If you’ve read this column for years, you probably know a lot about me. For instance, you know I cannot accurately recall any events from the years 1998-2002, on account of what experts call “being drunk in college”. You also know I’m a widely respected expert on bears, that I competed in the 1992 Olympics as an Irish gymnast, and that I have a bucket list with “sex with Asian lady” at the top of it. But did you also know I’m a doctor?
Well, I’m not, but I’ve decided to add the title to my name anyway. There are too many regular Paul Ryans in this world. The Twin Cities metro area has eight of them. Los Angeles has 12. Wisconsin has a Congressman with the same name, causing at least one stranger every day to make some tired joke about me running for president. The comic book world has a famous illustrator with the same name. The soap opera “As the World Turns” had a character named Paul Ryan who died while fucking a raccoon or something weird like that. Taylor Swift’s birthname was Paul Ryan before she changed it for show business.
It’s time to separate myself from this pack of fartbags. As I see it, there are only three ways to accomplish this: 1) Pretend I’m a doctor and call myself “Dr. Paul Ryan”, 2) Wear a dress and call myself “Lady Ryan”, or 3) Legally change my name to something unique and classy, like “Fanta Poon”. The first of the three options is the cheapest and easiest, so I’m going with that one.
And why shouldn’t I? Hunter S. Thompson did it. Sure, Thompson had a lot more talent and success, but did he ever poop off a balcony? I have, and it was exhilarating. The wind nipping at your bum, the danger and mystique that high altitude excreting brings, the beauty of watching a small bit of yourself soar through the air like a greenish-brown angel, the hope that a Kardashian is walking below and is not wearing a hat.
Wait! Don’t leave! I’ve done other things. Um, I have traveled to Milwaukee. I once tried to use a Canadian restroom, but got confused and left. A very exotic woman with large breasts once said hello to me in an elevator. I have seen every episode of “Sonny Spoon”, a 1980s TV show that IMDB.com described as “a show in which Mario Van Peebles gets in and out of scrapes.” I’ve never met Jack Kerouac or The Hells Angels, but “That 70s Show” actor Kurtwood Smith once offered me a soda when I delivered a script to his home.
I also own a leather couch. I’m sorry, but if someone owns a leather couch, they should be called “doctor”. Once you shell out the dough for such a luxury, the whole “mister” thing is a little misplaced, don’t you think? I bought it from Ikea, so it’s like twice what a leather couch should cost, and the cushions are sewn into the frame, which I don’t really understand. Regardless, it’s classy as all hell. We would all look good on it whilst smoking a pipe.
Granted, I’m also unemployed and do not currently own any other furniture except the couch. I also do not own an automobile, a buttoned shirt that costs more than $20 or a degree from a university that doesn’t have a hyphen in its name, but a title like “doctor” is all about the attitude. Act like a doctor and people will start calling you “doctor”. If you ask me to, I will gladly check you for any medical ailment, except penis stuff.
Dr. Paul Ryan. That’s the sort of name teenage girls write over and over again in their school notebooks while sighing audibly. That’s the sort of name presidents appoint to be the head of some sham governmental department that doesn’t actually do anything. That’s the name of a real doctor somewhere with a legitimate medical degree who will be angry when some of his patients read this and ask him why he pooped off a balcony.
My whole life, I’ve always wanted to be something special. I’m not brave enough to be an astronaut. I’m not strong enough to be a fireman. I don’t speak Spanish, so jobs cleaning the toilet at Arby’s are off the table. Life has given me no choice but to pretend to be someone who would be awarded a doctorate.
For Christ’s sake, Southampton College in New York gave an honorary one to Kermit the goddamn Frog. Don’t tell me I can’t have one. He was a puppet. I’m a real, live person who needs to get laid more often. Give one to me. An Honorary Doctorate of Being Awesome. Failing that, how about an Honorary Doctorate of Being Shitty? Or more appropriately, An Honorary Degree of Not Having Done Anything At All. I’ll take whatever you’ve got.