Front cover photo by Yvette Aispuro. Back cover by Matthew Chinworth. Dog by damedeeso / getty images

If you’re interested in a fast-paced, exciting business where people love yelling at you from the top of their lungs, may I suggest newspapering?

Don’t get me wrong—newspapering has been very good to me. Here are just a few of the perks I’ve received during my time at the Mercury: free coffee.... Okay, I literally just sat here for five minutes trying to think of anything else and couldn’t do it. OH, WAIT! Brushes with celebrities! Thanks to my newspapering connections, I’ve personally met movie star Sam Elliott, former O.J. Simpson pal Kato Kaelin, SNL’s Aidy Bryant, and a miniature donkey who nibbled at my crotch. Those were good times.

Otherwise? Newspapering usually involves writing a ton of stories and then sitting back as readers yell and shit all over your work. But here’s the thing: I don’t mind so much! While it may surprise you, I don’t have much of an ego and—LET ME FINISH! A lot of my stories are opinion pieces, and of course, opinions vary. So I’m fine with readers telling me I’m wrong—and I’m especially fine with readers telling me I’m wrong when they’re screaming their lungs out. Why? Because that means I’M RIGHT.

Generally speaking, there are two reasons people yell at me: 1) because they feel I won’t listen to them otherwise—which is wildly untrue. And 2) because they know deep in their hearts that their logic is unsound, so they yell to drown out the little voice in their head saying, “Shut up, white dude... Humpy is right AGAIN.”

Example: Remember “The Great Portland Fluoride Debate of 2013”? When city council came up with the very reasonable idea to add fluoride to the water (you know, like nearly every other major city in America), people freaked the fuck out. They were like Bernie bros on crack! Their anti-fluoride stance was clearly based on junk science, and because they couldn’t win their argument on reason alone, they screamed their fool heads off. However, they screamed so loudly and with such persistence, they were able to silence the majority of local doctors, politicians, and newspapers—except for the Mercury, who gobbles up dumb people’s yells like malted milk balls.

Unfortunately, the loud anti-fluoride dummies prevailed, as loud dummies occasionally do (*glares loathingly at MAGA hat-wearing dickholes*). But hopefully these last couple of years of the Trump administration have taught us to stop taking yellers so seriously—because as we now know, just because you’re loud, it doesn’t mean you’re right.

And with that said, IMMUNIZE YOUR GODDAMN CHILDREN! (Whoops, didn’t mean to yell.) Immunize your goddamn children, please. If my prediction is correct, the state will soon be exploring the idea of mandatory kid vaccinations (except in extreme circumstances), which means a small but vocal horde of anti-vax dummies will start yelling all sorts of anti-science nonsense. They’ll yell that vaccines cause autism, even though they definitely, unequivocally do not. And like their anti-fluoride cousins, they’ll probably find some way to also yell about Hitler. So don’t believe them. Why? Because they’re yelling. And smart people don’t need to yell. OKAY?!?

Yer pal in peaceful quietude,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Portland Mercury