Sir, no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
-- Samuel Johnson
Hello. If you're a first-time visitor to these pages, I suggest that you return to the main page and read some of the columns there before you trouble your tender noggin with what I'm about to say here. If, however, you happen to be among the millions (oh, ok, thousands) of regular visitors to TWD, listen up.
You may have noticed that no one asked you for a credit card number when you came to visit. That's because TWD has always been, and will remain,
However (here it comes...), I would also like to be able to eat, as would my two loyal but (snfff...) elderly cats. And the sad fact is that, unless you're Dave Barry or Bill Gates, the income from a newspaper column is not sufficient to sustain an anorexic churchmouse. Living in New York City (which I must do for my health, being, as I am, violently allergic to peace and sanity) is quite expensive, and not conducive to many otherwise perfectly plausible money-making schemes. The City Council, for instance, dominated by bleeding-heart tree-huggers, has just this week nixed my plan to raise baby seals on the roof of my apartment building. All my other brilliant ideas -- selling advertising in church hymnals, skeet shooting in Central Park, rental rickshaws pulled by supermodels, and my ill-fated Adopt-a-Rat program -- have likewise come to naught, dashed on the regulatory rocks of a heartless bureaucracy. My options are severely limited and fading fast. Regardless of what you may have heard, the available stock of rich widows is rapidly dwindling, and you have to stand in line to rob a liquor store these days. Times are tough. And those damn cats are driving me nuts with their incessant wailing.
In desperation, I have recently approached several of the online services about migrating, lock, stock and columns, to one of their Dark Fortresses of Mediocrity, there to dwell behind their outrageous hourly fees, sustaining myself on a few crumbs fallen from the wallets of innocent newbies. These online services, as you know, are said to be starving for content, eager to seduce the wild ponies of the web (that's me) into their corral of tame geldings, a captive constellation of once mighty, now sadly dimmed, stars.
Has it come to this, that I should trade my birthright, my freedom, my artistic soul, for a mess of pottage, or at least a monthly check with which to buy my own pottage?
Where do I sign?
But I'd really rather not do that (sell out, that is, especially considering the striking dearth of offers to do so at the moment). It would mean that my readers would have to join whatever service I vamoosed to and pay their hard-earned money to some overstuffed cultural hooligan in order to read me. It would also mean that I'd get a whole new crop of "gry" questions, and there are certain things up with which I will not put.
Instead, I have hit upon a revolutionary solution to my problem, which I will call, for lack of something snazzier,
If, on the other hand, you don't send me the loot, nothing bad happens. You can still read these pages to your heart's content, send them to your friends, quote me on the floor of Congress, whatever. As often as you like. Forever. For free.
A pariah, scorned by your fellows, alone in the universe, but fifteen bucks richer. It's entirely up to you.
Of course, I might track you down years from now and pull a Cape Fear on you. ("Well, now, Mr. Ellis, there's nothing we can do until he actually breaks the law. Standing across the street wearing a space suit and making duck sounds all day isn't really against any law."). But chances are slim I'd ever get around to anything that elaborate. Almost no need to worry about that.
Nossir, not a chance.
So, before you waste any more time actually thinking about the (admittedly dubious) logic of all this, why not whip out the old checkbook and send a sawbuck ($15, remember?) to:
P.O. Box 1
Just make it out to me (Evan Morris -- please pay attention, this is important), and be sure to write "Area 51 Alien Orphan Relief Fund" in the "memo" spot on the check. (It keeps the IRS off my back quite nicely, thank you.)
We'll all feel better -- you, me, and, of course, the baby seals.
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