The middle school magazine drive ends tomorrow, and I have so far successfully managed to hide the forms from my order-happy husband. It’s not that I have anything against school fundraisers–well, wait a minute; that’s not true. I despise school fundraisers. What I mean to say is that I have nothing against helping the public schools in any way possible, as long as it does not involve attending a silent auction or buying 10 tubs of cookie dough. (I rather enjoy the gift wrap drive, though at this point we have enough to last 250 years.) Personally, I would prefer to write a big, fat check to the PTO at the start of the year, and be done with the whole thing.
But I am especially leery of the magazine drive because we are already drowning in magazines. We like magazines. My husband and I met and fell in love at Newsweek, where he edited my stories. (I figured anyone who could be so kind and gentle in tearing apart my copy would probably make a good husband, and father. I was right.) Still, enough is enough. As it turns out, my husband, who you may know as Mr. 70 Percent for his average completion rate on household tasks, scores a whopping 2,000 percent when it comes to ordering magazines. (His actual magazine reading rate is a bit lower, hovering around 12 percent.) In fact, judging from the piles stacked around our house, you’d never know there’s been a digital revolution. These are some of the magazines we presently receive:
That’s in addition to such standbys as The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Atlantic, People, Entertainment Weekly, Wired, Fast Company, Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, Bon Appetit,Wine Spectator, Business Week, Fortune, Boston and New York. I’m sure I’m forgetting 10 or 20. (We also still receive Newsweek, but we’ve agreed to let that one lapse.)
By hiding the catalogue, I figured, I heroically saved us from being inundated with such must-read titles as Good Old Days (“America’s favorite–warm thoughts of happy days gone by!”), Military Heritage (“The ultimate history of armed conflict, exquisitely illustrated”), Farm Show (“New products & ‘made-it-myself’ farm inventions”) Predator Xtreme (“The authority in predator hunting. Bonus: Knight & Hale Lead Dog Call”), and the cryptic Tiny Titans (“All your favorite Titans, in their cutest possible form are here & waiting for you”).
But I forgot to take into account one important factor: he’s quite capable of ordering new magazines even without the middle school fundraiser. As I was navigating the piles of reading material and dirty socks on our bathroom floor the other day, I noticed an unfamiliar title sticking out: Garden & Gun (“A celebration of Southern lifestyle at its best,” according to the fundraising catalogue). I actually laughed out loud; we live in Massachusetts, for God’s sake. It felt like a Saturday Night Live spoof: could any two things have less in common? Running & Donuts, maybe, or Butterflies & Torture, as my friend Annie suggested? The ampersand is essential.