arrive, signing some famous rap song like Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Solider,” carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.
10:46 AM: The activity block ends with no stories posted.
9:56 AM: Roz’s story comes across the tape. It’s so competently done I consider deleting it forever, but decide that it’s time to get serious and publish it instead.
10:00 AM: Lewis B. files his story, it’s about skiing again. It’s always about skiing with that kid.
10:07 AM: Kara, secretly the funniest human alive, starts showing off by demonstrating that she knows every band that has ever existed.
10:10 AM: Simon M. sends in his story, leading to the entire staff having a four-minute laughing fit for no particular reason.
10:12 AM: Gabe S-R. walks in, remembers what it’s like to have fun in Activity, stays.
10:14 AM: Bradley arrives with a typewriter. “I’m old school,” he says. “Oh and my computer broke.”
10:15 AM: The first story comes in, from Jack S. It’s only 37 words and contains no punctuation. “Come on, buddy,” I say, “let’s dig in now.”
10:19 AM: Petie sends in his article, which is pretty funny. Next year, we’re going to change his name to Liam and it’ll be like Liam never left.
10:23 AM: Everyone stops what they’re doing to watch the trailer for A Few Good Men at Kara’s suggestion. Roz S-L’s head explodes, and she runs out of the room screaming, “They can kill this paper but they can’t kill me!!!!!!!”
10:26 AM: Kara asks how Liam’s article is looking. “I’ve got a nice paragraph,” he says. Whitney W. falls off her chair laughing.
10:28 AM: Bradley starts shouting crazy things like, “Tom Paine never had to work on deadline!” and “I don’t ever have to write another story, I already have the most viewed article in the history of the Dig!”
10:29 AM: Petie calls Lewis B. Sweet Lou again, leading to both Petie and myself losing six more minutes trying to figure out what St. Louis Cardinals’ 1960s left fielder Lou Brock’s nickname was.
10:34 AM: Realizing that I haven’t written anything, I begin writing this article.
10:36 AM: Brad and Petie leave to “report” on the “incident,” are not seen from again until lunch hauling sixteen Kit Kat bars behind them.
10:38 AM: Having worked far too hard today, Liam starts playing Good Will Hunting on his laptop with the volume at full blast.
10:42 AM: After spending at least seventy seconds debating what the hell happened to Minnie Driver’s career, I realize in a panic that we’ve only posted two stories the entire week with the all-school email due out at the end of the block.
10:44 AM: Even though activity doesn’t end for another six minutes, Art Ward walks in in full Akido gear and kicks everyone out of the room.
10:45 AM: I announce to the staff that the all-school email has been postponed until further notice. Everyone cheers wildly.
1:56 PM: Brad runs into Diane Herschleb trying to get away from me in the hall as I begin to demand that he sends in a story.
2:45 PM: With an eye on the future, I spend my free period recruiting new talent. So far that exclusively includes current StuCo members, but whatever.
3:23 PM: Kara fires me as editor. Patrick gets demoted back to the writing staff which mocks him for having only posted three stories all year, and the entire activity is turned over to the freshman tag-team of Annika L. and Jack M. They announce their intention to turn the Dig into an all-Arabic platform. “We feel it’s the future,” press secretary Edward P. says.
3:26 PM: We’re building for the future, Kara tells a captive audience on The View.
4:30 PM: Kara is fired. The administration turns the activity over to Ed Cecere, who says, “This has always been my dream job.”
4:51 PM: Patrick, playing it by the book, posts stories from Isabella, Elie, Jack, and Jack.
5:55 PM: Bradley sends me his story. It’s titled, HEY ABE HEY PATRICK HERES MY STORY ABOUT BREAKING THE VENDING MACHINE.
5:58 PM: It’s actually really funny. I post it.
6:12 PM: Liam sends in his story. He begins with his signature, “Gentlemen, fresh off the presses,” and it’s really funny too. I post it.
6:15 PM: Realizing that things have turned around, Deri reinstates Kara, who reinstates Patrick and I. Deri writes in blood on the Great Hall announcement screen, “WE ALL KNOW WHO REALLY RUNS THIS SCHOOL.”
8:13 PM: Instead of doing my homework, I write the all-school email. Everything is going to be great.
9:44 AM: The all-school email is sent out. We see record traffic. The Pope asks to speak with Brad, who turns him down flat.
10:34 AM: Everyone in the school requests to join the activity. We hold an emergency meeting. Kara walks in like:
11:45 AM: Whitney finally sends in her story. “Whitney, it’s too late!” I tell her.
1:34 PM: I accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
2:56 PM: Isabella turns down a lucrative offer from NBC News, who is looking for a new anchor. Patrick, meanwhile, forms a SuperPAC and starts to weigh up a run for the Presidency.
3:05 PM: Another week ends. Harrowing, but ultimately glorious.
That’s what it’s like, people. That’s what the Aardvark Dig is all about.