Neil Offen: Just the FAQs, please

Feb. 25, 2013 @ 07:52 AM

More frequently asked - but rarely responded to - questions about this column:

How do you start the column?

Generally, at the beginning. Sometimes, we start in the middle, but only when we’re sure there’s sufficient fuel in the tank before turning the ignition. A self-starter, however, is always useful because that would let me stay in bed a little longer on cold mornings. Remember if you’re not a self-starter to get a battery-powered one and wind it up and let it write a few paragraphs before stepping in when it’s time for the punch line and for taking all the credit.

Is the column hypoallergenic?

We believe it is, although since we’re not sure if hypoallergenic means too allergic or not allergic enough, we can’t be sure.

Has this column been tested on animals?

To be honest, they laughed at us.

Is special training needed to become a humor columnist?

Not really, although it does help if you’ve taken doctoral-level courses in spelling and received the Legion d’Honneur for knowing where to put apostrophes.  

How can I send multiple texts with this column? Can you view live video streaming with the column? How can I fix syncing problems?

I think you may have confused this column with the Samsung X2500 GS 476-3 Rocket-Launched Pebble Blue model of columns. It’s a fairly common mistake.

How often does a question have to be asked before it can be considered frequently asked?

At least twice.

How often does a question have to be asked before it can be considered frequently asked?

Are reservations needed?

The column is first-come, first-served, but reservations are always a good idea, particularly if you want to gain access to the good paragraphs first.

Do you use algorithms in figuring out what topics will be most appealing to your column readers and sell them to advertisers?

Yes, we do. Or we would, if we knew what an algorithm was and if we have just spelled it correctly.

Are there any special apps for the column?

We are in the process of developing special apps for the column that would also allow the reader to translate all Serbo-Croat references in the column and also find nearby restaurants that don’t use the term “locally grown” on their menus.        

Is an unlimited data plan offered with the column?

Since there is very little data offered with the column, at this time we’re offering only limited data plans. Everybody just gets one date. For instance, I’ve taken April 25. 

What happens if the column ends in mid-sentence?

I really don’t

What is the most important quality in a humor columnist?



Neil Offen can be reached at or by telephone at 919-419-6646.