Story Submitted by John:
Ruth and I went to the same college and both wrote for the small student newspaper. She was the editor of the local section, and I was the only reporter who worked directly under her, so that meant some late nights working together in the office. One late night led to some fooling around, so much so that we had to rush to finish editing our articles for the next day's paper.
We already saw each other close to once a day, and in addition to my journalistic commitments, midterms were coming up, and I was taking a very full load that semester.
One day, after finishing the editing of our section, she asked me if I wanted to go out and do dinner, as we had already done twice that week.
I told her, "I'd love to, but I have two tests tomorrow and I have to study for both of them." It was the truth, and I expected that she'd understand.
"Oh... okay," she said, obviously not understanding. I explained to her in a bit more detail how important the exams were, and that I'd be glad to take her up on the offer any other night of the week. "Okay, fine," she said, but something was evidently far from fine.
After my first exam, the next morning, a friend called me up and said, "Dude, you made the paper!" I picked up a copy and read a small headline among the others on the op-ed page:
"John Mercer Sucks: An Objective Opinion."
The body of the article beneath it contained one sentence: "John Mercer sucks."
I called Alexandra, the editor-in-chief, and she said that Ruth must have slipped it in after she, Alexandra, had reviewed the paper for publication. I didn't have time to catch up with Ruth before my next exam, but after that, I did.
Ruth was very nonchalant about the whole thing, when I met up with her in the student union. "It's really not a big deal," she said, "You have time to get really upset about this, but when it comes to hanging out with me, where'd the time go?"
"This is completely different, and you know it," I said, "This is insulting me in print, you–" I stopped myself. Realizing that any argument would lead to me spending more time with her, which may have been her plan in the first place, I left on the spot.
I caught up with Alexandra and insisted that she fire Ruth from the paper (Ruth had been with it for three years) or I would take my case against the entire paper to the dean and to the president of the college. "This is libel," I said.
Alexandra, with whom I had always had a cordial relationship, agreed. She canned Ruth and promised to print a full apology the next day. I avoided Ruth after that, and I don't know if someone spoke to her or if she just took the hint because thankfully, she avoided me, too.
Story Submitted by John: