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Is This Short Enough, Jonathan?

Years ago when I lived in Madison, WI a friend of mine said some guys she knew had just started a funny little paper. I had read the little paper and agreed that it was funny. She said that I should write for the new paper. I was told that she had told the guys about me and they were willing to meet with me. The year was around 1988 or 89 and the little paper was The Onion. I never did meet with them. I hate onions and wasn’t sure I wanted to even try to be part of an organization with a name so closely resembling the name of an onion. I’ve always been a big fan of the paper and quite frankly not sure if I could have written something as consistently funny – because of my debilitating disease commonly referred to in layman’s terms as “laziness”.

For some years after, I imagined what could have been. Would they have let me join and write for free in 1989? Could I have been funny? Could I have stayed with the paper and helped grow it? Would I have moved to New York? Could I have possibly had a stint in rehab for some kind of success fueled indulgence? I would assume the rehab stint would have been for something like pills – like Johnny Cash, minus the talent. Pills are small, clean and round – much less pokey than needles.

I always imagined that I would have focused on writing short things because fewer words would mean it would take less time, thus keeping my laziness ailment in mind. I think I would have enjoyed writing obituaries. The obituary is an odd forum. One would think obituary writers would be paid on par with doctors and lawyers, but instead it’s usually a relative with some kind of writing experience who rises to the occasion.

The obituary is the last word on a person’s life. This will be something I will want some input on. Everyone should want to see at least three drafts of something before going to press with the summation of your life. I’ll set up a competition between our kids and the best obituary will up the winner’s inheritance (if any). I will need it to be concise, tell my story, yet be short enough for my friend Jonathan Gundlach to read. I’m sure he will out live me.

I’ve been trying to do more with twitter as of late. I can be followed @SpaffordJason. If I were still imaginarily writing for The Onion, I might still be writing obituary columns, but I would have moved them to twitter. Somebody more clever than me already named them “Twit Obits”.

Below are a few Twit Obits -for the easy consumption of my good friend Jonathan Gundlach.

Twit Obits for:
Auctioneer – Going, going, gone.
Sheep herder – Rest in fleece.
Farmer – Planted in the spring.
Meter Reader – Time expired.
Banker – His note matured.

Sadly yours,

Jason Spafford

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