I want to ask you to think, for a few moments, about magazines you will NEVER in this lifetime--or any other-- see on a newsstand.
Think about all the magazines out there, from wildly popular rags to niche publications, from all-encompassing TIME to the slightly more narrowly-focused PIGEON RACING NEWS. What combinations defy contemplation? Is there a potential publication that would die so utterly and instantly, it perhaps might even cease printing before the cover graphics were completed?
Let me give you some examples of magazines you are unlikely to see at a store near you:
--OCCUPADO: an in-flight magazine to read exclusively in the plane's lavatory. Attached to the handle by a silken cord; non-removable. Laminated. Included are sections titled "Royal Flush" (a look at today's monarchs) and "Down the Drain" (how to cope with self-respect issues in corporate life). Occasional pieces confront fear ("Did I Break Something or is That Terrifying Vacuum Noise You Hear After Pressing the Handle Normal?" and "Claustrophobia: Are You a Closet Case? Take This Quiz") as well as the complicated subject of collective responsibility ("Since We Cannot Tidy Up After Every User...").
--BACK SEAT DRIVER: addressing everything from philosophical issues ("Are Things REALLY Larger than they Appear?") to relationships (regarding second marriages--"Previously Owned"--or adultery--"Double Clutch"), to poetry ("Ode-meter"), parenting ("Does the Sign in Front of YOUR House Declare ‘SLOW CHILDREN'?"), and money ("Toll Lane").
Unlikely bridal magazines deserve their own category. Included among them would be the following titles: "Prenups Today"; Tattoo and Veil"; "Shotgun Wedding: The Gown and Ammo Issue"; "This Old Bride: A Magazine For Mature Women."
Unlikely business magazine titles include: "Loser," "Raising Possums for Profit: The Newsletter," "Deadbeat Dad," and "Green Card."
And even popular magazines might target topics unlikely to find their devoted readers. Subscribers might cancel after Playboy publishes the "All Articles" issue (even though that's why readers buy it); Gourmet fans might balk at "101 Ways to Discover the Inherent Flavors of Rice-A-Roni"; Sports Illustrated might not do well with "The Chess Issue" and Film Quarterly might not receive great reviews for their copy of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop: An Academic Roundtable." The Nation would lose readers (or would they?) if an issue was titled "Girls of the Left Gone Wild."
Here is my assignment for you: send me your ideas for the least-likely magazines. Send concepts for publications that will self-destruct upon contact with human intelligence. Here's the challenge: will your fires of imagination pale in comparison with the stark incandescence of reality?
Can you really come up with something more unlikely than "SPUDMAN: Voice of the Potato Industry"? Which is, apparently, a legitimate and thriving publication.
Life is more complicated and interesting than many of us can imagine.
ps: Gina's new book IT'S NOT THAT I'M BITTER is now in your local bookstore (she hopes) and available on-line everywhere.