"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger."--Franklin Jones

From September 2004 to February 2006, I tried to get some comedy published on the awesome McSweeney's site -- to no avail. The closest I came is a piece my very talented fiancee Wendy Molyneux and I co-wrote called Dispatches From Couples Therapy that was published in May 2005. (Wendy, it should be noted, is a regular contributor to the site.)

Then finally, just in time for my honeymoon and my 40th birthday, I did it. McSweeney's published a piece I wrote called But I'd Really Have To Kill You. And then me and the other Megan Mullally Show writers wrote a couple lists that McSweeney's published last November.

Below are my failed attempts. In retrospect, I can understand why most of them didn't make the cut. I still think they're pretty funny though.

submitted August 2005
  • Hitler was right! (About this location!)
  • The final solution to all your vacation needs!
  • Comfort uber alles.
  • Arbeit macht frei -- but relaxation macht frei-er.
  • Complimentary continental breakfast.

submitted July 2005
  • You are 24.
  • You live in your mom's basement.
  • You still work at Kinko's, and you're not even the manager yet.
  • She's never been to Denton, TX.
  • She doesn't know you.

submitted July 2005
March 10
OK. This time for sure. I'm definitely going to journal every day now. I know I've made that promise before, but I'm rededicating myself to the process. Only through daily journaling can I learn to grow and feel better about myself. I'm a good squirrel. Other squirrels like me. My therapist is right, I'm focusing too much on the negative and not on the positive. I have a lot to be happy about. It's spring and I'm single and there's all kinds of nuts in the trees. Life is good. Life IS good. Life. Is. Good.

March 11
Day two of my new, improved attitude and things are looking up. I took a little time to do some self-affirming chatter from the top of Big Oak today. It's that whole theory of throwing positive energy out to the universe and knowing the universe will reciprocate. You get what you give, right? Well, it's true. After my treetop chatter, I found a whole cluster of sweet, soft, young acorns. They were perfect! Light green turning to brown. I gorged a little on them, and then napped away the rest of the day, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Listen up, universe! I'm no longer self-critical! I'm not counting nuts anymore. That's a one-way trip to Negative Town. And that, my friend, is a bad place to visit.

March 12
Man, I love nuts. I know a lot of squirrels say that, but I REALLY love nuts. Like more than anything. Sometimes it breaks my heart a little bit to bury them, because I know that I might forget where they are, or that some other squirrel will find them, or that the seed will germinate and grow into a tree. Sure, that tree will eventually grow tall enough to bear more nuts. But those are "future nuts," and I'm mostly interested in "now nuts," "nuts in the now." Nuts now! Nuts now! Nuts now! Jesus, I really do have problems, don't I?

March 15
I feel really fat today. I know I'm supposed to tell myself, "No, Black Spot on Tail, you're just fluffier than usual, because of the cold snap." But what I really want to say is, "Wow, I'm really letting myself go. I'm really getting chunky." I know I've been enjoying the nuts a little too much lately. I know I've been napping a little more than usual. But I deserve it, don't I? Maybe I'm putting a little weight on, but who fucking cares, right? Whose fucking business is it but mine? Other squirrels' opinions shouldn't matter, as long as I'm happy. And I'm happy. I am. I am happy inside. Even if I am getting fat.

March 19
I've been fucking kidding myself. I am fat. I'm a big, fat, disgusting squirrel. I've got to get my shit together!

March 20
Here's the new plan. Twenty trips back and forth across the power lines to Tall Sycamore a day, three to five days a week. I used to go there all the time -- until Always Nuts in Mouth was eaten by Orange Cat. But no one has seen the cat since last year, and I've just been using that as a convenient excuse NOT to go over there. I've become too complacent. Too happy with Big Oak and the plentitude of tender nuts it provides. I could use the exercise, I could use the change of scenery, and I could use a little variety in my diet. It's the perfect plan -- and so easy too! Also, there's no reason I can't do crunches while I'm gathering my thoughts every morning. That's DEFINITELY something I can do every day.

April 19
I know! I know! I promised to keep my journal every day. But why write when all I can think is how little anything really matters? Yes, journal, I know that sounds dark, but it's the truth. It's what I'm really feeling. And didn't I promise you only the truth? Well, here it is, dear journal. Yesterday, I found myself again in the middle of Fuller Avenue, with no recollection of why I was crossing it in the first place. I couldn't even remember which side of the street I was coming from. So I headed toward one side, then the other, then back. I couldn't decide what to do. And then, with cars coming from both directions, I froze. But I wasn't scared. I was relieved. I felt a weight lifted from my chest as I stared at the honking car bearing down on me. I just closed my eyes and relaxed. And I have to be honest. When the car screeched to a stop, I was disappointed. Yes I was. I hopped slowly across the OTHER LANE -- in front of more traffic! -- and climbed halfway up Bent Sugar Maple and just hung there until darkness fell. I've never felt more defeated, more useless, more alone. Why the fuck am I here? Seriously.

September 10
Darkness. All I have is nuts. How fitting, eh? When all is said and done, I'm left with nuts. It's like a Carver story. I'm such an asshole.

accepted May 2005

submitted January 2005
  • The Five Parking Spaces You Get to Use in Heaven
  • The Seven Condiments Available to You in Hell
  • The Four Original Star Trek Castmembers You Get to Meet
    This Weekend Only at the San Diego Sci-Fi/Fantasy Con
  • The Nine Things I Ate or Drank Out of my Hotel Room Minibar
  • The Three Hats I Wore in Spain

submitted December 2004

  • Take it to a basketball game and launch it into the crowd from one of those T-shirt cannons.
  • Strap one to each foot and wear them like shoes.
  • Lecture it about the importance of honesty, but then lie to it all the time.
  • Use it as a puck, and score a goal from center ice.
  • Get it hooked on smack.
  • Put stamps on its shell and mail it somewhere, like Riyadh or North Dakota or something.
  • Take it to Vegas, put it on black 28 and let it ride.
  • Tell it that it's the only turtle for me, but keep another turtle in an apartment downtown.

submitted November 2004

  • gauche
  • Brownian motion
  • heretofore
  • Machiavellian
  • pedantic
  • dues ex machina
  • huggable
  • Emily Dickinson

submitted September 2004

  • Hello, eels!
  • Don't blow the midgets too soon.
  • My brother went with a thing.
  • I am a vine. I am a cow. I am spaghetti.
  • Don't have kids.
  • The box causes things to happen.
  • So little done, so much to do.
  • For now, it's OK to blow the midgets?


Content © 1999-2006 Jeff Drake