Day Job Officially Becomes Job

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Vol 40 Issue 07

Former Chinese Dissident Has Your Order Ready

SAN FRANCISCO—Dr. Xu Shui Xian Liang, a founding member of the Autonomous Federation of Beijing's Workers in Tiananmen Square who spent 12 years in a labor camp for his involvement in the anti-dictatorship effort during the Cultural Revolution, is ready with your order. "That's one chipotle chicken-filet sandwich, two large regular salads—tofu bacon on one, a white-chicken-chili soup, and three low-fat blondies," said the former leader of the students' movement in the Guang Tong province. "Would you like your receipt?" Xu, who was tortured into confessing to stealing state assets in collusion with organized crime shortly before he defected to the U.S. in 1999, is sorry, he will be right back with that Diet Coke.

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

Would someone tell me how this happened? We were the fucking vanguard of shaving in this country. The Gillette Mach3 was the razor to own. Then the other guy came out with a three-blade razor. Were we scared? Hell, no.

Teen Responsible For All Six Items In Clarksburg Police Blotter

CLARKSBURG, WV—According to sources at the Clarksburg Telegram, troubled youth Danny Nathum, 17, is responsible for all six items on Monday's police blotter. "We had two disorderly-conduct reports, three counts of vandalism, and one DUI arrest," Telegram assistant editor Jesse Sutton said. "Looks like Mr. Nathum had himself one heck of a busy weekend." Clarksburg, population 16,743, last experienced an all-Nathum crime spree in December, when the teen stole a bicycle, burned down a barn, and punched Old Man Herman.

Specifics Of Hostile Takeover Fiercely Boring

NEW YORK—Details of a "hostile" bid by software manufacturer Octagon Corporation are, in fact, fiercely, mind-numbingly dull, sources reported Tuesday. "Following the SoftWave International board of directors' rejection of Octagon's unsolicited offer, Octagon essentially eliminated SoftWave as an entity by purchasing 300,000 shares at $453.35—$134.34 more than the current market value," financial analyst Bryan Falwick said, droning on endlessly about the supposedly thrilling upset. "Everyone was shocked when Octagon swooped in and nabbed controlling interest." Falwick said he assumed that the forthcoming rollout of the XSpreadsheet software suite motivated the "raid."

William Katt Programs Own Name Into TiVo

LOS ANGELES—Sources close to William Katt said Monday that the Greatest American Hero star has his own name programmed into his TiVo digital video recorder. "Bill gets really excited when he comes home and finds one of his 7th Heaven episodes or sees that he's caught House IV on Cinemax," friend Ray Morris said. "Maybe he does it so he knows to watch for a residual check." Morris said Katt also frequently scans his listing on the Internet Movie Database for errors.

I'll Tell You What I'd Do If I Were Gay

A guy from work introduced me to his boyfriend this week. He seemed pretty nice, but it was weird, because he didn't look gay at all. He was a computer programmer and looked like any fat, balding slob you'd run into on the street. I have to say, I would never let myself go like that if I were gay.

Identity Theft Safeguards

Identity theft is a growing problem in America. What does the Federal Trade Commission suggest consumers do to protect themselves?
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

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Family

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Day Job Officially Becomes Job

HILLSBORO, OR—Another human dream was crushed by the uncompromising forces of reality Monday, when the restaurant day job of 29-year-old former aspiring cartoonist Mark Seversen officially became his actual job.

Seversen, who recently gave up on the idea of making a living from his comics (below).

"After four years of washing dishes to support my drawing projects, I've made the transition to washing dishes to support myself," Seversen told reporters after punching out at the end of his shift at Tres Café. "Let's face it, this is it. This is my job. I'll never forget that moment when I transformed from an aspiring underground cartoonist into a non-aspiring restaurant worker."

In 1999, Seversen was hired as a kitchen crewmember at Tres Café. Later that year, he began to self-publish his monthly photocopied mini-comic Dishdog Days, in which he chronicled the daily trials of an underemployed college dropout who works at a restaurant while pursuing his dream of cartooning.

In 2000, Seversen distributed 12 full-sized, color issues of his comic, launched a Dishdog Days web site, and received a 75-cent-an-hour raise.

After the initial wave of progress, Seversen said financial problems and "general sloth" interrupted his publication schedule.

"While I was at work, I'd think about what I wanted to draw," Seversen said. "But once I got home, I just wanted to watch television."

By August 2002, Seversen's comic was coming out once every four months.

Tres Café waiter Neil Julian, 19, said he believes he was present when Seversen finally had the crushing realization that he was, first and foremost, a restaurant worker.

"Mark was in back cleaning out the storage shed when I went out for a cigarette break," Julian said. "He said he was the only one who ever cleaned it out, but that he sorta didn't mind, because then no one messed with his system."

Cartoon

Julian continued: "Then he said he should put something about the shed into his next comic, because it was one of those little things from life: He'd been cleaning out this same shed every month for four years. He said he really needed some material, because he hadn't put out a new issue in almost six months. At that point, he got real quiet and stared into the shed for about a minute. I figure that was when it hit him."

Sources close to Seversen said his surrender was inevitable.

"I'm not surprised," Seversen's roommate Matt Cook, 26, said. "Mark has had that look of defeat in his eyes lately, like when our friend Ray [Landry] accepted the assistant-manager position at Video Hut six months after he finished his fourth screenplay. Or when my girlfriend stopped telling people she was going to design shoes and started telling them she sold shoes at the Younkers in the Southgate mall."

In spite of the initial moment of melancholic catatonia, Seversen said he was relieved that the transition from day job to real job was complete.

"When I was younger, my attitude was 'Never give in,'" Seversen said. "Nowadays, my attitude is 'Get real, dumbass.' If I have any advice for all the young aspiring painters, novelists, and rock musicians out there, it's probably that they should quit following their dreams before they rack up a lot of credit-card debt. The sooner you accept your real job, the sooner you can start to build up seniority and get on board with the pension plan."

Experts familiar with the "day job/real job" paradigm shift agree.

"Seversen has just made the most important decision of a non-artist's life," said Gregory Gund, author of Aw, Who'm I Kidding Here? and Learning To Let Go Of The Things That Sustain You. "We all have to face the music sooner or later. You think I wanted to write crappy self-help novels and speak about them at low-rent seminars in the conference rooms of cheap chain hotels?"

Gund continued: "I'll never forget the day I traded in my bass amp for a dot-matrix printer. I sat in the bathtub for about two hours that day, staring at the reflection of my receding hairline in the cold water. Sometimes, I wish I'd plugged that amp in and hauled it into the tub with me. But, hey, we can't all be the next Geddy Lee, right?"

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