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Something different...

Perhaps I just don’t have enough people who dislike me. I’m working harder at that.

I’ve been feeling a little down lately. It was another bad year for the Sexiest Man Alive contest.

I didn’t win.


I realize the award is announced in November, but it takes a while to get over disappointment and it’s been an uphill battle for me this year.

I know what you’re going to say – People magazine has a deep prejudice against bald, chubby farmers over the age of 65. Despite the obvious facts of my attractiveness, maybe I just need to stop fighting “the man” and find a different hill to climb.

I’m thinking the Nobel Prize in Literature is a more realistic goal. I can’t do it on my own; I’m going to need some help. I’ve been doing some research. Every year the Swedish Academy solicits nominations. I don’t have their address, but if you care enough, you’ll figure it out. Postage for a letter to Sweden is only $1.20 – about as much as a cup of coffee. If you sent one nomination a week, think of the impact. Besides, you don’t need that much caffeine.

There’s more. When we went to the John Steinbeck museum, I was intrigued to find out that his books were banned in his home town. He, Hemingway, and Sinclair Lewis, at one time or another, all had their books burned. If Nobel Prize winners have had their books banned and burned, I’m just going to have to try harder to be disliked.

I realize that if everyone in my home town who owned my books burned them, there’d barely be enough flame to roast a marshmallow, but I think it’s the thought that counts. Maybe just burn one book…but there needs to be media coverage to make it worth the bother.

Some things are beyond my control. For instance, in 1942 Steinbeck wrote a book called, “The Moon is Down.” It was basically a propaganda piece, about resistance fighters in a small country overrun by the German army. It’s still a really good book because, you know, Steinbeck. The book was published in numerous languages and distributed to many countries. In fact, if you were caught with a copy in German occupied territory, it was a death sentence.

How’s that for a resume line: “If you get caught reading one of my books, Nazis will try to kill you.”

I can’t compete with that. I don’t even know any Nazis.

Even leaving the Nazis out of it, I worry that I don’t I get yelled at enough to be a real contender. I wrote a column poking fun at the way British people eat, and I got a letter from a lady in Wales who wrote, “At least I’m not an American – I use utensils.” I’m not positive what she meant, but I’m pretty sure it was an insult. Other than that, though, no burning, no banning. To my knowledge, no one has even pretended to hang a dummy that looks like me – although maybe my neighbors could do that when they burn my book.

I’ve checked the records. There’s never been a Nobel Prize winner from Big Stone County. I think we’re due.

Copyright Brent Olson 2020

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