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Showing posts from February, 2015

Successful Column Writing Secrets

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2004.

Despite my complaints that I don't have many readers or get enough feedback from them, I actually have some great readers who write to me on a regular basis.

Many of them ask me if I would like to refinance my home, buy male enhancement pills, or tell me that they know of another reader — usually a hot Russian woman — who wants to meet me.

I get hundreds of these messages every day. It's messages like this that makes my life of writing worthwhile. I really feel the joy when, for example, a Nigerian prince offers me millions of dollars for my work.

Occasionally, people will ask me "How far out do you write your columns?"

Way far out, man. It's, like, groovy, you know.

"No, no," they say. "How far in advance do you write your columns?"

I'd like to say I write my columns weeks in advance, and that I am well prepared for any emergency. But I'd also like to say t…

Support Group of Misfit Toys

According to Arthur Rankin, the Dolly for Sue's problem was that she was rejected by her girl, Sue, which gave her psychological problems and she believed she was unlovable.

Heather: Thank you all for coming to group today. I know the weather's been rather cold and dreary, and we're all fighting cabin fever. But we're in our safe space, where we can discuss and own our pain without judgment or fear. Who'd like to share first?

(No one answers.)

Heather: Charlie, how about you?

Charlie: Well. . .

Heather: Come on, Charlie. You haven't shared with the group since before Christmas. I'm sure we'd all like to hear from you.

Melvin: Yeah, come on, Charlie. Let's hear your share.

Charlie: Alright. I haven't shared anything because I was sure I was going to get called up this year. But since you-know-who didn't come to the island again — that's 10 years running, you fat jerk! — I just stayed scrunched inside my box. I literally haven't talked to a…

I've Been Shaving All Wrong

Apparently I've been shaving wrong for the last 33 years.

At least that's what a fancy shaving store saleswoman hinted at when we discussed my shaving habits.

I recently stepped into The Art of Shaving store where they sell different versions of a four-step shaving kit for many, many dollars. Things like scented oils, fancy foams, and brushes made from badger hair.

Plus a perfectly balanced nickel-plated razor handle for $200.

I really, really liked the perfectly balanced nickel-plated razor handle.

The saleswoman said the razor handle is "perfectly balanced" to aid with "blade pull."

Because that's a thing now, apparently.

"How are you this morning, Mr. Deckers?" they'll ask at my coffee shop one morning.

"Not too good, Zach," I'll say. "My blade pull was a little off today."

"Ah, that explains the arterial spray on your shirt."

The saleswoman tried to convince me of the wonder and beauty of their four-st…

Life as the Outsider Writer

I was always kind of awkward growing up. I wasn't one of the popular kids, the jocks, or the rich kids. I was the weird kid who did weird things. I played soccer and raced bicycles.

I was an athlete, I just wasn't one of Indiana's preferred athletes: football, basketball, or baseball. Other than playing football my freshman year, I didn't play the Big Three.

In 1980s Indiana, people looked at you funny if you played sports usually played by other people who didn't speak English.

To further cement my awkward outsider status, I was in the band. I was a band geek. I hung out with other band geeks, caused trouble with them, and made music jokes like, "Why did the dumb kid become a bass player? Because his mom told him to stay out of treble."

Compared to the theatre kids, we were awesome.

As a band geek, I was usually on the outside, looking in, but it didn't bother me.

I never liked what was "in," and so on the days I "looked in," I di…