Myriad magazines, mostly immaterial

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing columnist

We get a lot of magazines in the mail and some of them are those car magazines that guys used to get all the time but now only can be found on the coffee table at your local auto repair shop. They have names like Car and Driver and Road And Track and less-clever names like Automotive News. There is one simply called Automobile. I guess this is so it can’t be confused with other magazines. I like magazines that tell me what is contained within. Automobile is a good one. I won’t get confused and think it’s a magazine about anything but cars. Guns And Ammo is another one. It’s about guns. It’s about ammo. There are other things talked about in the magazine, but they are things relating to guns and, well, ammo. Automobile magazine does not seem to be about auto parts or accessories, but automobiles themselves. My wife piles these car magazines in their own little pile and puts them aside for me. The rest of the magazines are hers. The car magazines are mine, though I can hardly afford any of the cars featured in them. I don’t have a $100,000 for a bright green Italian supercar that doesn’t even have a radio.

My wife seems to get a lot of those homemaker-style magazines. They have names like Family Circle and Woman’s Day. Woman’s Day seems to me to be highly inaccurate. Woman’s Day features lavish recipes and big homes and stuff about crafts that women can do with the children. I know more than a few women, and none of their days include any of this bunk. Woman’s Day should be about projects that never get done, kids that don’t behave and leave dirty dishes all around the house, not having enough time in the day, spilling coffee on themselves in the drop-off lane at the middle school, and going to bed at 1 in the morning with three hours of work still to be done. Add in a full-time, outside-of-the-home job that doesn’t pay well and voila, you have a Woman’s Day.

Men’s magazines are pretty much designed for men that don’t actually exist. These men are in perfect physical shape, are stupidly good looking and well dressed and seem to have time for every adventurous hobby that exists. I’m in my late 40s, overweight and enjoy my recliner. Unless GQ suddenly has a fold-out chart on which wine goes with Doritos, I am not subscribing. I like wine, Doritos and Burt Reynolds movies. I don’t think I am their target demographic. There was an article in one of them that had a big list of “must-have” accessories for any man and one of them was a $1,500 dollar umbrella. I already have an umbrella I bought at Walmart and if I spend $1,500 for something, you can bet your boots I’m not leaving it out in the rain.

National Geographic was one of the ones we could count on as kids as having a fleeting glimpse of nudity in it. I don’t really have anything bad to say about National Geographic, as our family has had a continual subscription since 1959 and it keeps getting passed down from generation to generation. Other than the nudity, which is mentioned because National Geographic is second only to Playboy in the list of “Magazines Boys Hid In Tree Forts,” National Geographic is pretty great. A lot of us learned a lot about the world from reading National Geographic. What I learned was no one threw out a copy of it, and most people stacked them in a corner of the den or filled up an old bookshelf with them and held onto them until, well, we’ll never know because no one has gotten rid of any.

My daughters had a subscription to a magazine called Seventeen. I thought it was oddly named because there never seemed to be anyone in it that was actually 17 and what they talked about in the magazine was the stuff that was talked about in magazines with plain brown wrappers on them when I was a kid. I imagine the “seventeen” part was how many Hail Marys you had to recite if your parents caught you reading some of the articles.

When we are done with our magazines, my wife clips off the address labels and takes them to her doctor’s appointments, where she takes it on her own to replenish the tired old selection that you always find at the doctor’s office.

Except for the National Geographics. We keep those on a bookshelf in the den.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing columnist