A column I tried to pitch to the Charleston Gazette-Mail

For the last part of 2017 and first half of 2018, I was writing a blog for the Charleston Gazette-Mail called “30-Something.” It spawned from an idea I had to help give that young adult, 20- and 30-something audience a voice. I was reading the editorial page of the newspaper, and I realized that it didn’t speak to me. Check out the first blog post back in Nov. 2017 for more information on why I started it. And, then check out this March 2018 post from my old Chris Slater dot blogpost dot com site to explain why getting “30-Something” started was harder than I expected.

Short story: I don’t write it anymore. It didn’t seem to have the support of higher-ups, so I didn’t want to exert myself over it. In fact, I stopped writing it without warning, and nobody ever asked why.

Around this time, I made a pitch to the A&E section of the newspaper to get the blog turned into an actual newspaper column. There was an interest, but not enough space in the paper. Weeks later, I had a meeting with the A&E Editor and she told me that she was preparing to have a meeting with higher-ups about creating a new, online only section of the paper that would focus on young adults. She thought I would be a good centerpiece for that. “Send me a couple things,” she said.

I sent in three things — a piece about feminism I had written for the blog and had never posted, a new piece about mental health that was similar in vein to “30-Something” content, and the final piece was my new idea for a “30-Something” meets “Dear Abby” advice column.

I emailed them to the editor and asked her if she had seen them. “Oh, they said no to the new section,” she said. “We’re not doing that anymore.”

So, I’ve had this random Q&A column sitting around my archives for a while now. I’ll post it here and let everybody see it. I made up all of the questions and names of the people. I figured I would use the fake questions for the first couple, then people would eventually start sending them in.

The unnamed Q&A column is below:

elcome to the latest edition of [name of column], your home to the answers that you’ve always been wondering about. This week, we’re taking a look at everything from the important — like monogamy and long-term relationships, to the mundane — a ranking of the Kardashian sisters. And, everything in between. Kick your shoes off, crack open a beverage of an imbibing nature, and settle into a comfortable chair. It’s time to get this started.

Mayonnaise: yay or nay? — Bryan

For years, I considered myself to be a picky eater. Then, one day I realized that I was just a confused eater. I didn’t like mayo for nearly 25 years because of an experience when I was 5. My mom handed me a sandwich, I bit into it, and felt a weird, squishy sensation in my mouth. I had never tried mayonnaise before, and I wasn’t expecting it. So, I decided I didn’t like it. Turns out, what I didn’t like was the unexpected. Mayo is a key component of several dishes, and a lot of people probably don’t even realize it. Do you like ranch dressing? If so, you like mayo mixed with buttermilk and spices.

Every day, it seems like there’s some new scandal involving Trump. How can I watch the news and stay sane? — Lindsay

Well, we all have different definitions of “stay sane.” For me, I avoid all cable news. There’s no Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc in my life. I’ve found that helps a lot for me. I don’t need analysis of the news; I can read USA Today, the New York Times, or the Washington Post and reach my own conclusions. Just because somebody has a voice, it doesn’t mean you need to listen to them. But, please keep listening to me.

How do I pick the perfect college for my career choice? — Jenny

I’m going to fill you in on a little secret. College is the biggest scam that I’ve ever seen in my life. It just seems so absurd that we have to attend what is basically high school all over again, just so we can get a piece of paper saying that we’ve learned some skills. If you want to be a lawyer, why can’t you just go straight to law school? Why do you need to take biology 101? If you want to be a doctor, why can’t you go straight to medical school? Why do you have to read Homer? But, the world as we know it today is built upon this scam, so you have to be a part of it. Find a place that seems cool, has weather you can stomach, a degree program that you can see yourself enjoying, and go experiment with alcohol and sex.

What are some good tips to get in shape and lose weight? — Justin

I’m the wrong guy to ask. Earlier this summer, I decided I was going to do something about the battle of the bulge I’ve been losing. I took a “before” picture — showing me standing shirtless in front of a full-length mirror, hair pulled tightly into a man-bun, staring forlornly at my paunch. It wasn’t enough to motivate me. I jogged and ate better for about two weeks before I got lazy and went back to my life of debauchery. If I had to muster any advice, it would be to do the opposite of me and actually have the commitment and willpower to see your weight-loss journey to the end.

Monogamy. Being with one person and settling down. Is it worth it? — Mary

Yes and no. I’ve seen way too many people get into a relationship just because they don’t want to be alone. Even worse, they get into a serious relationship, and even married, because society deems they need to. The worst reason to do anything is because it’s just the way things have been. I’ve gone through periods of my life where I liked one person and was mutually exclusive with that person. At one point a couple years ago, I was juggling six different women at the same time because I didn’t feel that sort of bond with any of them.

Rank the Kardashian sisters. — Michael

Kim is number one. All the others are tied for number two. I’ve never watched an episode of their reality show. But, I was a big fan of Kim’s earlier work, and that puts her at the top for me.

The anonymous NYT piece about Trump, brilliant or petty?

Neither. It’s scary. It’s scary that this is our reality, that cabinet members need to work around an incompetent billionaire so that we don’t get thrown into World War 3. I don’t consider it petty at all. Speaking of, the pettiest thing I (almost) did: January 2017, I was looking to leave my small-town Virginia newspaper and move somewhere else. I eventually got hired here at the Gazette-Mail, but I did apply to several different places. Six months after I started, I got an email from one of the papers I applied to apologizing for waiting so long to get back to me and asked if I was still interested. I planned to wait six months and then reply. But, a month later I was cleaning out my inbox and decided to be the bigger man and delete the email.

That’s it for the ol’ mail bag this week. Thanks for sending in your questions and I hope to hear from the rest of you soon enough. You can get in touch with me by email, chris.slater@wvgazettemail.com, hitting me up on Facebook or Twitter, or swipe right on Tinder if you see me there.

Journalist. Published locally and globally.