I like reading the news in pretty much every shape and size I can get it. I like the traditional, high-quality journalism of The New York Times. I like the sensationalized drudge of CNN.com. But I especially like the fake, satirical news I find on The Onion.
I used to read The Onion regularly when I was in college. They made fun of recent, real news stories and had little regard for political correctness. Finally, I had found a group of writers as cynical as myself! However, since graduating nearly four years ago, I decided I needed to refine my tastes a bit more and replaced my daily dose of that pungent vegetable with an equally bitter, yet slightly more sophisticated, sampling of Maureen Dowd.
This morning, I stumbled upon The Onion again and remembered what I had been missing! I also remembered a particularly funny tale from college that I thought I would share here (as I have been laughing about it all morning):
During our junior year, my college roommate found herself the romantic interest of a markedly unappealing boy. My girlfriends and I teased her endlessly about this (since we were clearly very kind individuals) until my roommate felt quite uncomfortable being in this boy’s presence.
One day, the ex and I were perusing The Onion and came across a story entitled, “Would You Care to Join Me for an Unbelievably Awkward Dinner Sometime?” The story is basically a mock-dinner date invitation from a very unappealing man depicting an even more unappealing date. Well, my industrious ex and I figured out a way to mask an email address so that it appeared to be coming from a different one. We could send email that seemed to be from someone else! I am sure you know by now where this story is headed…
We changed the ex’s email address to look like Mr. Unappealing’s. Then we pasted the text of this glorious Onion invite into the email body and – whoosh! – off went the email to my roommate. Pleased with our prank, we went to sleep.
The next morning, we were playing around with our new hacking skills and came to discover, to our horror, that not only did the masked email look like the fake address, but any replies to it actually went to the fake address! Like a bat out of hell, I flew out of the ex’s room and raced back to my place. I threw the open the door to find my roommate hunched over her computer, looking miserable, with the email open.
“Don’t respond to it!” I cried.
It turns out, she had been just seconds from clicking the send button on the response she had written – a response which would have gone directly to Mr. Unappealing, original email and all. When I blurted out what the ex and I had done, my roommate was initially pretty angry. Eventually, she came to see the humor in it, but swore she would get back at us. To this day, though, she never has – probably because she’s terrified of my prank-playing retaliation.
Anyway, it’s safe to say I’m back to reading The Onion.