An Open Letter of Non-Praise
Dear Readers of the Neopian Times,
I have had enough.
Really, I am surprised no one has done this before. Am I the only one with a functional brain on this planet? Evidently so.
I am sorry this has to be said in Issue 400, but that’s the way it is. All the better, then, that more people get to read this important statement of mine:
The Neopian Times is in dire straits.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the Neopian Times. I read it every week; I eagerly anticipate its arrival each Friday. I devour the articles hungrily (intellectual hunger, mind you), the stories keenly, and the comics in much good humour. I dare say I’m quite a fan of this publication.
But I am not immune to its shortcomings. Quite the opposite, in fact—as an avid reader of the Neopian Times, I am made all the more aware of the areas it is lacking (most painfully) in. And I hope other similar-minded individuals shall, after reading this, push for the following recommendations to be taken into consideration. In fact, I have quite a few ideas in mind on how the Neopian Times can be improved—for starters, there’s the delicate matter of the Weewoos.
Ah, I am hearing your cries of outrage now. The Weewoos? What about them? Every Times follower knows they’re the finest thing since sliced rocks (candied). In a milestone issue like this, Neopians fall over themselves to heap praises upon those feathery heads. Some sing and dance; others write embellished poetry and concoct elaborate tales.
I am not one of them.
I know, I know. But wait, let me explain. The White Weewoos have done a commendable job as both mascots and deliverers of the Neopian Times, to be sure. But in this day and age, surely there must exist a better newspaper carrier than a Petpet? Again, do not misunderstand—the Weewoo is a fine Petpet, the finest of its kind. However, we must question the wisdom (not to mention sanity) of using Petpet deliverers in the first place. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to endure an unwelcome side-helping of creepy-crawlies with my morning paper because someone forgot to spray Pest-B-Gone. Not to mention the weird, windy weather anomalies that oft accompany a particularly large flock of delivery Weewoos. And let’s not forget the feathers... and... other things... left on our perfectly manicured Neohome lawns. No, the Weewoo may be cute and all that, but far too messy for my liking (and many others, I’m sure).
Instead, allow me to propose an alternative— the usage of balloons! Not only are they amazingly economical (I’ve heard that the Toy Shop shopkeeper gives discounts if you buy in bulk and if you whine a lot), they’re also exceptionally convenient and superbly handy. Most kinds come with pre-attached strings that make for easy tying to copies of the Times. No wings needed, as the balloons can float on their own! The only problem I can foresee is the maneuvering part—they can’t be controlled (as of this moment; though I’m sure our Virtupets friends are working on it!) and are prone to being caught/popped upon errant tree branches. They also can’t be sent to specific destinations, although with enough Air Faeries we might be able to bargain with the north winds a little. Then there’s the tricky matter of landing—but that should be easy to circumvent, seeing as how practiced most Neopets are at Ultimate Bullseye!
The second area of improvement I will cover is the very material the Neopian Times is printed on. With the ever-rising cost of paper and ink, it would be infinitely wise to start looking for cheaper and more feasible alternatives. A Tyrannian friend of mine suggested stone tablets—they’re durable, yes, dare I say even Kadoatie-proof?—but horribly tedious to manufacture and even more so to actually write/hammer stuff onto them. Also, if we go with Balloon Delivery, falling chunks of rock just might cause injury to those unfortunate Neopets below. Another friend residing in Shenkuu brought up the idea of bamboo strips, but those are so difficult to print upon (not to mention sharp: they aren’t exactly easy on the eyes). A Haunted Woods acquaintance wondered if perhaps tree bark was the answer, but I quickly pointed out that paper was probably made of tree bark anyway and that I didn’t quite fancy the notion of bark-picking in the Haunted Woods (I believe the Neopian Times folks would agree).
The answer, when it came, was deceptively simple (yet brilliant; much like my Balloon Delivery one). Toilet roll! Yes, that was the key. Toilet paper is so lightweight that just one balloon could lift a dozen copies of the Times printed on the stuff. Of course I acknowledge that toilet paper has its limitations as well: a careless splash of coffee could permanently damage your morning paper. (And Fyora forbid if it rains on Friday.) But think of the conveniences it could bring! After you’ve finished reading the Times, you could use the toilet paper for whatever you normally use toilet paper for (I’ll leave that up to you). Why, my idea could potentially revolutionize the printing business! I plan on contacting the various bookshops across Neopia with this proposal (most likely they will have already seen this, though!)
Which brings me to a third issue (no pun intended): the thickness of the papers. For the Neopian Times isn’t just a newspaper—it’s also a common plushie stuffing, a Sloth-splatting device, and an important component of Origami items. The quality and thickness of the Times is what allows it to perform such a multitude of functions! It is therefore of utmost importance that the average width of one copy of the Neopian Times be kept constant. I have received reports from the Games Room that the copies of the Times supplied to them can be pretty inconsistent in terms of size and mass. I suppose that in this area, toilet paper wouldn’t be such a good idea—it just doesn’t possess enough weight, sad to say. And stone tablets would be a complete disaster on all fronts: too heavy to be a fast “splat-er” and absolutely preposterous as a non-deadly Plushie stuffing. I know this all seems fairly contradictory, but I rest assured that the dear readers of the Times will exercise good judgment.
Also, I must urge the Neopian Times to consider going waterproof. Every time I visit Maraqua to go fishing, my copy of the Times always ends up a soaked, lumpy mess. Toilet paper really doesn’t seem that great anymore, huh?—but hear me out first. I have noticed something, an observation during one of my (frequent) trips to Maraqua’s kelp restaurant: that their menus never get wet. Indeed, their takeaway boxes never get wet, either. Just how they do it remains a conundrum for Lennies everywhere, but wouldn’t it be marvelous if the Neopian Times could be like that, too? It could even be a tagline: 100% washable! Now that would surely please many parents and non-parents alike.
And for Fyora’s sake, supply the Tiki Tack Man with more recent, non-ancient editions of the Neopian Times. Oh, this may sound really trivial, but I don’t care. Tombola frequenters are dreadfully tired of the same old Issue 3 (not that it isn’t a great historical artifact, of course). I propose that all Issue 3s be delegated to the National Neopian Museum, and if we don’t have a National Neopian Museum, I can always write to the Neopets Team Headquarters. I imagine they are likely to be happy to oblige!
Yes, this is pretty much it for my ideas and recommendations (for now). I assure you, dear readers, that I have the Neopian Times’ best interests at heart, and that these measures, no matter how contradictory or strange or insane they seem, are in fact logically sound and practically feasible!
I do apologize for taking up so much valuable space in Issue 400 (I realize that advertising space has been awfully limited as of late). However, I don’t suppose I can ask one last teensy favour, completely unrelated to the current 50% sale in my—?
Well, alright then. I’ll have to settle for one last, moving assurance: despite all (extremely falsified) evidence to the contrary, I have the Neopian Times’ best interests at heart (and the rest of me as well).
Yours truly, unforgettably, and un-regrettably,
Petunia P. Podswordith
Neovian Printing Press