Thoughts on the Competition

While there are a lot of people in the world I consider to be my role models, I would like to devote some time and effort to recognize my favorite newspaper columnist. As a reward for writing many, many stories about toilets (including, but not limited to, things that bite you when you are sitting on one, how toilets are tested, and reasons to be sitting on one for the cover of a book) Dave Barry received the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. After an extensive search of the Internet and my own personal files, it appears that I have NOT been presented a similar award. I do recall, however, that in 1988 I began my literary career by spending a majority of time in my ninth grade algebra class writing “MATH SUCKS!” as large as I possibly could on my folder while the teacher was lecturing. Back then my writing style was rather terse.

Here is a little background information for everyone not up to date on newspaper humor. Dave Barry writes a weekly syndicated column and is employed by the Miami Herald. Which means Dave and I have a lot in common-especially when you remove the words “syndicated”, “Miami Herald”, and “employed” from the previous sentence.

One thing I know for sure is that Mr. Barry didn’t achieve this level of fame and fortune by just sitting on his ass all day long. Oh, wait, I think he does. Either way, I’ve been interested in learning more about how to become a humor columnist. While I’ve read all his writing, I would like to get a more personalized perspective on how Dave goes about writing a weekly column.

The only logical solution to my dilemma is to become a stalker. I could hide in the bushes near his house and observe him with the aid of several high priced pieces of military grade electronic surveillance equipment. I can just imagine what insights I could achieve:

July 3, 1999 2:05 AM: Selling one of my kidneys for these night vision goggles has really paid off. After hearing some continuous high pitch sound I believe to be either a state of the art security system or an infant who soiled him or her self, the subject went into auxiliary bedroom number one to reset the state of the system, made a short trip to the bathroom, wandered downstairs, and somewhat mindlessly sat down in front of his computer. Finally, I get to see the subject in his natural environment free of outside influences and distractions. The hunter becomes the hunted. Or is it the other way around?

July 3, 1999 2:11 AM: I’ve lost the subject. In addition it appears that I have gone blind due to a genetically engineered strain of glaucoma that has disrupted the normal operations of my optical nerves in a matter of seconds. This may very well jeopardize the entire mission.

July 3, 1999 2:15 AM: After further analysis, the cause of the problem appears to be a dead battery in the night vision goggles. Note to self-make an appointment with family optician for annual glaucoma test.

July 3, 1999 2:16 AM: Stalking operations continue as I am able to observe the subject through the reflected light of the computer monitor. It appears the subject is playing the card game known as solitaire. Subject is either unwilling or unable to move the red seven on to the black eight. Such a move would allow the exposure of an additional card. What is he waiting for? Move the seven, for the love of God, MOVE THE SEVEN!!!

July 3, 1999 2:20 AM: Observations prematurely halted for the night. In all the excitement I lost my balance and fell on top of a very thorny bush. The noise created by said incident distracted the subject, thereby making any further observations for the night useless.

The biggest problem with celebrities becoming popular enough to have deranged stalkers is the reporting by the media is always biased towards the stalkee. The report mentions tangential points such as mental illness, missed medications, and one-sided illusions of matrimony. The stalker never gets to tell his or her side of the story. I plan on eliminating this fundamental form of discrimination. Once my stalking begins, not only will I publish all of my written notes on my web site, but I will also web enable all of my surveillance equipment so I can provide a live Internet broadcast of my activities. I know there are a lot of people out there who would like to become a stalker, but lack the financial resources and ability to get off the couch to realize their dreams.

Is this a plan of action that will advance my writing career? I’m not really sure. Could it land me in jail? Quite possibly. But one way or another, I’m going to find the source of all his toilet stories.