Bored of Estimates

Our newspaper’s weekly circulation was a closely guarded exaggeration. The circulation manager knew the number, the editorial department knew it, the advertising manager knew it. The newspaper’s circulation was about 2000 copies per week. And now you know it, too.

The pliability of the words “circulation,” “copies,” “newspaper,” and “week” was tested with every ad sales phone call. This is because if we told an advertiser the (correct) 2000-per-week number, that advertiser might have asked us to pay them for the honor of placing their ads; thus, our ad sales manager gave them a number 10 times larger. More often than not, they were told that over 20,000 pairs of eyes “saw” any given issue of the newspaper. Actually, in a laudable effort at a specificity that would grant our numbers legitimacy, they were given a figure of “21,000 readers.”
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An Angry Man

The greatest newspaper—ever!—is and was the Weekly World News. Its presence next to every grocery store checkout lane is thoroughly missed by every non-Bat Boy walking among us.

Most American boys who grew up in the 1970s and ’80s, and by most, I mean me, made this progression in our reading: from Cracked magazine, which quickly revealed itself to be a pale imitation of Mad magazine, to Mad magazine, which was brilliant but I (we) stopped looking at it around age 14, through a wasteland of our teen years and the New York Times and homework—heck, the Times and all newspapers everywhere just feel like permanent homework, don’t they? AmIRight?—to, finally, the discovery that the Weekly World News existed.

It is a three-word title and only one of those three words is true: Weekly.
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Statistics and Other Things

Our newspaper’s weekly circulation was a closely guarded exaggeration. The circulation manager knew the number, the editorial department knew it, the advertising manager knew it. The newspaper’s circulation was about 2000 copies per week. And now you know it, too.

The pliability of the words “circulation,” “copies,” “newspaper,” and “week” was tested with every ad sales phone call. This is because if we told an advertiser the (correct) 2000-per-week number, that advertiser might have asked us to pay them for the honor of placing their ads; thus, our ad sales manager gave them a number 10 times larger. More often than not, they were told that over 20,000 pairs of eyes “saw” any given issue of the newspaper. Actually, in a laudable effort at a specificity that would grant our numbers legitimacy, they were given a figure of “21,000 readers.”
Read More