I had a roommate in college who used to swear that the only reason he had a subscription to Playboy magazine was because of the articles . . . but, I don’t remember seeing any articles pinned up to the wall of our room. I remember how he used to sneak it into the dorm so that no one knew what he was perusing in his spare time . . . those articles took up a lot of his spare time. Over the past couple of years I have come to understand that roommate and the importance of brown paper wrappers . . . I subscribe to Sports Illustrated.
I honestly have subscribed to Sports Illustrated because of the articles. This magazine has some of the best writers covering sports . . . they do a good job . . . and the photography is good too. I have subscribed to the magazine for almost thirty years now and I really enjoy the articles. Well . . . at least for fifty-one weeks of the years . . . then there is that one week. Once a year Sports Illustrated puts out its “swimsuit” edition. That is the week that it arrives in a brown paper wrapper. This past week was the week it arrived.
The swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated is a much anticipated magazine. I think it is Sports Illustrated’s way of rewarding those faithful subscribers who have endured a lot of silly articles about so-called sports like cricket, curling, and bowling—cricket is a bug that one smashes when they get in the house, curling is what the wife does to her hair, and bowling is one does after several hours of heavy beer drinking. To reward the patience of die-hard sports fans the magazine puts out a swimsuit edition . . . at least that is the rationale I use when explaining the magazine to the wife.
The swimsuit edition is a controversial edition which seems to be catching more and more heat each year. Seems the heat has been going up as the suits have gotten smaller and smaller each year. For about ten years now the magazine has offered subscribers the option of skipping this edition and extending their subscription an extra week. I don’t think it has made much of a difference . . . for a couple of weeks following the swimsuit edition there will be a ton of letters complaining about the edition. People will call it pornography . . . the gateway to pornography . . . setting women’s liberation back a hundred years . . . a disgrace. They also get—about at a ratio of three to one—drooling litanies of appreciation from others who appreciate the reward of enduring so-called boring sports. I figure that if people have the option to cancel that edition, then they should have no reason to complain if they are either too lazy or forgot to cancel. As I said, Sports Illustrated has offered that option for nearly a decade now. No one enjoys having their parade on . . . besides, I get it for the articles.
There lies the problem . . . there is not much in the way of articles in the swimsuit edition. Honestly . . . there are mostly pictures of beautiful, no, smashingly beautiful women in swim suits. I guess you can call them swimsuits . . . there is more skin than swimsuit. Sometimes I have had to really look closely to find some material that constitutes a swimsuit—several times! I will admit that over the years there has been less and less material in the swimsuits and more and more goose bumps on the models. I can see why the magazine comes in a brown paper wrapper.
I imagine that there are those of you out there who are wondering . . . isn’t he a minister? Well, duh! I celebrate the 30th year of my ordination this spring, but what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I know, I know . . . should a minister receive the annual issue of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition? Good question . . . that is why it comes in a plain brown paper wrapper and I get the mail the week it comes late at night. But for those who know me, they know that I am squeaky tight when it comes to money. A subscription to Sports Illustrated is not cheap . . . about seventy bucks a year—a little over a dollar an issue. For that price I want every single issue . . . besides, I have said it before, I only read the articles!
Unlike my college roommate, and my wife will attest to this, I have more articles pinned up to my walls than pictures. Besides, I haven’t seen the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition since it came home . . . it has disappeared . . . I think it has something to do with the two twenty-something year olds son who live in our house. I think they like the pictures more than the articles. Me, well, I like the articles and can wait until the magazine reappears . . . thank God for trifocals!