For many years, I wrote a humor column,“Honolulu Lite,” for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. I wrote three columns a week, which caused certain jealous colleagues to ask, “What do you do the other two days.” And when I retired from the Bulletin they asked, “Retired from WHAT?” That hurt my feelings. The fact is, writing humor in today’s world became increasingly difficult because of the proliferation of so many taboo subjects. Writing a humor column, is at its heart, making fun of stuff. (I wrote a column on what a nuisance mopeds are and a moped rider threatened to shoot me with a .357 magnum. True story.) In the end, the “stuff” I wrote about increasingly became me, the only person I could make fun of with little chance of retribution. An example is the column below from 2003 where I wrote the whole thing without using the letters Q, A or Z. It actually took an extraordinary amount of time, for which I received some kind of national award whose nature presently escapes me.
Honolulu Lite beercan

Wounded Pinky Takes Three Letters Out Of The Game

Something occurred to my left pinky finger overnight. I think I slept on it; somehow kept it pinned under my not-so-svelte body, twisted out of the socket, or something. This morning it felt like someone turned it with pipe wrench 27 times. I’m not the most fit person in the world but how incredibly pitiful do you need to be to suffer serious injury while sleeping?

If some of these sentences seem kind of weird it’s due to my left pinky being locked in this sort of buttressing composed of wooden chopsticks enveloped in yellowish sticky strips of the stuff commonly used to secure bundles for post office delivery. The effect being – considering touch-typing is my forte – I must write this entire column without using the first letter of the 26 letters used to write words in English.

My left pinky likewise commonly is employed to strike the hindmost letter of the previously cited list of 26, not to mention the weird letter which looks like “O” but isn’t. Writers get by nicely without using the “O-like” letter, which for some unknown motive insists on being used only in conjunction with the letter “u.” No other letter enjoys such pointless coupling.

The 26th letter likewise is unneeded unless the writer is discussing the striped, four-legged horse-like life forms found upon the continent directly to the right of ours or one of those flying hydrogen-filled dirigibles like the one which exploded in 1937, provoking the gent reporting the notorious incident by wireless technology to cry in newbornish mode.

Writers don’t need the insistent curlicue letter or the one sword fighters used to inscribe on trees with their offensive implement – but let me tell you, the other one, the first letter in line which my crippled pinky will not strike … HE’s necessitous.

Why? For one thing, without the letter which comes directly before “B” in the list of letters I’m getting tired of mentioning, writers resort to using words like “necessitous.” I’ve gone through 23 of those periods of time during which our world circles the sun without using the word “necessitous.” Until now. It induces me to cry in some newbornish style or method (see: comportment).

The first letter is instilled with much import. He is the boss of Letter Town, the shogun, the chief. Few words get written without this guy’s input. I would’ve been better off spending the night reclining upon some other digit. I could effortlessly write without the use of either index finger. “J,” “U” plus “M” sit on the sidelines through most writing. The right pinky isn’t overworked either, being brought into the proceedings simply to cough up the innocuous “P” or the periodic semi-colon.

But writing pros work through the hurt. Wrenched pinky or not, we got through this entire column without using the curiously co-dependent “O-like” specimen, the insidious sword-swipe icon or the overly industrious vowel who is forever first in line. Oh my.

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