By Nick Johnston A Famous Hoya Columnist

I already know that no one is going to read this. You know why? Spring break starts right now. This very instant. All of you should be on planes flying to Cancun or Europe or the Caribbean. You know where I am right now? I’m in an SUV somewhere in North Carolina on my way to the Florida Keys. I sure as hell am not going to read this. I left last night. What are you doing here? Why are you wasting your time with this? No one else is bothering. I know that for a fact. And you know how I know?

My editors told me so.

A week or so ago I happened, through no fault of my own, to sit in on portions of a Hoya General Board meeting. They talked about normal stupid stuff – like ad deadlines and board elections (I lost, by the way), and I only marginally paid attention. The slimy underbelly of a newspaper, I decided, is no place for Famous Columnists. It was not until the subject turned to their printing schedule that I expressed any sort of interest. For you see, Hoya editors didn’t want to print an issue this Friday. My Friday. They were trying to take away my column. Intently, I listened to their debate.

Some wise staffer had apparently figured out that Spring Break – as I have already intrepidly reported – starts today, Friday the fifth. Subsequently, all of you would be off campus, running through airports, cruising down interstates or getting involved in some sort of vacation activity that would preclude reading The Hoya. Those of you who have Friday classes, it was assumed, would skip them and leave town.

Confronted with the prospect of an empty campus, Hoya editors were suddenly faced with the even more dangerous prospect of an un-read issue. “No one is going to read that Friday paper at all,” I’m sure someone must have said (I wasn’t exactly taking notes). And everyone nodded seriously to themselves as editors often do. The question arose: “Should we not publish an issue on Friday?” More serious nodding.

Of course, journalism isn’t some kind of joke operation. You can’t just cancel an issue. Or, well, yes you can, but you better damn well have another issue to replace it. So other dates were suggested. My intrepid editor-in-chief, Karen Travers (COL ’00) – whom I deeply respect and who’s hard work I sincerely appreciate – rattled off a list of dates where a substitute Hoya could be run. A Tuesday before Easter here, a Friday after the resurrection there or maybe some day in May near graduation. All of them were quickly shot down. Maybe the ad kids were whining about getting more sales, or maybe the Guide kids couldn’t figure out how to format the calendar. Regardless of who’s fault it was – for I am not here to spread blame – each and every substitute date was rejected.

No compromise could be reached.

So the board found itself back at square one, pondering whether to actually print an issue, this issue, that no one was going to read. Someone in advertising raised his hand and spoke eloquently on having already secured advertising for the issue. He was worried about what to do if the issue was canceled. Return the money? Run the ads in a different issue? Offer discounts? He didn’t know. But he was quite sure that if the date was changed, he would be yelled at. No one likes being yelled at. He was in favor of the issue that no one would read.

Discussion petered out. A few more complaints were heard from news editors who didn’t want to work on the Thursday night before Spring Break, but news editors are a weak bunch who probably complain about working on any Thursday night. Accordingly they were ignored. Karen, my fearless editor-in-chief, called for a vote and by a sound margin of victory the board decided to boldly go forth with the issue that no one would ever read. You happen to be holding that issue in your hands right now and you are, defying general board assumptions, reading it.

I, however, prefer to see you as an anomaly. I was at the meeting, and I know full well that there is no one on campus right now. There is no one to read this Hoya, no one to care at all. That’s fine by me though, for the self-aggrandizing nature of my column is easily satisfied in the mere act of having to write it. Having students read it is just a happy by-product, one which I guess I’ll just go without this week.

So since no one is going to read this, it doesn’t really matter what I write. That made doing this a whole lot easier.

A Famous Hoya Columnist appears Fridays in The Hoya.

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