It sounds awfully pretentious to call yourself a “writer.” But I get paid to write stuff, so I guess it’s fair to say I am (even though I don’t own the requisite number of turtlenecks.) And I’m not getting used to it.
This week, I have a column in the Isthmus newspaper, a local weekly here in Madison. You can pick it up for free at select eateries and such.
The column is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at what the state Department of Transportation does and doesn’t allow on its license plates. As you can see in the article, there’s some pretty inoffensive stuff that they ban – if people want to pay extra to put that stuff on their plates, why not let them? Anyway, the piece is a (questionable) attempt at humor. (A sentiment lost on the column’s sole internet commenter, who rips me for the “uneducated” article.)
As I was sitting yesterday at Chin’s eating my Mongolian beef, I noticed an older gentleman pick up a copy of the newspaper, walk over, and sit down. (Side note: Why do we still eat Mongolian beef? Like, Genghis Khan was known for murder, rape, looting, and… a delicious stir fry? That’s like saying “Stalin was a murderous dictator… but have you tried his chicken salad recipe?)
As the guy started flipping through the Isthmus, I have to admit – I couldn’t stop watching him. I peeked over every few seconds to see if he had gotten to my page yet. He read pretty slowly as he shoveled sweet and sour chicken under his giant mustache.
Then, he finally got to the page with my column. I started sweating. All I wanted was a chuckle. Maybe just a sweet and sour hesitation while he read a line he liked.
Nothing. He flipped the page and moved on. I slumped. My attempt to expand my audience to chicken-loving mustachioed-Americans failed.
As I finished my beef, I got up to leave. Just then, I saw another guy walk over with a copy of the paper in his hand. I actually considered staying to watch him read. One for two would be pretty good, right?
But then I saw a danger sign: HE WAS WEARING A FANNY PACK. Definitely not my crowd. As we know, fanny pack wearers are devoid of humor – otherwise they’d always be laughing at how ridiculous they look.
I slunk out. Damn you, Chin’s. Damn you, newspaper reading public. I AM A WRITER!
On a positive note, the old guy with the mustache and I are now dating.