Recently, NPI has begun internal discussions about taking on additional staff. It’s not that John, Josh, Tim, and Pierre can’t handle the workload, but recently NPI’s revenues have gotten so excessive that we literally don’t know what to do with it all. We decided to put some of our more indigent friends and relatives on payroll, but it turns out that–according to the IRS–sometimes we have to publish them if they’re on payroll. Rather than risk tarnishing the overall quality of NPI, though, we subjected them all to a rigorous interview process. The only survivor was Jake, whose interview is included here:
What are your qualifications? In other words, who do you think you are?
A small bit of personal background: while this disclosure will almost certainly fuel the accusations of rampant nepotism at NPI, I attended college at the college of Duke, more accurately known as Duke University. In my free time I majored in English, delightedly consuming and artfully abusing what is indisputably the greatest language in the world. I am the defiant answer to Vampire Weekend’s insolent query: “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?”
Professionally, I’m a humorist whose style was once described simply as “abstract” by a very terse observer. I like to think I’m at least 19 times as funny as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but I write for a much narrower audience. Like most journalists, I can’t be taken seriously, but unlike most journalists I consider this my top selling point.
Are you worried that joining NPI will almost make the blog TOO good?
One of the things that attracted me to NPI was the vicious infighting among the staff. I think that type of dysfunctionality will preclude any excessive synergy. Nonetheless, we would be remiss to ignore the possibility of something like that happening, so I’m going to try to really alienate my readers both early and often.
On a scale of your choosing, rate your leadership skills.
On a scale of Eva Braun to Madame Curie, I’d say I’m at about a D.B. Cooper.
Describe yourself with one noun, one adjective, and one adverb.
What is your greatest weakness?
My greatest weakness is my susceptibility to trick ques–
Trick question: your greatest weakness is obviously your willingness to admit weakness.
OK, that was just low.
What’s your mother’s maiden name? If you had a choice (of her maiden name), what would you choose and why?
Someone wants in on my online banking, huh? No dice. If I could choose her maiden name, though, it would probably be Robespierre, because she really could have helped clear that name.
What was your high school yearbook quote, how stressful was this choice, and how much do you regret it?
Knowing that my high school yearbook quote would inevitably be the object of regret, I excluded myself from the contrivance. It wasn’t a stressful choice at the time, but I do regret it now because it just comes across as off topic and weirdly anachronistic.
The last film you walked out of was…?
I have never walked out of a film, nor will I ever. (A film isn’t a physical place.) Due Date really sucked, though.
Polly Pocket: Action Figure or Doll?
Most people’s reaction to this would be: “That’s a false dichotomy.” But look again. Notice that one of the options is doll, which is what it is.
If you were to blog from behind the mask of a fictional character, who would it be?
In a way, I’m doing precisely that. For aren’t we all, as writers, the characters produced by the fiction of our own imaginative self-perception? No? Okay, then: Millard Fillmore.
What will you be writing about?
(Future progressive, like me. Nice.)
Assuming that this question is for the benefit of your readers (or I suppose now, our readers), I will now address them in order to expand on my forthcoming endeavors:
Hello, readers! The answer to the question: although I’m not technically a part of the staff, NPI has purchased the rights to two of my most popular recurring features.
The first is “This Day in Revisionist History,” a research column which will run every Wednesday. I’ve selected a classic from my archive to run today, because the most important thing that happened on this actual date is my hiring at NPI, which you’re witnessing firsthand.
From time to time I’ll be doing general staff reports and basically picking up the slack around the office (the ostensible reason for my hiring, as far as the board is concerned). Expect the eclectic, settle for the merely heterogeneous.
I’m pleased to report that this Friday I will debut my weekly editorial column, “The Drawing Board,” where I re-examine popular trends, ideas, beliefs, etc. The most exciting part of this is that I will be accepting topics from YOU, the readers, for my column. You can submit your ideas or questions about anything—politics, philosophy, advice, trivia—to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise I’ll get to every question, but don’t let that stop you from trying, at least once a week, every week. If your question is selected, I’ll reprint it along with your name, and without your permission.