Gasbag: 1999 (Confidential) Reader’s Survey Results

I’ve just received some bad news.

It appears that we recently surveyed our readers in an attempt to learn more about them so we can sell their information to our advertisers (that isn’t the bad news, we always do that), and our readership ranked the Gasbag column fourth on the list of things they like least about TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine. This horrible prospect was doubly profound to me, as I wrote almost every single Gasbag during 1999. In high school, teachers and guidance counselors told me to “go into a field that doesn’t require creativity.” I probably should have listened. Maybe they should have simply advised me to “go into a field,” and left it at that.

But I’m lucky, because, according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Chicago, the most incompetent people often think they’re achieving at an above-average level. That explains why I have no regrets when I cash my paycheck; I work on the “ignorance is bliss” theory of self-satisfaction.

Fortunately (for me), I wasn’t the only one our readers turned on, viciously ranking Volume (our music page) third on their least-liked list, and I have very little to do with that column for reasons only Tania could fully explain. Coming in a shameful second on the roll-call of degradation was “Too many ads,” which I probably would have voted for, too, had I been surveyed. Though, strangely, on the things-most-liked list, “thickness” (of the magazine, I’m assuming) was ranked sixth, right behind the fifth most-liked feature¿”Ads,” which leads me to wonder if TransWorld and the University of Chicago are surveying the same test group.

Nope, I’ve just been told we’re not.

In an interesting twist of fortune, the Litterbox column came in sixth on the least-liked list and eighth on the most-liked, which seems highly suspect. Confusingly, “Letters” were the fifth least-liked. Isn’t our letters page called Litterbox? Photos came in first on the most-liked list, but I’m working on a theory that Grant personally fills out thousands of surveys to get this same result year after year. That would explain why he always returns from his annual vacation with writer’s cramp.

“The skateboarding” ranked eleventh in the most-liked category, which leaves one to wonder, “What the hell does that means, exactly?” And interestingly, the greatest compliment we received from our readers came in the form of the aspect of our magazine they liked least: “Nothing.”

Nothing¿we’re bad at that, and that’s good. Right?

In conclusion, I’ve learned three things from reading the 1999 Readers’ Survey results:

1. The 1999 Readers’ Survey was confusing for those being surveyed.

2. The 1999 Readers’ Survey is confusing to those reading the results.

3. Grant isn’t to be trusted.¿Joel Patterson