Happy Issue 518!
NEWSFLASH: The Neopian Times is lying to you. Now hold on, put down those pitchforks and torches for one moment and allow me to explain myself. When I say they’re lying to you, what I really mean is they’re misleading you.
Gee, you guys sure are anxious to use the pitchforks and torches, huh? Just relax for a second and I’ll tell you everything.
All settled? Good.
Now then – as an intrepid reporter, I have witnessed firsthand these past couple of weeks the frenzy that the writers and artists of Neopia have created for themselves. They have pushed themselves to find the perfect plots and punch lines for their entries into the prestigious 450th issue of the Neopian Times, “Neopia’s preeminent newsmagazine.” (Though the advertisers who constantly push this ad campaign never seem to mention it’s Neopia’s only newspaper, for some reason.)
These artists and authors, world-class storytellers, work tirelessly for days to put together their best work to be considered for this, the most honored of occasions in the realm of Neopian writing. Much like the tight competition of a 100th anniversary contest of Storytelling in the Deep Catacombs, or the pride of being selected for a 100th Poetry Gallery, the 50th and 100th anniversary issues of the Neopian Times are reserved for the crème de la crème.
But you know what? The importance of these anniversaries is equal to all the zeroes in their issue number. They simply don’t matter.
I hear you spitting out your coffee as you read this: “Why do you say that?” you collectively ask. (Some of you are surely saying, “How did this doofus even get published?” To that I reply, “Look who’s talking! Who just spit coffee out all over themselves?” but that is beside the point.)
So why do I claim these issues have no importance? Because they’re not actually anniversary issues.
I about blew your mind just then, didn’t I? Let me explain.
You see, years and years ago, before any of us were born – in 2004 – The Neopian Times underwent a major change. A little nip here, a little tuck there, and the newspaper was redesigned completely, right down to the color of ink used on the pages. (One can only assume that they were having a sale on blue ink that week, and thus the color scheme we have all become accustomed to was born.) This occurred with the release of Issue 150, a so-called anniversary issue, but what have I taught you, class? That’s right, they’re not important! Now you’re learning.
Needless to say, the writing community went nuts. (The good kind of nuts, don’t worry. No Lab Ray Scientist crazy here.) What we had here was a refining of presentation, a shuffling of sections and layout, all to improve the overall quality of the newspaper we knew and loved, as mandated by Neopian Statue 7244.a.
But the redesign of the Times led to mass amnesia of the civilians of Neopia. No, not like “Where am I?” amnesia, more of a “Who cares about the past?” amnesia. Is that not amnesia? Ah well. No one’s reading this article for scientific accuracy. Anyways – with the advent of a new layout, most of the population completely forgot what preceded it. The former design now lay in trash cans, gutters, rubbish heaps; people couldn’t get rid of them fast enough. Nowadays, the only way to find a back issue was to go to the archives, in a musty and cramped room at the Neopian Times Headquarters.
So I, in the interest of claiming I was an intrepid reporter, barged into the newspaper’s HQ and demanded to see these archives right away for the good of Neopetkind. I was told to kindly lower my voice and take a number (which I did with dignity!). When it came my turn to enter the archives, I took one step into the room and promptly left. The smell was just awful.
What was an intrepid reporter with a weak nose to do? How was I going to research for this article which was to blow the doors off the institution known as the Neopian Times? Simple – do what every other reporter has done at least once in his or her life: make something up.
The Neopian Times before Issue 150 was written entirely by alien Aishas, come to this planet to destroy our minds subtly with the use of hilarious comics and heart wrenching short stories. The continuing series were both hilarious and heart wrenching, which is quite a feat indeed for an alien race who had absolutely no idea how to read or write before arriving in Neopia. While we were busy reading their terrific stories, they would sneak up behind us and surprise us, and in that shock they managed to destroy our minds somehow. (I don’t really know the details – I’m not as effective a writer as those Aishas.)
So there you have it – the truth behind the Neopian Times. With the redesign, the Neopets reasserted their dominance over the alien Aishas and the newspaper we know and love today was here to stay. Unfortunately many readers complained that the quality of storytelling had severely decreased with the redesign, and the Alien Aishas – okay, you know what? Never mind. This making up stuff just isn’t working out for me. I made a promise to my readers that I would tell the truth this time, especially when this article may be the most important piece I will ever write. I need to make it memorable.
Where was I? I better reread this... Aha! I was telling you about why anniversary issues are as useless as a bathing suit in space. Okay, here goes.
As I was investigating the many changes the Neopian Times has endured over the years, I stumbled onto something so mind-blowing I needed to report on it immediately. You see, I keep an old stack of issues of the Times in my garage for my Angelpuss to do her business on. And since I’m running low on funds these days, I haven’t been able to replenish my stack of newspapers lately. I was nearing the bottom of the stack when I stumbled upon an old, pre-Issue 150 edition. In fact, it was Neopian Times Issue One. (Yes, I know it’s a priceless collector’s item, but I literally had no other paper for my petpet! I didn’t even have paper to write this article – this has been scribbled entirely on my arm. Let me tell you, the submission process I had to go through was painful. Literally. I don’t fit very easily in a mail slot.)
So I was paging through Issue One, telling myself that what this particular issue needed was an article by me to spice things up, when a small box at the bottom of the page caught my eye. It explained that with the redesign of the Times all old issues could be found in their brand-new, state of the art archive. I was floored – literally, I was sitting on the floor when I read this. How could there be older editions than Issue One?! Needless to say, I rushed to the HQ to get to the bottom of this (and hopefully steal a few old issues for my Angelpuss.)
When I got there, I demanded that someone explain what could only be the most egregious of errors. I was told to kindly lower my voice and take a number. (What is it with them and lowering my voice? I’m not at a library, people!) Once my number was called I once again demanded to find out how much I could earn for reporting such an enormous mistake. When I showed the mistake to the Blumaroo receptionist, she squeaked in fear and immediately went for her superior. After a few minutes of determined pacing in the front lobby (it seemed like the right thing to do), I was taken directly to the Editor herself.
She informed me that I had discovered a secret of utmost importance, and that I must keep this to myself or else the Neopian Times would lose all credibility. Naturally, I rushed home to write this tell-all exposé.
So, are you ready to discover this secret that I can finally tell you since I’m at last over the word count necessary to be published in the Times? Here goes:
The Editor informed me there are 68 secret issues of the Neopian Times. Shocking, I know. Apparently, before the official Issue One there had been 68 editions of the Times that were so out-dated that the Editor at the time felt they should simply be swept under the rug. I then demanded to see these secret issues, which she pulled out from a locked drawer in her desk. And let me tell you folks, they were hilariously bad. (Though surprisingly, it was some of the best writing I’ve ever seen in the Times. Go figure.)
In my infinite wisdom, I spotted a chance for some blackmail, insisting that I keep these issues in exchange for keeping them a secret. After at least seventeen minutes of argument, the Editor grudgingly handed them over to me, and thus all was well. The Times kept their reputation intact – for a few days, at least.
Now why does this mean that anniversary issues aren’t really significant? Because they’re not really anniversaries! Why, this very issue is Issue 518! And who cares about such an unimportant issue? We should have been celebrating a very happy Issue 450 sixty-eight weeks ago. So go ahead and give those avatars and that special prize back, Times writers. This is nothing special. Just another week of the Neopian Times.
Though I suppose since I wrote this exposé, the Times has now lost its credibility.
And it’ll have to go out of business.
And I’ll be out of a job of intrepid reporting.
Ah well – at least I scored some newspapers for my Angelpuss.
Author’s Note: This article is entirely factual, except for the stuff I totally made up, which is about ninety percent of it. I am honored to be a part of Issue
518 450, and I sincerely hope it never is used as an Alien Aisha domination tool. Hope this issue’s as great as every one before it!