in-future, Moagg / Getty Images

Surprise! I’m in trouble again. You know, I’m beginning to suspect that my erratic personality combined with being the editor of a newspaper read by millions might be a recipe for disaster.

But I’ll back up.

In every issue, we publish an article called, “New Column!” It’s almost always a parody of some sort, and the joke is that we’re forced to debut a “New Column!” every issue because it always fails. (A concept that’s a lot funnier when spoken aloud.)

Anyway! “New Column” is where you’ll find such anti-favorites as “Frank Cassano’s Imbecile Parade,” “One Hulk’s Opinion,” and rando classics like “The ‘Sexy Grandpa’ Poetry Contest.”

HOWEVER! A personal fave is what we call “the celebrity rhyming gag.” We pick a random celebrity and rhyme the title of their column with their last name, such as:

“What’s My Gripe? by Michael Stipe.” “Who Put Ham in My Dannon? by Stephen K. Bannon.” “Those I’ve Killed So Far by the Portland Streetcar.” “These Jokes’ll Revolt Ya by John Travolta.” “Curing Your Streptococcus by Art Alexakis.” “I Use Tough Actin’ Tinactin’ by Samuel L. Jackson.” And one that I love/regret the most: “I Slipped the Banana to Hannah Montana by Carlos Santana.”

Now 99.9 percent of the time, people recognize these things for what they are: parodies (or, if they’re less generous, “stupid fucking jokes”). Other times, offense is taken.

Examples: Our 2010 series of Star Trek columns, which included, “I Once Strangled a Hitchhiker by Commander William T. Riker,” “I Heard Your Mom Likes It Hard by Captain Jean-Luc Picard,” and “Porkin’ in the Columbia River Gorge by Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge.” (Hey, it was a different time. Don’t @ me.) As it turned out, these titles greatly offended one particular group: CBS Television/Viacom, who owns the rights to these characters.

Whoops.

But it all turned out okay. CBS was more concerned with the Mercury publishing pictures of the characters than our detailed descriptions of Commander Riker lustfully gazing at a hitchhiker’s throat. They sent us a “cease and desist” letter, we “ceased” as well as “desisted,” and that was that.

FLASH FORWARD TO TWO WEEKS AGO.

In our January 30 issue, we published a “New Column!” called “Tip Her a Fiver by Adam Driver.” In this CLEARLY OBVIOUS PARODY, accomplished actor Adam Driver bragged about his lavish lifestyle while advising readers to tip sommeliers, concierges, and Uber drivers “a fiver” (no matter how difficult the job) “just like Adam Driver.” And once again, I’m in trouble.

Angry Adam Driver superfans and legal representatives have been flooding my inbox with complaints, vitriol, and “cease and desists”—all claiming I’ve forever besmirched the good name of Adam Driver.

LOOK, PEOPLE! Everyone in the world knows the real Adam Driver is a goddamn sweetheart who makes audiences squeal with horny glee. Rational people realize that Adam Driver would NEVER write such a horrible, thoughtless column, which is why it’s called PARODY (definition: “an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect”). Ipso facto, by climbing up my ass about this, these complainers are saying that real Adam Driver fans are too stupid to know the difference, and even worse, that Adam Driver himself has no sense of humor—WHICH HE CLEARLY DOES. You don’t “cease and desist” me, buttholes! I “cease and desist” YOU!

Besides, no one should worry about us invoking Adam Driver’s precious name ever again—because we’ve already moved on. Thanks for reading, and don’t miss our newest “New Column” (that surely won’t cause any trouble), “I Think I Caused the Coronavirus by Billy Ray Cyrus.”

Yer real pal (not a parody pal),
Wm. Steven Humphrey
Editor-in-Chief
Portland Mercury