One of the greatest ACU traditions is the annual edition of the Pessimist, a satirical parody of the Optimist. Right up there with the Sing Song edition, it’s one of the more difficult papers the Optimist staff has to produce, but it’s also the most fun.
Most staff members have no training in satire. Luckily for them, ACU is ripe with material ready to be mocked (in the most Christian way possible, that is).
For instance, an ever-popular topic of ridicule is the “ring before spring” trend at the university. Everyone seems to be getting engaged before they graduate. Except those working at the Optimist, for whom dating can be challenging because of their late nights at work. That’s what they tell themselves, anyway.
Also recently added to the list is the feral cat infestation at ACU. There are a million angles the writers could take on this. It’s hard to know where to draw feline when it comes to cat jokes.
And finally, the Vision in Action campaign was announced after last year’s Pessimist, meaning the jokes have been under construction for months. Literally. Rather than writing those jokes down to remember them, the Optimist staff hooligans have been writing them in wet cement across campus.
Planning for the Pessimist begins weeks in advance, with the editor-in-chief sporadically reminding staff members to submit story ideas in advance. This year, the staff also went on a two-team scavenger hunt and competed to find the most hidden jokes in the dried cement. The losing team had to take pictures of typefaces in Downtown Abilene for Kenneth Pybus’s latest font scrapbook.
Finally, after a regular late-night scramble to meet deadline, it all comes together in the end. Writers have a great time Googling puns and making up outlandish quotes, and students and faculty get to enjoy a humorous look at what ACU is really like. And maybe that’s the ACU difference- we know how to make fun of ourselves.