Anatomy of a column


By Les Linz

The first humor column I ever wrote for The Tribune appeared in the Aug. 14, 2020, weekend edition.

Originally, I had written the article for Cracked Magazine, though as it turns out, they never saw it.

Up until a couple of weeks before I had emailed it to them, they were regularly taking pieces from freelancers, but the protocol changed around that time to where they only took work from people with whom they already had a pre-existing relationship.

What was I supposed to do?

I had painstakingly crafted the column and had nowhere for it to go. Then the thought occurred to me — give The Tribune a shot.

Entitled “Top 10 Hiring Euphemisms,” it was a top 10 list (Cracked’s favorite article structure) that examined the “code” staffing agencies use to get you to apply to positions they’re recruiting for.

For example, “Number 4:” Benefits included — This means you have the privilege of paying thousands of dollars a year for dental coverage that pays up to $500 per annum, as long as a) you bring your own floss, b) you have cavities filled on alternate Tuesdays and c) you use the company dentist in Anchorage, Alaska, even though you work out of the Columbia, South Carolina, branch.

This past week found me reflecting on jobs in general, and in particular, how insistent the would-be employers are that you have “previous experience.”

That works well if you worked for someone in a previous life.

Apparently, it does not apply to nepotism.

I was once told that since I worked for my parents for years in their business, I didn’t have any previous experience because I didn’t have a “real job.”

Those experienced in helping you secure gainful employment will tell you to find a way to apply your background, limited as it may be, to the task(s) that the prospective firm is looking for.


I was previously in utero (over nine months, in fact) and experienced prenatal skill set development firsthand. I will share that knowledge with any future potential employers I come in contact with, and it will probably go something like this.

Prior to fertilization

“Mr. Prospective Employer, I received my first ‘standing ovation’ — just like my mother did — many years prior to today, so success is something that runs in my family. I made it past a stubborn ‘gatekeeper’ and went on to make my initial fallopian tube appearance (not to be confused with YouTube), where I honed my math skills and became excellent at division. Yes, my beginnings were small, sir, but small beginnings should not be despised (I Tim. 4:12)."

Five weeks

“Sir, I’ve had a heart for all kinds of things ever since I was 5 weeks old, so you can count on my being passionate for your cause. My brain and nervous system have both been forming from a younger age, which means I’ve had a lot of time to think about things, like how profitable I can be for your company and how I’ll get that profit accomplished. Furthermore, I won’t be nervous about working for you because I’ve had time developing steady nerves, and that in turn should give you confidence about what I’ll be able to do for you.”

Six weeks

“My eyes began to form a long time ago, so I really have a vision for your company. Trust me, I’m a good ‘pupil,’ and can easily retain new material that comes my way. My ears began to form early on, so I can really ‘hear’ what you’re saying. I’m not likely to mess up a customer order because I can readily listen to what the client is saying.”

Seven weeks

“Sir, I started cutting teeth when I was nearly 50 days old. Since I began doing that years ago, cutting them in a new ‘position’ will come naturally for me.”

Eight weeks

“Sir, if you could have only seen me years ago when I was just 8 weeks old, you would have seen my hands and arms and legs and feet developing. That’s why you can be secure in knowing I ‘feel’ for you and the customer and that I will go to great ‘lengths’ to woo the client. When they say ‘jump,’ I won’t even have to ask how high. I’ll just know because my brain has continued to develop over the years. I will be ‘touched’ by the customer’s feelings and yours because my sense of it has been progressing from nearly the beginning. Best of all, I will know where you ‘stand’ because my standing apparatus has been maturing for years.”

Nine weeks

“I didn’t always go by my current name, sir. When I was 9 weeks old, people started calling me ‘Fetus’ (Latin for ‘young one’). It stuck, so that’s why you see it on my birth certificate. My olfactory abilities began to form at that time, too, so I’m advanced in perceiving what ‘stinks.’ I can help you discern between truth and B.S.”

Eleven weeks

Note to self: Do not tell future boss about ability to yawn, suck or flash one-finger salutes. He might think I think he’s boring, the job sucks or that I really don’t like him.

Eighteen weeks

“When I celebrated my 158th anniversary of the date of my conception, my blinking ability was intact. What that means, sir, is that I can resolutely tell someone that your yes is yes and no is no without flinching, which is a good reflection on you. That means your client will be able to trust you because they will rightly sense your honesty. My ability to frown developed at the same time, but because my brain is older than most of the rest of me, I’m smart enough to know that frowning won’t win friends, nor influence anyone.”

Twenty weeks

“By the time I was 174 days old, I’d established my favorite sleeping position. But don’t worry, I’ve practiced it for so long, I know how not to do it, and besides, the prospect of working for you is so exciting, I probably won’t be able to sleep at all.”

Twenty-three weeks

“About three weeks after mastering my favorite sleep position, I got into REM sleep so that I could formulate my dreams. I’ve been dreaming about your company since then, sir. I wouldn’t dream of looking for a different position elsewhere.”

Twenty-four weeks

“Although it has been years since I recognized the sound of my parents’ voices, I will know only yours once you become my boss. I’m sure you’ll be willing to nurture my growth like any good boss does.”

Thirty-four weeks

“At thirty-four weeks of age, my eyes were wide open (not a movie I’d recommend). To this day, I go into situations without presuming anything beforehand, which makes me an ideal candidate to ideally respond to anything that may come up.”

Forty weeks

“Since my 40th week of life, I have been awaiting birth and subsequent growth. It is time for me to mature and move on into your organization, sir.”

Interview conclusion

“Wow, Mr. Newborn, it sounds like you were fearfully and wonderfully made, and you know that right well. You continue blossoming as time goes on. I would be insane to reject your application to work for us. Is there anything else you want to tell me before we start on the paperwork?”


“Sir, I’m told that if a man doesn’t work, he shall not eat (2 Thes. 3:10). I’m hungry. Let’s go to work.”

Les Linz of Seymour writes the “Humor: More or Les” column. For information about Linz, visit his author page. Send comments to [email protected].

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