By contributing writer Kevin Chang

It’s hard to imagine the way writing used to be, in the days of “editing,” and “publishers,” and getting your “mouth fucked” by a small-time Fargo vanity press editor who would “finish” in your “hair” and wipe himself off with your “manuscript.” You know, the good old days.

The days when face-melting idiocy in print was kept to a minimum, and there was always somebody to sternly say, “No, for the betterment of our species as a whole, I can’t publish your 450-page Back to the Future-inspired fanfiction, no matter how intrigued I am by the horrific space and time bending consequences of Marty McFly fucking his own mom.”

The days before two vastly overqualified girls formed an unholy union with a cup and some soft piano music.

And certainly the days before the Internet made it possible for any two-bit hack with a word processor and a sixth-grade education to tell you how to be a PIC writer in just 800 ungainly and humorless words.

This isn’t a review of J.B. Hour’s “How to Be a PIC Writer.” If it were, I might make some comparisons to illustrate how unfunny it was (somewhere between your friend quoting Anchorman for the thousandth time and any article by David Nelson), or how long it was (like the movie Battlefield Earth times any article by David Nelson), or how it could have been a great article if it was written by me (unlike a David Nelson article, because nothing can make those funny, not even a hundred jokes about how John Travolta was in Battlefield Earth). Honestly though, I once thought about David Nelson while watching TV and I didn’t laugh for three days.

It's easy to learn how to be a chef! Just make lots of money and hire a cook!

This isn’t a review, but if it were, I might say something about how the article took everything I know and love about PIC—like lists, pretend dialogue with myself, and humor—and turned them on me, like when I found out Santa wasn’t real, or when my girlfriend said she was only staying with me because I promised to kill her family if she ever left me. Also, because of the chain around her ankle which kept her within three feet of the radiator at all times.

This isn’t a review, but rather a lamentation. It seems now that every writer worth his mettle from Dostoevsky to the kid who writes World of Warcraft pornographic short stories in the library wants to throw in their two cents about how to become a better writer, or how to publish a novel, or how to make meth in your backyard from ingredients purchased over-the-counter from the pharmacy.

All writers approach their craft differently. Stephen King starts off each new novel by creating a dark atmosphere, developing a rich plot line and then introducing compelling, believable characters. Then he shits on his hands and carefully smears his own excrement over the last 300 pages of the manuscript before sending it off to the editor and settling down for a cold drink of What The Fuck People Stop Buying These Books I’m Going To Be Ill. Mmm, delicious. Hunter S. Thompson used to start his books by downing a liter of mescaline, cracking three amyl nitrate pills under his nose, then talking into a recorder until he came to, nude in a field somewhere in Kansas covered in someone else’s blood.

Tucker Max too may have figured out the recipe for success. This guy begins every story with a little modesty, mostly by repeating over and over again how brash and irresponsible he is, and how he is the only person who could pull off such goofy and roguish stunts because he is the one and only Tucker “I get a raging erection looking at my own dick” Max. His audience appreciates this, because like the women he sleeps with, they have no self-respect, respond only to abuse, and are in high school. He then, with all the style and grace of a drunken baby, relates a story about getting fucked up, having unprotected sex with unattractive girls, and then peeing some place he shouldn’t have—stories that are only impressive to people who haven’t actually done any of these things. Tucker then follows this up by loudly harping on about the legitimacy of his writing in spite of the fact that he’s actually just an overgrown child who sucks his daddy’s dick every time he needs beer money or a book deal.

In other words, the perfect strategy for comedy gold.

And it just so happens that people like this are writing guides for the naïve and inexperienced writer (that’s you) so you too can become a well-loved Internet caricature. I’ve always hated it when people told me how to write, ever since some prissy third-grade teacher felt it wasn’t appropriate to use varying forms of the word “annihilation” 37 times in a five-paragraph essay. Goddamn, did I love that word.

So when I see an article about how I, too, can be a PIC writer, all I hear in my head is an exasperated, “But, Kevin…37 times?? It was a page long!” And you know what, the word “annihilation” is the fucking Jenna Jameson of vocabulary. It’s old, it’s dirty, but damn you still love seeing it.

There’s no fucking formula on how to be a writer, much less one for PIC. By turning your article into a list it isn’t going to:

  1. Make your writing worthwhile.
  2. Unless you can write lists that can give handjobs through the computer screen.
  3. Or can get David Nelson to never write again.

It’s not math, because if it were, I wouldn’t have to worry about where I’m going to work after these four years of college honeymooning are over. It’s an inexact science, which is why I’m going to be poor for the rest of my life. But Christ alive will I be good at writing college humor articles.

When you cross that thin line between “doing” and “preaching,” it’s like crossing the thin line between “professional football player” and “seventh-grade gym teacher.” A guide to writing for PIC is a guide to you being a pompous, unfunny ass who thinks you know enough about comedy to teach us about it.

So thanks, J.B. Hour, for your timely article. Turns out I didn’t create an online persona, or write three articles, or steal from other writers.

Shit, am I funny enough to be on this site?