Guest Post: If I Could Save Time in a Magazine by Jenny Hill

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Another fine guest post by my good friend, Jenny Hill. Please visit her blog at:  http://jenneferghill.wordpress.com

I had a dentist’s appointment on Tax Day this year. By an odd series of events, I arrived a half hour early. I did not mind a bit, however, because my dentist’s office has the best magazines. I was glad to have time alone with the pages I love, since I am a magazine junkie.

I greedily piled the shiny colorful Country Living and This Old House onto my lap. I looked around to see if anyone had noticed what a hog I was. No one had, so I casually slipped Consumer Reports on the bottom of the pile.

I had not done any Easter decorating yet, so I eagerly scanned the teasers on the cover of Country Living, hoping they would have something to address my inner bunny and duckies. Huh. Nothing. Not even something about Easter dinner.

Well, OK.  Maybe Country Living was going in a more secular direction, which is fine. I don’t go to church, on Easter or even Christmas, so I do have twinges of hypocritical feelings when I get these seasonal decorating urges. But we’ve got to do something to mark the seasons, right?

Now wait a minute. Country Living’s cover mentioned Mother’s Day. I do not have kids and my mom is not-that-long-dead, so I prepare for Mother’s Day by trying to grow extra thick skin. I had not done that yet this year. I squinted at the issue date on the cover: May 2014. This was April 15. What was the May issue doing here?

I felt my normally low blood pressure begin to creep up. I switched to This Old House, which was also the May issue. I shuffled down to Consumer Reports to see “June 2014.”

Really? Is this what magazines have done to compete with the immediacy of electronic media, started publishing in a future that has yet to arrive? I’ve worked on magazines. I know they have schedules built months in advance to accommodate the time it takes to actually print the pages, assemble and mail them once everything has been written, designed, laid out and approved. But in my day (goodness, I sound old!), we timed it to hit mailboxes on the first day of the month of the issue’s date.

There are other industries like this. The new-year model cars start showing up in November, if not earlier. I bought my 2009 Toyota Matrix in July 2008. But doesn’t it devalue both the present as well as the “new” car or issue or whatever when their dates are so skewed? Whatever happened to living in the now?

Maybe I’m hypersensitive because I’m behind on my magazine reading. Face it, I’m behind on many, many things in my life. But now I wonder if I really am, or if it’s just that I’ve been judging myself using a skewed calendar/clock/other measuring device. And why are we constantly measuring and comparing? What are we racing towards and are we sure it’s better than where we are?

Did I mention my oven dial reads 350 degrees when I know there’s no way it’s over 325?

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