As a long-time news-paper-man, I know full well the value of preparedness. I have always placed my gentle-men reporters where the news was about to happen, from the street-corner where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was scheduled to be shot to the powder-magazine of the great battle-ship Maine. No risk is too great for an Onion reporter if he wants to keep his job.
To this end, I occasionally force my editors to send me a list of upcoming articles. (Personally, I do not give a tinker's damn what they print in my paper, as long as a good 70 percent of the content is advertisement, but I wish for my employees to live in paralyzing terror of me.) Imagine my consternation when I came across a ready-to-run obituary for T. Herman Zweibel! I reprint it here in its entirety:
Onion Publisher Emeritus T. Herman Zweibel passed away of [CHOOSE ONE OR MORE] autoerotic impaling, colonic bursitis, consumption, elephantiasis, explosive urethral exsanguination, gangrene, gout, gunshot wounds, ingrown brains, leprosy, mange, plague, pneumonia, quinsy, rheumatism, robot assault, scrofula, spontaneous pan-corporeal organ rejection, state-ordered electrocution, transdermal vomiting, typhus and/or worms, on the night of [INSERT DATE] after an extraordinarily long illness. He was .
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the M. Prescott Zweibel Memorial Foundation For The Treatment And Cure Of Homosexual Youths."
Fits of apoplectic rage shook me as I read the unflattering obituary my overpaid Judas-goats had prepared for my demise. True, Father Time has long and cruelly sodomized me with the splintered haft of his great scythe, but I shall out-live the God-damned lot of you! Further-more, I have long since put the finishing touches on my own official obituary, a 350-page tale of heart-rending loss which details, among other things: my meteoric rise from Onion stringer to editor to publisher; my assassination at the hands of lady-actress Ethel Barrymore's jealous suitors; the thousand days of mourning which followed my death, during which a cold rain fell constantly, no bird sang, and children were born antlered and hooved; and how my hated rival, long-deceased Brickton Atlas-Trumpet editor P. Oliver Gummidge, now serves me cold sarsaparilla in Heaven. It is a wondrous obituary, and it is sad indeed that you will in all likelihood not live to read it.
T. Herman Zweibel, the great grandson of Onion founder Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel, was born in 1868, became editor of The Onion at age 20, and persisted in various editorial posts until his launching into space in 2001. Zweibel's name became synonymous with American business success in the 20th century. Many consider him the “Father Of American Journalism,” also the title of his well-known 1943 biography, written by Norman Rombauer.