To the power of teen

Welcome to this week's Reno News & Review.

I only get to write this Editor's Note to pretend as though I'm still in charge of the asylum. Georgia Fisher took the lead on the Teen Issue this year, so I'm more titular than abreast of the action. That's probably an inappropriate play on words, but what the hell, as you read this, I'm either on a beach or in a hole somewhere in Central America.

My teenage years were the worst. I hated myself, and I hated everyone around me. I had a face like someone threw scalding pizza sauce on it, and skinny arms and legs and a pot belly no matter how many weights I lifted. And I'll admit, since I had no patience, I didn't lift long or hard enough to do myself any good anyway. I did have a horrible attitude, though, so the adults and the big kids thought they'd beat it out of me. All they taught me was how not to be afraid of a fight—a skill that served me well during my years bouncing and tending bars, and even better as an editor.

I never laid a finger on any kids who grew up around me, and I'm dead set against spanking children. I'm not particularly against violence against adults who hurt kids, which I realize makes me a bad person.

You know, it only takes a thought to pull up those negative feelings. The only thing that “saved” me was I figured out some relatively healthy ways to express my emotions and not feel helpless in the face of overwhelming force: writing, mostly.

And that's why we still have a Teen Issue, even though I know many teens don't have much interest in newsprint (although data shows that they grow into it—after college). I've known and mentored many square pegs through their first steps into the world of crusading journalism. I hope—actually, I'm certain since it has happened every time—that some of the fledgling reporters who write in this teen issue will continue writing. I also know that in 5, 10, 15 years some college-age kid is going to come up to me and say, “You know, you gave me my first byline.”

Hang in there, kids. It gets better.