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Archives: Jun 2008

The Elsens were right

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

It was a beautiful afternoon when I stepped up to the plate for what would be one of three strikeouts that day. The catcher crouched into position, the pitcher set himself, and my eyes focused on the mound with a deep concentration that few people could break.

“Hey, Nintendo!” shouted a boy from the dugout, mocking my hilariously narrow stance at the plate. “You forgot your balls in the dugout! You brought your pussy to the plate instead!”

I grumbled and focused again, determined to regain my composure. There was silence now, and my confidence returned. From the chain-link fence behind the plate came another voice, nearly identical to the one in the dugout. “Swing and a miss, comin’ up! Swing and a miss!”

It was the boy in the dugout’s father, and they were mocking me together. They were the Elsens, and their sole form of entertainment in life seemed to be my inability to excel at high school sports. I had become a source of father-son bonding for them. My suckiness was killing the team, but it was strengthening the Elsen family.

Dear Penthouse Forum

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

Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought this would happen to me, but I got laid off last week.

No, not laid. I didn’t have sex. I got laid off. From my job. Sure, maybe this letter isn’t in the same spirit as most of the letters you print, but I’ve written to Penthouse Forum so many times that you’ve become like a best friend. A best friend who has an unending string of erotic encounters with sexy co-workers and his mother’s naughty friends, and who charges me $4.99 to hear them.

Remember when I wrote you that letter about the older woman I met in Kmart whose “leathery skin was like a saddle, worn from overuse but begging to be ridden again”? That was fake, but it was probably the sexiest letter you’ve ever refused to print. Remember when I wrote you about how I seduced my 48-year-old neighbor, whose “body was like a rusty old Dodge Caravan, large and full of odd noises”? You didn’t print that one either. Fortunately it was also merely a fantasy. But remember when I told you the tale of that hooker I slept with who looked like Nancy Reagan? That one was true, and you still didn’t print it.

If you can shower in two minutes, you have failed

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

How long did you spend in the shower this morning, reader? 10 minutes? 15 minutes? You greedy sack of shit. How dare you! Mother Earth is screaming in pain as you overwash your genitals! Mother Earth also screams every time you shave, do laundry, or flush a toilet that only has urine in it.

I recently read an article about eco-friendly college houses where a whiteboard is placed outside the bathroom. The residents record how long it took them to shower that morning, and the winner gets the satisfaction of knowing they did the poorest job of washing themselves.

The day the reporter visited the house, the winning shower was two minutes and 18 seconds. I suppose that’s not hard when you skip the unnecessary parts of showering, like getting wet or washing your body with soap. Why not just line everyone up in the backyard each morning and spray them with the hose?

Two minutes is way too short. It takes me at least five minutes in my daily shower to mutter angrily about all the things I hate in my life. Then I spend a few minutes washing my hair and soaping myself, and then I fall asleep standing up. My shower ends when the hot water in my apartment runs out and I wake up.

Let’s have a talk about drinking, you little jerks

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

You know a war has been going on way too long when states start proposing to lower the drinking age. Politicians becoming interested in a cause only young people care about? That’s your prize after 4,000 of you die in an unnecessary war. Yay! The deaths weren’t in vain!

Yes young people, your time has come. After nearly seven years of grizzly war, the age-old argument of “Old enough to be shot by an Arab, old enough to legally puke on your own shoes” is back again. Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Kentucky are proposing lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.

It’s convenient to have Wisconsin included, because many 18-year-olds there are so fat and inbred that they look like they’re 30, which bolsters the argument that they should be able to drink. It’s also convenient that Kentucky is included, because it allows journalists to post photos of Jack Daniel’s bottles along with their articles. I used to be a journalist, so I know firsthand how much they love posting photos of JD in professional newspapers. It makes them feel rebellious.

As longtime readers of this column might suspect, I’m heavily in favor of lowering the drinking age. But what may surprise you is that it’s not because I’m a bitter anarchist who wants to turn America into a Mad Max style playground for drunks and bastards. I support it because it will actually keep kids safer.

My Wikipedia profile

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

Paul Christopher Ryan (born May 4, 1979) is an American writer, newspaper columnist, and general nuisance. Some of his most memorable work includes that column he wrote about his bowel movements, that column he wrote about his ass, and that column he wrote about his dick.

Paul Ryan was born Edmund Shirley del Monte in his hometown of Vagicourse, MN. After years of physical abuse – wherein his cigar-smoking mother forced him to collect Nazi artifacts and then beat him with them – Ryan ran away from home to secretly live in the backyard of poet Robert Bly. Bly, quite old and senile, thought Ryan was a stray cat and brought him saucers of milk and canned tuna fish each morning.

Ryan was a horrendous athlete in school. As a boy, he would often cry after striking out in baseball, and would repeatedly pretend he had low blood sugar during football practice so he wouldn’t have to run sprints. In high school, Ryan hit a growth spurt but found he was still shitty at both baseball and football. His crowning achievements included dropping the only pass thrown to him in a varsity football game, and getting beaned in the ass by a pitcher who later played minor league ball for the Minnesota Twins.