The paper lovingly nicknamed “The Agony”
As the spring of 2019 came to its end I found myself back in Sackville, volunteering at Convocation weekend. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it would be the only Con weekend I would attend as a Mt. A student. Less than a year later, my senior year would be cut short by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but hey, what can you do? Volunteering for Convocation/reunion wasn’t the only thing I was doing that weekend, however.
Between riding around on golf carts and chatting to former Argosy staff while working a coat check (I’ll circle back to that in a minute), I was also editing and laying out the Convocation issue of the Argosy. And also getting on the liquor, big time, but that’s beside the point. For the better part of a day I found myself with fellow editor Ben Maksym in the Argosy office, doing the work of a seven(?) person editorial team. I’ll be honest, Ben carried a lot of the weight on that one, but I was there, and I helped!
To be honest, that weekend was probably the most work I ever did for The Argosy. You see, I was not the editor-in-chief, nor was I a journalist, not even the editor of the opinions section. No. For four years I was a contributor for the humour section, and for two of those years I was the section editor. I started out in my first year at Mt. A submitting memes critiquing the, in my 18-year-old opinion, increasingly ridiculous and performative actions of Divest MTA. Divesting is cool though, I get that now.
Anyway, I think I really hit my stride the year after, writing a weekly column of terrible advice under the name “Trill Waves,” a moniker I used to hide my heinous concepts from any potential employer’s cursory Google searches. When the humour section editor position opened up at the end of that year I decided I’d appreciate some financial compensation for my comical musings. What I didn’t realize was that I would actually have to do work as editor. I found this concept somewhat disgusting and decided to take my job as not seriously as possible.
Over its 150 year history, I’m sure The Argosy has seen its fair share of jokers like me. I think you get inspiration from working for the same paper where internationally recognized humorists like Michael DeAdder and Kate Beaton (who I think is a distant cousin of mine, at least that’s what my mom said) got their start.
One of the first things the man I met at the coat check on Con weekend said to me, (told you I’d circle back) was that he was an editor in the 1970s. The next thing he told me was that back in the day, the staff nickname for the newspaper was “The Agony.” The sense of pride combined with the feelings of ire towards the paper is inseparable from working for the paper itself. As much as many editors will complain about deadlines, flakey contributors, and the prehistoric editing software, deep down we love it. We love the ability to share our ideas, opinions, and jokes with people—this always outweighs the parts that suck. The Argosy rocks.