Goeun Park: Catering to each reader personally
A friend of mine asked what my plans were for the night. “I’m going to write a column,” I told him.
“About anything. Usually my life.”
“So you basically get paid to publish your diary?”
“Something like that.”
Dear newspaper subscribers. First of all, it’s not quite like that. My non-existent diary would look more like this: “omg i saw the cutest guy working at the fro-yo place today and i cannot believe i didn’t try to get his number!! also remember to schedule dentist appt & call mom.”
I want to clarify that I value your time and money, and I try my best to not completely waste it. Second of all, I realize that I don’t really have control over that. I mean, I don’t know you. I don’t know what you like to read.
When I write letters to friends, I know who they are and what I could share about my life that would resonate with them. But this isn’t like that.
I’ve been writing here for over a year now, and I still struggle with the idea of someone reading this. It’s hard to picture someone sitting by their kitchen counter, drinking their morning coffee and reading about some dork who graduated from high school pretty much yesterday. Maybe I’m flattering myself. Maybe people don’t actually read this.
In that case, it doesn’t really matter because you’re not reading this!
Anyway, you probably know much more about me by now than I know about you. It’s unfortunate but there’s not much I can do to remedy that. I wish I could tailor each of these columns to be what you might like to hear, but I can’t. It’d be like taking a shot in the dark.
So here it goes.
If you are a parent of a teenager, or even worse, multiple teenagers: I admire your patience and grace so much. I might have mentioned this before, but I didn’t truly appreciate my parents until I left for college.
I never told them I missed them because I was trying really hard to be a Strong Independent Woman Who Didn’t Need To Call Mom And Dad because I was (am) really bad with words in real life. So if your teenager is as ungrateful or whiny or neglectful as I was (am), it’s not because they hate you. Parenting must be really hard, but thanks for taking the job anyway.
If you’re an educator (especially if you were one of my high school teachers): You have the second hardest job in the world. I’m sorry that the government still isn’t paying you more. Thank you. Please keep doing whatever you’re doing.
If you’re one of my high school classmates (unlikely since young people don’t read print news): Hey! I hope the summer is treating you well! I found out last week that you can buy boxes of ramen through AmazonPrime. If that isn’t the best news you’ve heard all week…you probably have a way more exciting life than I do, congratulations.
If you’re still in high school (even more unlikely) and like my younger brother who’s not intimated by people or flying insects: good for you. Those attributes will take you far. I mean it. On the other hand, if you’re like me in high school and tend to get crazy weird test anxiety with a side of crazy weird people anxiety (or vice versa): it gets better. So much better.
If you’re that one college friend (you know who you are) who Googled my name and found this because you thought I was joking when I said I really enjoy cracking self-deprecating jokes in my local newspaper: I wasn’t kidding.
Lastly, if you’re that boy from the fro-yo shop: call me. We can talk about next week’s topping choices.
Goeun Park graduated from Detroit Lakes High School and attends college in California.