Thursday, August 13, 2009


Some of you may recall that last month, I entered a contest to become a columnist for McSweeny's Internet Tendency. Their website stated that winners would be announced August 7th.

You noticed that nothing was said on the 7th? Yeah, me too. I assumed, since I hadn't been contacted, that I had not won. Still, I obsessively refreshed the page all weekend, because I wanted to know who had won (and therefore against whom I could plot massively violent and needlessly complicated revenge.)

Some boilerplate "We will contact winners this week" appeared on Tuesday, the 11th. This gave me renewed hope that my writing career might actually have a snowball's chance in hell. In retrospect, I should have known this was false hope, as nothing good has ever come from a potential employer missing a deadline announcement.

So, as you can guess, I didn't get the gig. Apparently I didn't even make it to the finals. However, my soul-crushing loss is your win, since you get to read my submission. No, go on, read and enjoy. I'll just be over here in the corner, sobbing uncontrollably...

Ladies and Gentlemen:

My name is Erin Palette, and I intend to be your next writer. My column, titled "One from Column A, one from Column B" (because "Chinese Fire Drill" is apparently racist and insensitive these days, or so my anger management counselor tells me) is what happens when you take something popular – be it a movie, an activity, a game, etc – and bash it over the head with a completely arbitrary and contrary style, author, or genre until something allegedly funny emerges. Step three: profit!

Hey, it worked for that Grahame-Smith hack with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Example column:

Grand Theft Auto: Sesame Street

"I gotta problem," the Grouch had told him, "a problem only you can solve, Niko." Of course no one had told him that the problem was retrieving a blue Muppet out of his mind on LSD-laced cookies, who even now was trying to eat the steering wheel while screaming at the top of his lungs.

"Motherfucker!" Niko growled as he pulled the Shelby GT Cobra through a bootlegger reverse and into a narrow alley. He was desperate to find the hospital, because he wanted this job done and because those wide googly eyes were freaking him out.

"God damn it!" he shouted into his cell phone, cranking the wheel hard to avoid getting t-boned by a garbage truck as he exited the alley. "Ernie, I don't care about your duckie! I just wanna know if you can tell me how to get to Sesame Street!"

And then the police were on his ass, red and blue on black and white like a Muppet orgy, their siren rising in hideous counterpoint to the keening howl of Cookie Monster on one hell of a bad trip. The traffic lights went green, yellow, red – red means STOP – but Niko didn't stop for anything.

Alto, said the radio. Alto means stop in Spanish. Alto. Alto. Aaaaaaaaltooooooooooo.

Against his will, Niko started counting the number of traffic violations he was committing. One, two, three – THREE points against his license for failure to obey a traffic light.

Ernie was now singing something about sheep, or maybe sleep, Niko wasn't entirely sure. "Jesus, Ernie, if you aren't gonna help me then hand the phone to Bert!"

Bert began muttering something about pigeons and their roosting patterns and how Niko needed to look for a brownstone with a particular shade of pigeon crap on it to know when to turn left to get to Susan's Clinic. Just then, something small and red and furry bounded out into traffic.

Screaming. Squealing. Smashing. Shattering. Smearing. Slaughter. All begin with the letter S. Small as he was – small also begins with S – the shattered form of Elmo was little more than a speedbump (also S) to Niko's speeding (S again) car.

S stands for Suspended License, intoned the radio.

Thirty – THIRTY, ah ah ah ah ah – moving violations later, Niko screeched to a halt in front of the Friendly Methadone Clinic to deliver the OD'ing Cookie Monster into the waiting arms of Nurse Susan Robinson.

He slumped, exhausted, in one of those cheap plastic waiting room chairs that had probably been there since the 70s. This was America? This was the land of opportunity his cousin had told him about?

And that's when he saw it, the Sunny Day to sweep all his clouds away, a beautiful vision beckoning him to come and play, that everything would be a-okay.

"Hiya, Niko!" shouted Big Bird. She looked beautiful, if a little trashy, naked under that bright yellow plumage. "You looked sad so I brought you some 'hot coffee'!" She winked knowingly and nodded towards the nearby broom closet.

X is for X-Rays, paged the intercom.

(Today's episode is brought to you by the letters C and J and the number 420.)

Other installments of my column:

Magic: the Bond-ing:
"The name is Bond. Fastbond." With that, secret agent 007 tapped a forest and let a handful of land cards tumble from his hand. The countess across the table from him gasped as he insouciantly dialed his life counter back seven points. Of course, little did she know that this was a special Q-Division life counter, one that would surreptitiously increase his life by one every 3.5 turns – enough to give him the edge, but not enough to win the game for him. For that, he would need to up the stakes.

"Just to keep things interesting, why don't we make this a hand of Strip Magic? Say, for each point of damage I do to you, you remove an article of clothing?" With that, he winked and sipped his martini…

Star Wars, written in the manner of a gay sex romp:
Luke gasped at the magnificence of Ben's lightsaber as it extended to its full length with a low throaty hiss. It throbbed with power, and yet Ben wielded it with the ease and confidence of a man experienced with all aspects of his weapon.

"Your father's lightsaber," Ben murmured softly, almost sensuously, the words round and velvety across his lips. "Not as clumsy or random as a blaster." Luke ached to touch it, to hold it, to use it as his father once had… no doubt under Ben's expert tutelage.

Power Rangers as if written by Frank Miller:
Green. White. Red. Black.

Money. Innocence. Blood. Death.

I've been them all, seen them all, done them all.

(Well, except for yellow and pink, but those are pussy colors. And I'm no pussy. I'm anything but.)

I'm the God Damned Tommy Oliver, and I will morph you a new asshole if you fuck with me.


  1. Sorry you didn't win. Whoever did must've entered a pretty damn sublime work of brilliance to have beaten you out of the gig.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Don't think about Star Wars innuendo.
    Don't think about Star Wars innuendo.
    Don't think about Star Wars innuendo.
    Han shot first... Dammit!

  4. "Pull out, Wedge, you're not doing any good back there!"

    "You came in that? You're braver than I thought."

    Etc. Star Wars is a phenomenally dirty movie when taken out of context.


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