Twenty-ten! If I may, I would like to take a moment to address those confidence men and other assorted charlatans posing as "oncologists" and "gastroenterologists" who predicted that A. Birch Steen would not survive to see the dawn of the 1990s, let alone the second decade of the new millennium. They suggested that a tattered and torn handkerchief would do a better job than my colon, which they purported was riddled with tumors. They told me that my insides were gnarled and buckshot with cancer. Gentlemen, you were, all of you, to the very last man, wrong. And I face the future larded with vim and vinegar. I could pass for a man 75—no, 76—years my junior.
And what makes matters all the more amusing is that it appears I will outlive not only my doctors' predictions but The Stranger itself (a truly cancer-gnarled colon if there ever were such a thing). This week, the paper does not even hit the 60-page mark, an anemic showing that inspires me to move the hands on my Stranger Death Clock—a broken grandfather clock in my study—to One Minute Before Midnight. The bell will soon toll for Mr. Daniel "Doorknob" Savage and his compatriots, and I will be there to high-kick with glee on The Stranger's grave.
So let us see what this threadbare pamphlet deems important enough to waste its meager page count on, shall we? We begin with a piece written by DOMINIC HOLDEN about the first hundred minutes of—ugh!—Mayor Mike McGinn's administration. I am sure that the reader is supposed to assume that this story was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but everyone knows that Mr. Holden's tongue is far too busy to visit his own cheek; it has been exclusively lodged in a certain unmentionable portion of McGinn's anatomy for many months now. I never dreamed that I would reminisce fondly of a time when Mr. Holden's addled work was always a shameless act of self-abuse, but now that he has stooped to eager prostitution for our shaggy hippie of a mayor, I do indeed pine for those days.
In the other four pages of content, we have CHARLES MUDEDE blathering about a spectacularly unexciting French film (proving yet again that stacking pretension onto pretension does not make a text more readable) and discovering that it is about—shockingly, I know—long-dead philosophers who would have loathed Mr. Mudede's mediocre mind on principle. Perhaps when you are hard at work on the french-fried potato line at a McDonald's restaurant after The Stranger collapses, Mr. Mudede, you will amuse your coworkers with your nattering about socioeconomic theory. I know I will not miss it.
And in his deviant advice column, DAN SAVAGE informs a pedophile and a bigamist how to escape the long arm of the law. As always, The Stranger coughs and splutters in its efforts to shock, but now even the most decent and principled of readers—I am speaking, of course, of myself—finds it almost possible to feel sorry for the poor, patron-starved rag. You will note the word "almost." In all honesty, I am tying the laces of my dancing shoes.