It’s not my first print publication, but it’s mighty close: the February 1988 edition of the Super Saturday Xpress, a photocopied newspaper created for a Saturday morning enrichment class about newspaper production. I was 12, in 7th grade, and my passion for writing about my obsessions was starting to form.

On the front page is my timely take on the Super Bowl that year. In the piece titled, “Super Bowl Disgrace,” I eloquently and impartially declare “This game was the WORST Super Bowl disgrace, except for the 1979 Super Bowl XIII when Pittsburgh beat Dallas.” Also provided is a handy sidebar of the most significant Super Bowl blowouts (nice touch, 12-year-old me!).

In “Scoops About Our Staff,” the paragraph about me helpfully shares, “He likes hoagies.” Indeed!

On the same page is an uncredited contribution that’s clearly mine: a capsule review of L.L. Cool J’s Bigger and Deffer. What exactly the difference was between a check plus and five checks, I’m not sure. And I clearly understood that James Todd Smith was trying to target the lucrative “12-23” age bracket with his release. This may have been my first published music review.

On the last page, I took out an ad (is that ethical?) to sell my homebrew software for the Apple II. Football (surely Tackle Smash Kill!!) is mentioned, as is wrestling, which I’d completely forgotten about. (Note to self: create a Youtube series of run-throughs for games I wrote as a kid.) I even offered readers quite the deal: “A free random number generator to give variety to your programs.”