Paper trail

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

“She misses reading you in the paper? Didn’t you tell her that you’re alive and well on the ‘Net?”

My lawyer and agent, Harvey D. Shyster III, Esquire, was all bent out of shape.

It had been his advice that I not do this “newfangled Internet thing” a few years back, after all.

“Whaddya mean, you’re quitting the paper? To go on-line? What is on-line? Can you take this on-line to the crapper? Because that’s where people read you, kiddo.”

His protestations, ahem, notwithstanding, I took my column to the ephemeral world of the Web four years ago – and didn’t think twice about doing so.

Until I ran into a self-described long-time fan who asked whatever had happened to me.

“Er, um, well, I’m still alive, for one thing,” I responded, meekly.

“But I miss seeing you in the paper each week.”

“I write two Web columns a week now. It’s like, twice the fun – and it’s free.”

“Yes, but … I miss seeing you in the paper.”

“I told you that it wasn’t going to work out,” my friend Eli made it a point to tell me upon hearing the story.

“Nobody reads that Internet thing,” our college roommate Mordecai chimed in, for posterity.

“Seriously. Paper is where it’s at. There are always going to be newspapers. You need to check into how you can get back in print.”

I tried to argue what I thought to be the obvious – how my Web site had tens of thousands of unique visitors a month, how my fan base has grown to be of a worldwide nature, how I had actually sold a collection of my Web columns in book form and done decently well with it.

“You wrote a book? Never heard of it,” my nonwired friend Earl Earl said when I made this argument to him recently.

“I thought those were part of that encyclopedia collection that you were selling door-to-door,” Mordecai added upon hearing Earl Earl’s comment.

“Encyclopedia – what?”

“Yeah. That’s what people have been saying about you. Honestly, I think that Web has taken over your life. Don’t you ever talk to anybody on the streets anymore?”

Apparently not – at least not the gossip-mongers among us who prefer to spin their yarns at barber shops and coffee houses.

Re-establishing contact with these sources is a top priority for me these days – and from what I’m hearing, the hard work is already paying off.

“The word on the streets is that you’re poised to make a comeback,” Eli said.

“A comeback – how?”

I was just curious.

“That part I couldn’t make out. Something about your name being back on the front page again soon, but I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing.”


“You weren’t trying to bribe anybody to vote for something or the other anytime recently, were you? I’m just asking – because you know, that can land you on the front page as quick as anything.”


Chris Graham’s Stop the Presses column appears on this blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more on Chris Graham’s humor columns and other fiction writing, visit

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