I was sports editor of my high school newspaper for a year. This was many years ago, as you can well imagine. The newspaper was the “Hatchet” of Washington High School in South Bend, Indiana. I won’t bother to explain how the paper got its name. Hopefully you can figure that out on your own.
Anyway, I did not actively pursue the job of sports editor. A couple of my classmates decided to give the “Hatchet” a whirl and talked me into going with them to a staff recruiting meeting. The meeting was in the summer between school sessions. Somehow, during that meeting, someone convinced me to sign up for the job of sports editor. Not able to come up with a good excuse not to, I agreed to take the job. I’m pretty sure I was the only candidate. Sure, I liked basketball, baseball, and football. I played no sports in high school, but did participate in baseball and basketball in junior high. I knew enough about the various sports played in high school that I thought I could write reasonably well about them.
One of my jobs as sports editor was the writing of a column for each issue. During a discussion with one of my fellow staff members, he suggested I write the column using a pseudonym. I couldn’t see why I should do so, especially since I had no reason to keep my identity a secret. My friend thought it would be neat to do such a thing, and persisted. (He had read all the James Bond books, and so was probably hooked on covert operations.) He had also decided on a name that I could use. “Bruce Lovely” was the name he thought I should write under. Bruce Lovely was the name of a fictitious character on a WLS radio show back in my high school days. All the teenagers in South Bend were familiar with Bruce Lovely and anything else that transpired on WLS in Chicago. It was the most powerful radio station around, and played the very best rock & roll. It also had the best and most hip disc jockeys in the entire universe.
So I became Bruce Lovely to the readers of the Washington High School Hatchet. I was not a famous personage at my high school, so I knew that many people reading the paper would have no clue as to my identity. This rankled me a bit as time went on. What’s the point of writing stuff that people read if no one knows who did the writing? How would I ever get credit for any of it if my identity was a big secret?
After a while, I got used to writing pseudonymously. It actually started to seem like a pretty good way to say what I thought and stay out of sight. Not that I could get carried away with my comments and opinions. In fact, our chief editor, one of my classmates, asked me once to go lighter on the school spirit angle. She thought I was leaning on that too much. I didn’t think so, but I agreed to tone it down a bit. I don’t remember if I actually did. In fact, I might have cranked it up a notch just to piss her off. But I don’t know. That was a long time ago.
Bruce Lovely, as it turns out, is the name of several real people! There is a Colonel Bruce W. Lovely in the US Air Force. He’s the guy who wrote that nifty poem “The Soldier’s Night Before Christmas.” No kidding. Someone named Bruce Lovely graduated from Neff High School in La Mirada, California, in 1975. There are probably a few others out there, including one with a Facebook page.
One day after school, I had my car radio tuned to WLS. Unbelievably, someone had mailed the station a copy of the Hatchet and a disc jockey (whose show contained the infamous Bruce Lovely character) found my column in the paper and actually read it on the air. I was dumbfounded, gratified, and outraged all at the same time. Yes, it was great hearing my column read on the radio. I was instantly notorious. But I was also STILL UNKNOWN!! That guy had no idea who I really was. Neither did any of the thousands, millions, or billions of people who were listening at that very instant when the identity of the writer of that column was announced as BRUCE LOVELY.
I have not written anything pseudonymously since.