As an aspiring journalist, I’m always on the look out for a good story. Unfortunately, Caity Weaver of Gawker beat me to the best story of all time and one of the finest pieces of journalism I’ve ever read, “My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday’s Endless Appetizers.” In the article, Weaver claims that she got the entire week of work off after eating 32 mozzarella sticks and spending fourteen hours in a TGI Fridays, per conditions from her editor. That got me thinking: how can I harness my amazing powers of reaction and doing-things skills to jumpstart my journalism career? I investigated…
Please, Pay Me
To Eat Stuff: I could definitely attempt to eat 35 tacos in one day like the guys over at Buzzfeed, or the pot candy bar that convinced this NYT’s columnist that she was freaking dead. One thing I will never, ever consume, no matter how much you paid me: the fatal amount of sugar-free gummy bears (yeah, those ones) that a brave Vice reporter ate, all in the name of honest reporting.
To Spend All My Time On My Phone or Computer: I am willing to explore the terrible depths of Tinder like (the very married) Joel Stein and his wife did for TIME Magazine. I’d also be cool with getting hacked because I don’t make enough money to steal (but maybe that will change after the jumpstart of my amazing investigative journalism career?!?). I also remember reading an article about a Chicago Tribune writer who watched all his TV online for thirty days, but I already do that anyway, so I don’t think I could honestly call it a challenge.
To Do Drugs: Aside from our edible-eating friend above, journalists have made major bank with dope: smoking it, like Michael Pollan and Nicky Taylor of BBC; buying it, like the guys at Forbes (who got caught); and (I feel this deserves a category all its own) indulging with the president of Uruguay. I don’t even want to know what went down when Tom Wolfe wrote “The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test” (but apparently a bunch of other journalists did). Disclaimer: will not negotiate with cartels.
To Visit Scary Places: Examples include, but are not limited to: the Illinois State Fair (I do hail from Chicago, after all), The Creation Museum (it is exactly what you think it is, Noah’s Ark and dinosaurs), and North Korea. I’d also be cool with doing generally stupid things in stupid places, such as trying to reason with drunk Manchester United fans like Bill Bufford, or driving an RV to a Christian rock festival like John Jeremiah Sullivan. Basically, I would really like to work for Harper’s, GQ, or VICE, as their editors seem batsh*t crazy for making their writers do things that other people would literally pay for.
There are a million and ten ways to pimp myself out as an online-writing guinea pig. However, some challenges have yet to be met: visiting the top creepiest roadside attractions (and I’m talking about the ones you’ve never heard of because no one has ever come back alive); taste testing the difference between water directly from fresh springs and their bottled equivalents; or, and this one is truly my favorite, see if I can find literally anyone who has put Burt’s Bees on their eyeballs, which is the latest and greatest of dangerous teen fads.
Here’s to hoping I get hired (and not fired) due to this post!