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Please don’t fire me from my late night talk show

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

 
I’m glad you folks are reading tonight, and I’m glad you’re in such a pleasant mood, because I have a little story I’d like to tell you. Do you feel like a story?

This started three weeks ago yesterday. I got up early, to write my humor column early, and I went out to get into my car, and in the backseat of my car is a package I don’t recognize. I get to looking through it, and there’s a letter in the package, and it says, “I know you do some terrible, terrible things, and I can prove you do these terrible things.”

Now, this is a very vague description. I’ve been writing for this newspaper for nearly seven years, and pretty much every column I’ve ever written qualifies as a “terrible thing.” In fact, nearly everything I’ve done over the past seven years, in print or otherwise, has been just awful, so I have no idea what particular incident this man is referring to, but he’s going to put it into a movie unless I give him some money.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned the amount up until now, but he was asking for $20. This is a tremendous amount of money for anyone who works at the Reader, and frankly, I just don’t have it. This newspaper actually charges me thirty cents for every f-word they remove from my column each week, and it comes out to five or six dollars per article. I don’t have $20 to give away any more than I have rare breeds of siamese cats growing out of my butt. He might as well have asked me for a bag of rainbows or a talking Chinese horse.

Now, of course, we get to what was all the creepy stuff that he was going to put into the movie? The creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who worked at Chuck E Cheese. It was a long time ago, I was young, as far as I know she no longer works there, and sadly, the action itself did not take place inside a Chuck E Cheese. But it’s still embarrassing, and I wanted to admit it here first, on my own terms.

In my defense, she was very pretty. At least by my standards, which is to say she was alive and wasn’t drooling. I don’t know where she worked in the restaurant, but I know she wasn’t dressed as a giant rat, so I have that going for me. I’d also like to make it clear that the Skeeball tickets she gave me had nothing to do with the sex. The tickets were a gift, not a payment.

What’s that, reader? You thought I was going to pull a David Letterman and say I’ve had sex with women who worked for me at this newspaper? Dear God, no! Oh, that’s gross! The thought of such a thing makes me dizzy with sadness. There’s a reason why this newspaper’s columnist photos are always printed so dark.

The Reader is where old hippie ladies turn when the Duluth News-Tribune won’ t print their libelous letters anymore. All the columns should be titled, “Here’s all the things I wrote down during my last acid flashback.” I’m a man who doesn’t mind doing things just for the experience, but even I have my limits.

If I wanted to have sex with a 50-year-old conspiracy theorist who thinks Governor Tim Pawlenty is importing Republican voters through a tunnel underneath Red Lobster, then I’d . . . well, I’d have sex with a columnist from the Reader. But I don’t want that, because those are the kinds of people who have a mysterious locked shed in their backyard that they pretend doesn’t exist when you ask them about it.

And trust me, the women who work at the Reader want even less to do with me than I want to do with them. My idiotic musings are like kryptonite to these women. I’ve briefly met a few of them in person, and the violent glares they gave me upon learning who I am felt like a thousand knives forever stabbing.

“You’re the Paul Ryan who writes for the Reader? Interesting.” Then, after an extremely awkward silence, they’d walk away, realizing a punch to the mouth would just give me something else to write about.

Look, I’m not proud of this Check E Cheese coitus. I had hoped that I could move on with my life and take solace in the fact that at least I didn’t sleep with any of the animatronic Pizza Time Players from the stage show. But this horrible man is blackmailing me, so I have no choice but to reveal my shame.

I don’t plan to say much more about this particular topic, and if you ask me about it a few months from now, I’ll have no idea what you’re talking about unless you remind me that I wrote a column about it, but thank you for letting me bend your ear.


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