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Archives: Nov 2008

Let’s start a literary feud

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

 
My friend Aaron Brown has completed his first book, “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range.” As a fellow writer, I despise him greatly for this achievement, and take his completion of a book as a personal insult to me. Add the fact that Aaron is a half year younger than me, and my rage only intensifies.

When I graduated from college, I assumed I would be the first person from my class to write a book. Naturally, I also assumed I would complete said book at the age of 47, like the other one percent of aspiring writers who actually follow through with their efforts. This is how books have always been written. You come up with an idea, write six pages, and then throw the project in a closet for 28 years until you have a midlife crisis.

People under the age of 40 can’t write books. They just can’t. The level of patience and maturity needed to complete such a massive undertaking is not in the blood of the young. Only a middle-aged person with no friends, little social life, and a disdain for all modern amenities should be able to finish a book, and when they do, they should under no circumstances actually be successful in publishing it.

Thanksgiving is great for freak watching

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

 
An odd little man sits in the empty restaurant, quietly buttering his toast. He has a face that wouldn’t be unusual on a fish – thin, yet puffy at the lips – but it looks slightly odd on a person. Centuries ago, when fairy tales of magic and spells were still believed, he might have been mistaken for a frog that was kissed by a princess but never fully became human.

The man’s clothing is perfect vintage 1950s wear, not ironic or exaggerated. The faded brown bowling shirt with the tiny collar, the conservative brown slacks, and the horn-rimmed glasses are not reproductions. His entire wardrobe took years of hard work to acquire, yet it’s so simple and authentic that it’s almost unnoticeable.

The waitress asks to refill the man’s coffee, and he smiles and politely thanks her. Despite his introverted nature, he’s always friendly. He doesn’t hate people, he just hates conversations.

Californians approve gay drinking fountains

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

 
A little-known rider to California’s gay marriage ban is requiring all gays to use separate drinking fountains. The state will spend $7.3 million installing the specialized gay bubblers. Anyone who is bisexual, transsexual, or plain old vanilla gay will be forbidden from using any drinking fountain marked as “Straight”.

To be safe, any man who has not had sex with a woman in the past year will also be required to use the gay fountains. Priests, children, and unmarried people who want to go to heaven will be exempted.

“We’re not taking any chances,” said Ron Prentice, head of the California Family Council. “If there’s even a chance that someone is gay, we want them separated from normal people. I wouldn’t want my children drinking same-sex water.”

Homosexual water has never been a concern of the populace, but Prentice says it would be with the right television commercials playing four times per half-hour. While there are no medical studies or realistic examples showing gays having any effect on straight marriage, Prentice still dedicates his life to showcasing the veiled differences of others.

The morning after the election, your conservative boss became huffy

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

 
What do you think you’re doing, young man? Get that festive hat off your head! Stop singing! Is that ginger ale I smell on your breath? You’ve been partying, haven’t you? I don’t care that the first good candidate in eight years has been elected president. Today is a weekday and we do not party during the week.

There is paperwork to be filed. There are phones to be answered. There are lattes to be attained in timely manners. Your duties leave you little time for dancing, prancing, or mancing, which is a manly form of prancing. Yesterday was just an election, like any other.

Yes, I know he’s the first black president. Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid. I’m aware of minorities. I know whether they have been president or not. What’s that? No, I don’t think Ronald Reagan looked a little Asian! No, not even in low lighting! Look, I don’t care about race. Today is a work day and you will work.

Are you calling me racist? How dare you! I approvingly viewed black people on my television set back when you were still a gleam in your father’s loins! Have you ever heard of a little show called “Different Strokes”? How about “All in the Family”? I’m pretty sure there was a black person on “All in the Family”. There wasn’t? Well, they were still discussing race, so it counts.