"I am an Ignoramus" is our weekly Ignoramus contest! Are you an
Ignoramus? Write a 400-word article on some matter of interest to you, and send
it in. If you're an Ignoramus, it will be apparent. Each week's winner will get
their article printed here for our enjoyment. This week's winner is, once again,
our own Clark Hrumpher. Clark is writing this piece under the pseudonym
"Anonymous," so let's humor him.
Back to Page 5
I write a
life-affirming teen trivia column in this shitty little town. And it has long
been displeasing to me that my column is extremely popular only amongst those
few who read it. The rest, well ... when I say that I do not want the attention
of those stupid enough to make me beg for it, understand that I only insult my
fellow citizens as a way of getting them to pay attention to me. So that begging
will not be necessary. But you do not listen.
Yes, yes, I am aware that it is always better to threaten than
to beg. Tried that: for ten years I have warned one and all that if they do not
read, say, my miscellaneous reviews, then it is quite possible that I will
respond by using them to recommend the wrong movies, music, and convenience
foods. Or, worse, I will not mention those eateries, politicians and
trends to be avoided; and my readers would be left to fend for themselves and we
know what happens then. I've even threatened to write items of miscellany that
meander and do not amuse. You can see how unpleasant that can be.
Sometimes I used to wonder why I ever
went into the shitty people-helping business. Maybe [Regrettably for Clark,
the following three column inches have been sold to an advertiser. - ed.]
course I am aware that there is no God; and I'd find myself thinking, late at
night: I wish ... I wish they all could be stricken with ... Retinitis Cataractica. Or some other awful vision impairment of my own design. Then they'd want to
read my column but could not; and they'd be the ones suffering. But I
lack the man-power for such a scheme.
But sometimes problems have a funny way of simply ... solving
themselves if you just leave them alone and, you know, complain about them
(see above). And complain I did. To a special friend of mine. A man I'm sure
you've heard of and secretly envy.
When, 5 years ago, I went to see the Unabomber give a guest lecture at
Kane Hall, little did I think that he would one day make his way into my circle
of associates and come to be considered my friend. I discovered that he had a
lot in common with me: we both liked to read; I was delighted to find that we'd
both be excellent dancers if we cared at all for dancing; we both lived at home
with our moms, although not by choice; we are both mildly troubled but on the
whole quite amused by the problems that have befallen this "Ted Kazinsky" person
or whatever silly name the FBI has come up with.
When the Unabomber convinced the New York Times to publish his
boring little 280,000-word current-events treatise simply by establishing a
reputation for himself as something of an eccentric, I couldn't have been more
delighted and was determined to do him one better: I sent along a wise, witty
400,000-word item of miscellany to the Seattle Times, making sure to write "the
Unabomber" in the return address corner, since apparently that's all it takes
The parcel was
returned to me. Unopened. Swine. I've been writing miscellany since I was
a child. Don't they know I am trying to save lives? I flew to Atlanta to
confer with my friend.
I said, after we two had polished off an entire roast pig, "Ever since you
became a professional writer I can barely stand the sight of you."
"Carl," he said mistakenly (he is a
Southerner and stupid), "If you want to save people's lives, first you gotta get
their attention. There's just no other way. They gotta know you're serious. You
gotta kill 'em."
taken; but I wouldn't stoop to that level. Regular readers of my column know how
I feel about capital offenses: it is far more difficult -- and thus more
rewarding -- to irritate someone than it is to kill him. Oh, don't get me
wrong. I could easily kill the entire editorial board of the Times. Child's
play. But how much more satisfying to make them miserable for a day or two. Give
them something to think about. It comes down to this: you can't make a
lasting impression on a prospective employer if you kill him in the process.
That's where the Unabomber's strategy goes awry. I've tried to explain that to
him but he is controlled by his emotions.
For attracting attention, letter-bombs are fine and all. But
Naughty Faxes are more my style. A Naughty Fax is as follows: I fax The Times a
page from my original 400,000-word item of miscellany, but, just before
inserting it into my fax machine, I soak it in tar. So that, when it comes out
of the machine at their end, it gunks up the works.
And whichever Times board member is in
charge of fax machine repair and upkeep will take note. Will he ever.
And when I send my 400,000-word item of
miscellany again they will think, "Say. This is the same item of miscellany as
the one faxed to us unfortunately soaked in tar."
Again, to send a Naughty Fax (or Fax
of Malice), all you need is an item of miscellany, a fax machine [I do not
own a fax machine so I use the ones at Kinko's, which are effectively mine by
way of my tax dollars, which subsidize corporate greed] and common tar -- or, if
you want to save lives, non-oxynol -- which, on visits to L.A., I steal from
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