The end came, not with a bang, but with a buzz. In The Athenian office, we were happily engaged in our usual activities. JP was carefully embroidering matching scarfs for the staff while Ashley was hacking The Observer’s computer to add typos. The rest of the staff encircled Letty and Mahima’s intense duel, shouting helpful suggestions like “Fight!” Just then Anastazia, The Athenian’s managing editor, burst into the room, startling Letty into letting her tweezers slip. The patient’s nose lit up and a buzz rang out, eliciting a groan from the crowd, just as Anastazia started speaking.
“Everyone, this is an emergency! Someone suggest a funny article topic.”
“How about local student fights dorm-fire with fire,” offered Kushagra after a moment’s thought. We chuckled together.
“Yeah, or grapes, do we need them?” quipped JP. The laughter stopped. Someone softly wept.
“OK, now look at our latest magazine!” Anastazia commanded with all the enthusiasm of a young Barbara Snyder.
Unnerved by her intensity, we grabbed copies of the freshly printed “No. 2 Issue,” sponsored by Ticonderoga. It was truly a masterpiece of humorous publications, full of content such as: “The best sharpeners on campus, ranked!” and “Erasable pens: has science gone too far? (Yes.)” It was riotous stuff, and we were all soon rolling on the carpet in mirth.
Once the laughter had died out, Anastazia continued. “Now, think of something funny again,” she exclaimed.
“Area man thinks outside the box inside of Thinkbox,” suggested Erin. Ashley, who hadn’t moved from her task at the computer, chuckled at that, but everyone else was silent.
“How about NASA names new rocket the not-so-Challenging to avoid disaster,” JP offered. Everyone but Ashley burst out in laughter, but this was no happy glee. This was a pained, forced comedy, the kind of insane farce that drives the innocent insane and cures the mad. We rolled and rolled on the floor, chortling.
As the pained merriment finally died down, David managed to gasp out, “What happened?”
“I’m not sure” said Anastazia, “but it seems to have happened to everyone who’s read our latest issue.”
“Oh no! This is apocalyptic!” I shouted.
“Oh good, I was worrying about how to get there,” I mumbled to myself.
“What?” asked Letty.
“Nothing, nothing. Anyway, how can we fix this? Our carpet can’t withstand much more.”
“Well, it’s clear what the problem is,” Erin pointed out. “Our last issue was so funny that those people can no longer process humor. What should be funny isn’t and, even more incredibly, what JP says is. But, I’m not sure what we can do about it.”
“I have an idea so crazy it seems unlikely to work,” announced Mahima. “What if we come up with a joke so funny that it flips our sense of humor again, bringing us back to normal.”
“Let’s do it,” I commanded. “Start thinking everyone! We’ll stay here until the job is done.”
Thus, three days later, a weary Paul and Mahima ventured far and wide across the campus to spread the cure among students by shouting “That’s what she said” as loudly as possible. In order to take our issue out of circulation, we initiated a consumer recall, claiming that the original magazine was a safety hazard, being far too slippery.
The day thus saved, we replaced that magazine with the very publication you hold in your hands right now. To indulge our imaginations with the horrifying, humorless future we almost suffered, I now present to you the apocalyptic issue. No need to worry about your safety, however, we’ve taken measures. I’d now like to welcome our new Editor-in-Chief, JP, who will ensure that we’ll never be too funny again.