As the publisher of the greatest news-paper the Republic has ever seen, I have not had a peace-ful existence. My thousand daily cares are like great chains of iron on my spirit, and my soul shrivels inside me as if weeping heart's-blood from a thousand cuts. And being an ulcerated, leprous 132-year-old man with cast-iron dentures and prosthetic ears doesn't help one God-damned bit.
The one consolation I have in my advanced state of decline is my dear, dear son, N. Aeschylus, whose tread upon the stair is that of a joyous bull-dozer, whose metallic shriek of laughter wakes me with a start every 10 minutes.
Indeed, N. Aeschylus' antics recently provided me, albeit inadvertently, with my only moment of true peace in more than 75 years. As he sported playfully around my bed-chamber, amusing me as I lay helplessly in my iron-lung, he happened to brush against the iron lung's padded head-piece. Quicker than it takes to tell, the collar which held me fast in the mechanism's cold embrace popped open. The force of N. Aeschylus' gallivant thrust my head inside like a musket-ball up a constipated Hessian. Just as quickly, the brass sea-hatch on the outside clanged shut, sealing me inside my iron-lung!
I opened my mouth to cry out in the darkness, but it quickly filled with the warm, briny solution in which my carcass is suspended. Panicked, I added a good deal of my own body's effluvia to the mixture. I flailed meekly about in the viscous fluid for several minutes before realizing that, for the first time in living memory, I was actually quite comfortable!
The darkness, warmth, and total absence of sound I experienced as I floated in the iron-lung were much like that of the womb. Like many people, I have always wanted to return to the womb. But in early days, I was discouraged by my dear mother, and I later became engrossed in business. But my time in the iron-lung was peaceful, indeed, although it stank. And, unlike the time I spend in the uncertain realm of sleep, I was not haunted by hundreds of betrayed and uneasy ghosts.
Unfortunately, I was removed by my steam-fitters before I drowned inside. What's worse, I cannot repeat the experience, as I suffered a horrible case of the bends. So my pain in life is doubled again, but it was worth the five or so minutes of Elysian respite I experienced. Dear N. Aeschylus! He may cause all the accidents he wants if they are all so blessed!
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.