By Madeline Perez
When I was a freshman, waltzing around UFest, I found myself interested in lots of booths. Among these were the Fine Arts Society (a drawing club that I can only assume died when COVID struck and now no one can remember and I am the last remaining link to their history), the tennis and swimming clubs, and Binghamton Review Magazine. I think I signed up for other clubs probably involving singing, games, anime, and quite possibly bees, but as I never attended meetings for those it’s not really relevant, is it?
Anyway, what initially attracted me to The Review was a distinct memory of an issue that looked quite like this:
As well as a funny handout describing what to do when stopped by police. The people at the booth also looked at me like this:
All of which I remember liking.
I was sold. I didn’t spend too much time independently writing in high school, but I knew it was something I was good at and wanted to get into, so I sent this certified hood classic email.
I cannot make the meeting tonight because of a class. By any chance, can I have some of the core information emailed to me? Just to clarify, this is the satire magazine right? I got kinda confused with all the club names.
Oh, young innocence.
The response changed my life forever, as I found that the EIC was actually someone who lived approximately 20 houses down from me back at my spawn point on Long Island. His younger brother, Matt, was already my friend, and we had graduated months prior together and were now going to the same university. Small world.
Going to Review meetings during my freshman year was nothing short of a drug trip combined with an anxiety disorder. I sat in our old office at Old Rafuse quietly, sweating through my clothes, both admiring yet intimidated by the confident, strange, quirked-up members of this weird club I joined. If it weren’t for Matt, I strongly doubt I would have stayed. Sure—I wanted to write articles and get them published very badly and I may have still submitted some, but I don’t think I could’ve gotten through those early meetings without my social crutch to play Jumbling Tower with.
As time passed, I started to feel much more comfortable expressing my ideas, opinions, and generally—myself. As I took to the eboard and started writing more, I was able to edit and help advise the writing of others. Because of this, in my humble opinion, I am much better at writing and editing than when I started college—W and C credits be damned. I’d advise anyone who wants to write to do one thing: practice. Write through the writer’s block. Even if you feel you couldn’t possibly create anything good, just by starting you’ll surprise yourself with what you come up with. (Deadlines aren’t bad inspiration, either.) I’m still not sure if I have the ego to call myself a “writer” somehow, but at this point, I may as well be.
Growing up, it was no secret I read too much (see Reading is Fundamentally Ill). Though Augusten Burroughs and Kurt Vonnegut were good on the worst of days, I also really enjoyed the ease of graphic novels and magazines. Scratch that. Magazine. As in, one magazine in particular. Can you guess which one? Nope, not Golf Digest! MAD Magazine. (No disrespect to Highlights, which kept me entertained over many a dentist visit.) I loved the humor mixed with pop culture, even when I had no idea what they were talking about. This obsession was further enabled by the Golden Age of Cracked, the youtube channel of Cracked.com. Created after the demise of Cracked Magazine, which was before my time, Cracked.com featured mostly humorous articles analyzing pop culture and life in general. Cracked After Hours on the YouTube channel was by far my favorite, even though I knew almost nothing about the majority of the shows discussed. The mix of analysis and comedy was something I was completely enamored with and, to all the people familiar with both, they can attest to most of my writing sounding straight out of an After Hours episode, which I can’t help but be proud of. Of course, the sad truth remains that MAD stopped publishing and Cracked was purchased and lost the people who made it great. However, it was and is my goal in this trying time to provide similarly entertaining articles to expose others to this style of ‘analysis humor’ and to keep myself from falling into the neverending pit of insanity.
I’ve already written articles about my feelings about this club (see Most Controversial Binghamton Review Review!) as well as my origin story (see Help! I’ve Been Kidnapped by The Binghamton Review!) so this article need not be as long as farewells of years past. However, I still have some parting advice: put yourself out there in college. You can’t make a dent in the societal mold by just sitting around being sweaty. Be yourself, because everyone else is already Tracer. And of course, join Binghamton Review! I’m glad I did. All in all, I think the greatest thing I learned was that maybe the real Binghamton Review was the friends we made along the way. 🙂
P.S. I want to genuinely thank all the people who have been supportive of me and my writing over the years—know this is not the end. Probably.