Now comes the sad(ish) news that "Reader's Digest" has declared bankruptcy, a phrase that cracks me up ever since seeing Michael Scott, the idiot boss on "The Office," walk around solemnly and loudly announcing, "I Declare Bankruptcy" thinking that was all there was to it. Oh, if only.
Many teams of lawyers are now involved in trying to prop up the venerable magazine-slash-coaster and make it a moneymaker again.
I hope it works because it's powerfully depressing to think that, one day in the near future, toilet tanks across this great land will suddenly sit unadorned and big brothers everywhere will no longer have such a perfect projectile to sail at annoying squirts that might be in their sights.
Ah, Reader's Digest. A magazine that earned a solid following because it was leaving stuff OUT. Maybe we should've seen this coming. (Although, major props for coming up with the idea to condense those moldy "classics" in book form. Shakespeare, RD style: "Couple contends with nosy parents who hate each other; chick dies.")
With its comforting penchant for articles like "Seven Ways to Make Your Dog Safer!" you have to wonder if the original article may have contained three more really important ways that you'll never know about.
I have a soft spot for RD because I once got paid $100 for a joke they used. I don't even remember the joke but it was heady stuff to be able to tack "magazine contributor" to a resume that, at the time, had "fry cook" as its most enticing entry.
And I loved the way humor is such a huge part of RD. Humor in Uniform, Life in These United States and a million little blurbs and funnies were sprinkled throughout like fake cheese on popcorn.
I read recently that it's virtually impossible to get a humor piece accepted by "The New Yorker." This is because the head of the editorial department there is Snobby McPruneface and his ilk.
Reader's Digest, on the other hand, was always the voice of the common man, the first place one could go to for a quick quip that would be suitable for telling at Rotary Club without even making the waitress blush. The headquarters is in Pleasantville, for heaven's sake.
Reader's Digest thinks it may be able to revamp its image and recoup losses by "going digital." I don't think so. At the risk of being too graphic, laptops and bathrooms are a miserable combination.
For now, RD is in no immediate danger of disappearing thanks to declaring bankruptcy (laughing again) but, if all the lawyers' plans don't work, this coffee-ringed staple of so many homes will disappear like Jell-O 1-2-3 mix and we'll have to find somewhere else to read about "Eight Medical Myths!" and "Hero Pet of the Year!" And that would be a shame.