Voyd of Course

"It's like the Onion, only skinnier!" --Milton Swift "Still worth the price of the paper it's not printed on." --Felicia DuBois "The unspeakable, spoken." --Malin Wuptke "More interesting than computer solitaire, though perhaps not so effective a distraction from the void." --Harlan J. Rippington "Satire today, history tomorrow." --Steven Wallace

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Location: Santa Fe, NM, United States

In 1966, I wrote a fake newspaper article under the headline "JACK CASS SETS WORLD SHOWERING RECORD." Mr. Yohans, my 9th grade English teacher, liked it so well that he read it aloud--to much not-quite-suppressed giggling, at the sound of which, Mr Yohans said, "What? What? Did I miss something here?" I spent the rest of the afternoon in Principal Leon Duff's outer office. When Mr. Duff, who was a busy man, decided he didn't have time to see me, his secretary sent me back to the classroom, where I was greeted like McMurphy returning from solitary. Emboldened by my de facto exoneration, my friends began work on their own fake news stories. I remember a spate of Russian names in the stories, including "Ivan Kutchikokoff" and "Ivan Jerkinov." Needless to say, our newly suspicious teacher sent both of my friends to Mr. Duff's office, where they were not as bureaucratically blessed as I had been. They sat detention for a week. This I took as a lesson in subtlety--and in how to start a commotion and slip from the room before the law comes down.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

U.S. News

MacArthur "Over Achiever" Award winning poet Greg
Mott (right) demonstrates firearm safety to young customer.


New York—Greg Mott, a 42 year old poet with an IQ of 115, well below “genius” level, was shocked to receive the early morning call in his Waukeegan, Wisconsin, split-level home. “I thought it was one of my buddies down at Marty’s Blast & Spin,” Mott said, referring to the local outdoor sports store where he works. “Though it was a pretty sophisticated joke, I guess.”

In fact, it was Stuart Davis from the MacArthur Foundation informing Mott that he’d been awarded a $12,500 MacArthur “Over-Achiever” Award. Not quite the six-figure stipend the Genius Awards carry, but enough to keep Mott in paper and contest fees for quite a while.

“We don’t want to risk anyone getting excited and quitting his or her day job,” Davis said. “We want to honor their achievements, which are all out of proportion to their talents, but we don’t want to send the wrong message. Publishing a sonnet in the Waukeegan Register’s ‘Bard’s Corner’ is not the stuff on which immortality--or financial security--is founded.”

Mott is best known for placing second in the Wisconsin State Poetry Society’s annual “Celebration of the Panfish” contest for his “Walleye Sutra.”

Another MacArthur Over-Achiever Award winner is Charles Martin of Provincetown, Massachusetts, a 65 year old watercolorist known for his crisply-limned sand dunes, driftwood, sea gulls, and snow fences. “Mr. Martin may have been the first beach artist to include lobster traps,” Davis said. “And his relentless pursuit of the perfect float-and- rope combination sets him apart from the legions of souvenir-shop artisans.” In the official citation from the judges, Martin was lauded for his “more-than-sophomoric, but considerably less-than-senioric efforts.”

Provincetown Times art critic, Leslie Shaw-Mumford was quick to second the MacArthur Foundation’s choice. “He’s done pretty well, considering,” she effused.


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