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You are unoriginal

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

Two extremely attractive 20-somethings are standing in an elevator. One of them is listening to music on his headphones. The audience is given a moment to absorb how hip and pretty they are before the dialogue begins.

“I love The Smiths,” says the girl.

“I’m sorry?” says the guy, for some reason just now noticing the smoking hot chick that he’s been alone with in the elevator for the past few minutes.

“I said I love The Smiths,” repeats the girl.

The guy stares at her longingly. The audience swoons because they know that in the movies, when two attractive people both like the same crappy ’80s band, they will undoubtedly become soulmates.

Tips for dealing with the Hells Angels

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

The Hells Angels motorcycle club will be gathering in Carlton, MN next week for their annual quilting, needlepoint and illegal firearms rally. Although police presence will be at an all-time high, here are a few tips in case you encounter members of the notorious biker gang.

– When running away from the gang and crying like a small girl, try not to flail your arms too much. Otherwise people may think you’re a sissy.

– Contrary to pubic perception, Hell’s Angels are not angered by the color red. They’re actually red-green color blind. It’s the movement of your cape’s fabric that will enrage the bikers and cause them to charge.

– Names you should not call them include butthead, farthead, poophead, peeface, turd burglar, gaybo, gayho, gayfer, fatty, beardy, spanky, smelly, arsehole, acehole, icehole, hey you, hey you bub, hey you with the fat wife, and Captain Ladypants.

Harry Potter and the Curse of Superior

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

Harry Potter didn’t open his eyes at first. It was his nose that initially awakened, taking in the harrowing mixture of gasoline, motor oil, and vomit found in the back alleys near Tower Avenue. The moment the foul odor registered, Potter’s eyes fluttered open in horror.

It had been a long battle with Voldemort, and Potter scarcely remembered the conclusion. Like a fuzzy dream, there was a point when everything simply faded to black. Little did Potter realize that in the final moments, Voldemort had cast the magic world’s most forbidden spell upon him, the one that banishes people to Superior, Wisconsin.

Potter rose and stumbled gingerly to the back door of a place called Mama’s Bar. The smoky den was filled with withering elderly men, the sort of doomed misfits who regularly drank at 11am on a Tuesday.

Fireworks don’t expire after the fourth

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 3am, and my friend Jason’s light blue station wagon idled quietly in front of Connie’s house. The year was 1997, and it was a sweltering night in late July. Connie had agreed to go to prom with me that year, but cancelled at the last minute. Now, three months later, it was time for some payback.

Exiting the car, I crept across the lawn to her open bedroom window. Below it, I placed what the fireworks manufacturer had appropriately-named “Phantom Missile Base.” It was a box of 225 tiny rockets which, when lit, would screech and crackle at eardrum-damaging levels for two minutes straight. The store clerk guaranteed that if a person were asleep, this firework would make them believe an angry Jesus had returned.

I lit the fuse and sprinted back to the car. Jason shifted into gear, his foot hovering above the gas pedal, waiting for the firework to ignite. Thirty seconds passed, then a full minute. Nothing happened. I cursed and exited the car, once again creeping back to the window. I was a foot away and about to peer over the box when a rocket screeched past my ear. Ten more quickly followed as I fled. Every light in Connie’s house turned on as I dove through the open window of the car and we sped away.

Independence Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still light fireworks. It’s actually more fun after the holidays. The facts speak for themselves: FACT! Using fireworks is even more fun when people aren’t expecting it. FACT! Cats, dogs, and ex-girlfriends are equally terrified by fireworks after the holiday as they are before it. FACT! Old people are even more terrified, because they believe all firecrackers are gunshots aimed at their grandchildren.

Michael Jackson isn’t dead

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

Gassssssssp! Did you hear? Oh my sweet snowmobiling Lord, did you hear? Michael Jackson is in a coma! And now he’s dead! No, wait! He’s still in a coma! No, he’s dead now! Wait! Back in a coma! Sorry, I was reading TMZ before, and they’re not credible. Gasp! Entertainment Tonight says he’s dead? Oh God! Sob!

Seriously, I can’t believe how little coverage there’s been of Michael Jackson’s death. Newspapers only printed small obituaries in the back section. None of the TV networks provided live helicopter footage showing the hospital’s roof for two hours. Not a single person posted on Facebook or Twitter, claiming to be his biggest fan despite having never mentioned him before. You’d think at least one person would post “Michael Jackson is dead” with a frowny face emoticon next to it, but none of you did that, and neither did 700 of your friends. Weird.

Seriously though, to that one person who earnestly tried to link the lyrics from “Burn The Disco Out” to how Jackson died? Very amusing.

I wasn’t a big Michael Jackson fan, but I understand people’s pain. He was a man who touched a lot of people over the years. He touched people everywhere: On the radio, on MTV, and sometimes in person. His talent allowed him to touch everyone, from the eldest gent to the youngest child.