Charley may be the only EIC in Fulcrum history to serve staff members kangaroo meat
I’ve been working at the Fulcrum for four years — that’s a long fucking time. Over my four years, I’ve been fortunate to work with more than forty people on four different editorial boards and, this has led to a fair share of stories. Here are my favourites!
The hotel floor
For our first story, we go back to January 2019, to NASH 81, which was held in Calgary.
Maybe one of the best weekends I’ve had at the Fulcrum, this adventure started with me boarding a plane for the first time in my life — and then seemingly waiting hours for it to take off.
But the fun began once we got to Calgary. When we got to the hotel, we had a problem. We were five guys and six girls, meaning one of the guys would have to bunk up with boys from another paper — since a room can only have four people in it.
Well, with my luck, and the fact I was the most junior person at the paper, that happened to be me. So, I was sent to a random room on a different floor from the Fulcrum. When I walked into the room, I was greeted by two absolute weirdos — I was out of that room as fast as I came into it.
Back onto the Fulcrum’s floor, I walked into the guys’ room, and told them I’d rather sleep on the floor than with the guys from the other room — and so I did. That night — after drinking way too much — I laid a towel on the floor, took out the couch cushion and slept on the floor.
The next morning, when we were joined in our room by the rest of Edboard, the looks of disdain and pity on the girls’ faces were priceless. Everyone felt bad… but hey, no one was willing to give up their bed. So, I slept on the floor on a dirty carpet for the next two nights — like a trooper.
From sleeping on the floor at NASH to EIC, what a ride.
Publication of the year
At that same NASH, the Fulcrum won the Publication of the Year Award for its sports coverage. Just kidding — for its coverage of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa’s fraud allegations and subsequent implosion.
Voted on by all the publications present at NASH — so basically every student newspaper in Canada — this was arguably the award that meant the most out of all of those given that night.
So naturally, as we left the conference room following the banquet, we were ecstatic and we wanted to take a team picture with the award. However, our story begins here — right before this god-forsaken picture (for those wondering, I lost a bet and had to shave my beard into a goatee).
As we were making our way to a way too well-lit part of the hotel, our then editor-in-chief, Anchal Sharma, decided to congratulate all of us individually — well, most of us.
Anchal got us to stand in a circle around her, as she serenaded every single person individually. She began with the person to my left and went counter-clockwise.
As she congratulated everybody and let them know what they meant to her, I was getting hyped — who doesn’t like to be complimented for their work?
Anyhow, Anchal finally gets to me and pauses for a moment, and goes “Charley, ummmmm… I’m just glad you’re here.”
Everyone started laughing — I was immediately humbled.
Now, I personally hold Anchal in a very high regard and this is water under the bridge. But, that was honestly hilarious. As the associate sports editor, I was a pigeon — and sometimes, I needed to be reminded!
Now, I wish I could share more from that night, but most of the stories that followed are inappropriate and remain best unwritten.
Hide and seek
Due to the Student Choice Initiative in 2019-20, we had a much smaller editorial board than usual. Starting as a small team of seven people, we eventually expanded to nine when students decided they liked us and opted in to our fee in the fall semester.
Anyways, our then-arts editor was house-sitting for a professor — or should I say mansion-sitting. I believe it was in early December, when he invited us for drinks to celebrate the end of the first semester. Due to the small size of our editorial board, we were very close and all went for drinks at his house.
We first started playing the usual drinking games — the flip cups and beer pongs of this world. But then, for some reason, we decided it was a good idea to revert back to our childhoods.
Someone proposed we play hide and seek in the dark, all over the mansion. And so we did, and it was a blast!
Starting with the first round, all of us were found relatively easily, but Matt Gergyek, our then-editor-in-chief, was still missing at the end of the game. We all started looking for him, and we looked for probably a good twenty minutes before the rumour started circulating that he thought we were childish and had left in an Uber without telling us.
But then we started hearing sounds from upstairs and eventually, we found him hiding in a sort of storage bench. We then proceeded to play like ten more rounds… until we were all so tired we had to leave.
This, in my opinion, was such a wholesome what-the-fuck moment that I had to write about it.
Dungeons and Dragons
I was elected for the first time as EIC about a week before COVID-19 took over the world. That Friday, I went out with my roommates and met an old friend, Andrew Price.
Andrew had been the sports editor my first year at the Fulcrum and my direct supervisor, as associate sports editor. We hadn’t talked in a while in person and, to celebrate my win, he decided to invite me and Anchal to come play Dungeon and Dragons at his place the next day.
Now, I’ll be completely honest, I always thought D&D was for nerds. But, I went with Anchal the next day, and we had a great time. This was literally the most fun I had playing a board game (is it considered a board game? I don’t know but for the purpose of this story, it is) in my life.
I don’t remember my character or the story arc, but I remember that good times were had on a rainy day out of a situation that I really didn’t expect.
My first production night as EIC
As EIC, having a good relationship with your managing editor is vital.
Last year, during our first production week of the year in September, I was frankly intimidated by our then managing editor, Emily Wilson. She was a Carleton J-school grad, an accomplished sports freelancer, and someone who had a certain mojo that let you know she was going to go places.
The previous year, we were competing as sports editors — her of the Charlatan, and me of the Fulcrum. And, in my defense, I think, with a relatively smaller team of contributors, I was able to compete with her section.
We were often in the office at the same time, but we didn’t really chat. If we did, it was really short awkward conversations.
Truth is, we had our first editorial board meeting of the year on the Monday, which was a fiasco to say the least, and I thought she was a very serious person who thought I was a goof.
So, with that in mind, as the week went on, I was kind of dreading production night, which was coming up on the Sunday. But then, on Saturday night, we were both working late — me on Fulcrum things, her on a thing for CBC, I believe — and she came downstairs and we started chatting.
That’s when I realized I shouldn’t be scared or intimidated by this person. We spoke at length about our sports days and ordered pizza.
The next day, I didn’t dread production — well, the conversations, that is. The articles, however? That’s a different story. We really hit it off that night. We both saw the same mistakes in pieces, got mad at the same things, roasted everyone (in particular, Aly, for her use of semicolons), and realized we both liked Nickelback and Wendys.
After that night, we were ready for all the challenges that layed ahead — and boy was there a lot.
Nothing quite prepares you for the stress you’ll be facing as editor-in-chief of the Fulcrum. After a stressful start to my first term, I needed a night to decompress.
Well, when you work at the Fulcrum, your closest friends are often the people you work with.
So, with that in mind, late on a warm September night, I decided to dig deep into my French Canadian roots and organize a Chinese fondue dinner with some of my closest friends — which, of course, were on the editorial board.
That night, I pulled all the stops for dinner. I went to Gatineau, got the widest variety of meat I could find for the fondue. We had beef, chicken, rabbit, and kangaroo — you name it, we had it. Now, none of us at the table had ever had kangaroo, but it turns out that it’s really, really good. So, I definitely recommend trying it.
Anyways, our fondue dinner turned into a drinking party quickly and, next thing I knew, myself, Jasmine, our sports editor, and Emily, our then-managing editor, were dancing to “Sicko Mode” up on a couch.
There is a video of this, but I don’t feel like getting my throat slit in my sleep, so I won’t be posting it — but just know, we were going full Sicko Mode. So much so, that later that night, my stomach decided drinking a full bottle of Smirnoff or bug spray as Jasmine says was not a good idea — sorry about your bath mat Jas.
I think this whole story just shows how much stress you accumulate as EIC and managing editor, and how important it is to sometimes just take a drink and relax for a couple of hours from the grind.
The car crash
This isn’t one of my favourite moments, but it’s definitely memorable and worth mentioning. Anyways, instead of rewriting it, here’s a link to the story I wrote about it back in September.
All I’m going to say is thank god it was labour day and Canadian Tire was closed. Had I gotten that propane tank, I would of went boom!
Back to the office
Both my terms as EIC have been hampered by COVID-19. It wasn’t until February that I was finally able to host my first full in-person editorial board meeting in the Fulcrum office’s living room — nearly two years in the making.
Although virtual and hybrid Edboard brought their fair share of roasting and fun, there is something about all being in the same room as an editorial board that just can’t be replicated online.
The best part of it, too, was that our Toronto-based managing editor Aly was able to attend part of the meeting before having to catch a flight, which just made it so much better, as basically the whole team (sorry Jelena, Damian and Christopher) was there.
In what might summarize my final year on the editorial board, nothing crazy happened (sarcasm), other than that simple feeling of all being back in person. We had a blast, discovered that Sanjida was a Ducks fan, and, of course, I was roasted for every possible reason.
We then went for drinks and had a good time — the way the Fulcrum should be.