Cover art by Dylan Goldberger, back cover photo of Eem by Aaron Lee damedeeso / getty images

Waitasecond... what’s this? A letter from a reader! “Dear Wm. Steven Humphrey: What’s it like working for Wm. Steven Humphrey? Sincerely, Trevor.” Thanks for writing, Trevor! As Wm. Steven Humphrey, I can honestly attest that working for Wm. Steven Humphrey is frikkin’ AHHHH-MAYYYY-ZING. But I have a feeling you’re actually more interested in what other people think it’s like working for Wm. Steven Humphrey. So I asked the people who would most likely know: the editorial staff of the Portland Mercury!

To the surprise of absolutely no one, my staff was immediately suspicious and resistant to the idea—as they are with all my ideas. For reasons unknown, they feared they were being “set up” to deliver a “presumably honest” opinion about what it’s like to work for Wm. Steven Humphrey, which would then be used “against them” in an “unusually punitive manner.”

JESUS CHRIST! Where do these people get all their fucking crazy ideas?? It really makes my freaking head want to FREAKING EXPLODE!!

So I was like, “Oh my god, you fucking bunch of babies. I’m not going to punish anybody! This reader just wants to know what it’s like to work for me. So write it down anonymously, stick it in my suggestion box [which is currently full of dust and spiders], and hurry the fuck up before my bones turn to chalk or I retire, whichever fucking comes first! PLEASE.”

Anyway, here ya go, Trevor! Here are my staff’s actual, anonymous, seemingly honest responses about what it’s like to work for Wm. Steven Humphrey:

• “It’s like having Mary Martin’s 1954 musical portrayal of Peter Pan run a paper.”

• “It’s like working for the mouse chef in Ratatouille: Despite all outward appearances suggesting otherwise, this sly little fella is actually quite good at his job—and also, his office smells like cheese.”

• “You know that moment when you realize you’ve given the kitty one skritch too many, but it’s still purring and you’re not sure what’s going to happen next? It’s like that. But the cat’s a person. Who can fire you.”

• “It’s like if Freaky Friday happened every day, but between an old man and his daughter.”

• “It’s like if John Cameron Mitchell was a really catty editor of an alt-weekly.”

• “It’s like trying to have a serious conversation with your boss about your career trajectory and then looking up and realizing he has multiple child-sized mannequins in his office for no discernible reason.”

• “It’s like finally moving on from the period when he’d leave the office shouting ‘Hasta la vista, buttfuckers!’ but it’s also like this new thing he’s doing where he shows up at your house in the middle of the night banging on your windows and shouting, ‘IT’S THE PURGE!!’”

• “It’s like working for Ben Bradlee, if Ben Bradlee was less interested in Watergate and more interested in Taylor Swift. (It’s also like having to explain to your boss who Ben Bradlee was.)” [Editor’s note: Who the fuck is Ben Bradlee?]

And finally...

• “It’s like having your boss make all of his employees write his column for him.”

Accurate. Got a question about me or newspapering? Send it to steve@portlandmercury.com.

Yer pal,
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Editor-in-Chief
Portland Mercury