If you have a shallow mind and can think deep thoughts, you too can become a successful columnist or blogger and earn a fraction as much as you can by wearing a paper hat, standing behind a small window, and asking, “Do you want fries with that?”
I once got a call from a reader who complained that I had referenced the wrong Muppett movie in a column. I had this to say about that: “Surely you jest. I cannot be bothered by time-consuming details like fact checking and research. Why do you think I am a blogger instead of a journalist? I mean, besides the fact that no reputable publication would hire me?”
All of my stories contain a germ of truth, but most are more germ than truth. I carefully edit out any dull facts with the delete key, which is the cybernetic equivalent of Wite-Out. I lie to my readers because real life sometimes is so dull as to be stupefying. You have no idea how liberating it is to be removed from the constraints of truth.
After many years of stretching the truth in order to get a laugh, my nose has reached such Pinocchio-like proportions that I can now type with it, leaving my hands free to sandpaper its splinters and prune the excess foliage from its nostrils.
With that in mind, I will use this week’s blog to answer some questions from my readers.
- Is it possible to amass a fortune so large that you can afford to hand out one- hundred-dollar bills to Trick-or-Treaters? Yes, as long as you are willing to moonlight as a drug dealer or a hooker.
- Can I achieve great fame as a columnist or blogger? Yes, it is common for a columnist or blogger to have regular contact with Hollywood celebrities. For example, I once used the restroom stall right next to Adam Sandler’s cleaning lady’s cousin. I have her autograph on a section of toilet paper if you want to see it.
- My vocabulary and grammar and punctuation skills are poor. Will that hinder my success? Of course not! I have found that if you join every phrase and clause with the word “and,” you can avoid using any punctuation at all for an entire paragraph. If you feel you must use punctuation, look through the dictionary for lots of big words, like “ramification” and “antebellum” then string them together with colons and semicolons, placed every eight-to-ten words.
- What if I am stricken with writers’ block? The truth is seldom as interesting as as an unfounded rumor. How else do you explain the success of the tabloids? Make up a story. Write a fictional account of a riot by Aborigines who are protesting the height of the urinals in the restrooms in the Australian Park System. This is way more interesting than an automakers’ strike in Detroit or a 20-point increase in the Dow Jones average.
- How can I come up with a good lede to my story? Here is a good example: “Philanthropic philatelist’s photo of a philodendron to compete with pharmacologist’s phenomenal photo of pheasants in Philadelphia Photography contest, with the winner to advance to the Phoenix finals.” Readers will be so impressed by your alliterative skills that they will not bother to read the rest of the article, so fill the space with “blah, blah, blah, blah.” Don’t forget the semicolons.
- How important is it to quote accurately? Remember this is not true journalism, so just get the gist of what your subject says and put quotes around it. This is especially fun with politicians. For instance, if he promises, as it was reportedly said by the late Herbert Hoover’s supporters (unless I am making that up) “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” change it to “You are chicken if you don’t smoke pot and have a stolen car in your garage.” That’s close enough. He probably will be amused.
- If you follow these guidelines, you too can share the power, the fame, and the glory of a writing career. Give my regards to the Pulitzer committee.