April 2, 2010
It’s hard to believe that it’s been this long, but almost fifteen years ago somebody e-mailed me a funny story about the Ayatollah of Iran condemning seedless watermelons because they didn’t reproduce. This raises two important questions: why would the Ayatollah of Iran care whether watermelons are seedless or not, and, even more importantly, where the heck do seedless watermelons come from? You can’t exactly ask, which came first–the watermelon or the seed? I decided to share this story with a select group of approximately nine million of my closest friends, but I knew how much some of them valued their privacy. I decided to keep the list of people I was sending it to anonymous, but I needed something else. Because there was a slightly religious element to the story and because I was addressing a group whose religious beliefs ranged from atheism to Frisbeetarianism (the belief that when you die your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck there) I decided to address them as Freethinkers. The Freethinkers were actually a 19th Century non-religious group that at its peak had as many as six members, one of whom was my Uncle Rupert, who discovered the group during his famed attempt to drive from South Carolina to Germany. He would, in fact, cause the organization to fall apart by creating a schism over whether or not trees dream. But I digress. My original intent was to simply forward this e-mail, which has since been lost, and then continue my career in polonium mining, but, to my surprise, the e-mail became so popular and was forwarded so widely that former Nigerian government officials living in exile wanted to transfer huge amounts of money to my bank account.
Over the course of several months I became an overnight sensation. I was offered a book contract by a publisher who only saw a photo of the e-mail, in June I was named Time’s Woman of the Year, and I was invited to every single talk show on the air, including Morning Lip With Lonnie And Lem, where I was so well-received I became a regular contributor and occasional guest host. I also provided regular weather reports from Antarctica. "Today it will be snowy and cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, moving up to cold as a well-digger’s ass in January in the afternoon." Of course it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, especially my attempt to sail across Wyoming on a raffia mat to prove that the Polynesians came from Quebec, but that’s another story. My semester of teaching at Catalpa University went well as long as I read one chapter of the textbook ahead of the students, and my debate with the head of the Otolaryngology Department on the subject of whether trees dream is one of the high points of my career, along with mooning the prime minister of Belgium and playing a Dalek in a Doctor Who episode. On the other hand the less said about that disastrous reality show about my attempt to become a professional kick boxer the better. That was really a low point for me, particularly in the fifth season when I actually managed to lose a fixed fight. Some Mafia goons who’d bet on me came to tell me they were going to rub me out, send me to sleep with the fishes, ice me, whack me, off me, blow me away, and cash in my chips, and I said, "That’s a relief. I thought you were gonna kill me." Admittedly it wasn’t as bad as the three months I spent as a European pop star, or, worst of all, the time I mooned the prime minister of Sri Lanka. But every career has its ups and downs, and I’m extremely lucky to have been around this long. Recently I rejoined Lonnie and Lem so we could tape the live broadcast of the upcoming fifteenth anniversary show. Lem happened to ask me if I was finished as a writer since I’ve covered every topic from quiche to the Boer War. I said, "Well I haven’t covered everything. For one thing I still haven’t figured out how seedless watermelons reproduce."