Our most observant readers detected that last week’s issue of the Local was dated September 9 instead of September 8.
Our most observant readers detected that last week’s issue of the Local was dated September 9 instead of September 8. The Local was delivered as per usual. It was not delayed in publishing. Nor did we change the publication date.
Those who discovered what they thought to be a careless error on our part, and those who were oblivious to the whole, what we are now calling “Dategate,” will be surprised to learn the real story behind the advanced calendar date atop all of the pages of last week’s newspaper.
It is the nature of news organizations to compete against each other in chasing stories and to be the first outlet to report a breaking news item, sometimes at the expense of accuracy or even reality. We at the Local are no different in our quest to be first. That is why we developed a brand-new technology that when perfected will allow us to create a small tear in the space-time continuum just wide enough for a journalist to slip through, gather tomorrow’s news, and get back in time to meet our press deadlines.
As the developer of this ground-breaking news gathering tool, I felt it was my responsibility to test this astonishing innovation before sending innocent staffers into the breach. I mean, good journalists are hard to find. But you can’t walk into a tavern mid-afternoon of any day without finding two or three solemn publishers downing a few pints at the bar.
So, armed with a notepad and an umbrella (the 10-day forecast said no rain, but you can’t trust that), I slipped into the uncharted chasm to take a look around. As I first stuck my head through the gap, time was rushing by like a gale force wind. It mussed my hair quite a bit. I slid my torso through and the whoosh caught and unfurled my umbrella, pulling me all the way in and carrying me through the air like one of the dismissed nanny candidates in “Mary Poppins.”
I jumped a few months ahead, then a few months back, then several years on and then back again. It was all quite dizzying. Fortunately, I had tethered my belt to my heavy, Korean War-era metal desk in my office and was able to pull myself back along the space-time continuum and through the perforation to what we time travelers call “Eastern Daylight Savings Time.”
Once back at my desk, I checked the notes I had managed to scribble down during the odyssey. (I know what you are thinking . . . how can you hold an umbrella in one hand and a notepad in another and still be able to jot down what you saw? I can only say that if that is the part of this story you are having trouble accepting, then my answer is, I held the pen in my mouth.)
I didn’t put down much and what I did write was hard to read, as would be expected, what with having written it with a pen suspended between my upper and lower clenched teeth. It would be irresponsible to tell you everything I saw in the future, but here is what I can tell you . . .
I will need to tweak my invention a bit before we use it to bring you the latest news before it happens. But I thought I owed our readers an explanation for why the wrong date was on last week’s paper. I could have just told you that it was simply human error and that none of us caught the mistake despite several of us reviewing a first and second proof. But, that seemed a little far-fetched to me.