Sean: Lee! Get out of the room! You can’t run away from your problems forever. This thing will get solved, Lee.
Lee: No! I refuse to come out. I’m not gonna be a dirty scab!
Sean: I know our fellow comedy writers are picketing right now, Lee, but we can’t afford to send this article into reruns. The Mustang Daily will drag us out into the streets and shoot us like rabid puppies. I’ve seen them do it to advertisers who don’t pay up.
Lee: I’m not scared of them, Sean. We’ve taken enough of their crap. You know how many people read the Mustang Daily? Basically all people. All of those people see all the ads in the paper and the Mustang Daily rakes in loads of cash. I’m just holding out until we – the driving creative force behind this faceless news corporation – get our fair share of the profits.
Sean: They give us day-old doughnuts every Friday, and you still have the gall to complain? The laughter of the children as they read our article and don’t understand it is payment enough for me. You’ve just gotta understand, Lee, that the life of a writer is not a glamorous one. We didn’t get into this for the money. I view the $5,000 we get per article as a nice bonus. Just come out of the laundry room.
Lee: Fine, I had to pee, anyway. Follow me to the bathroom. Like I was saying, our comrades in writing are refusing to write, and for legitimate reasons. Did you know that television writers don’t get any money from DVD sales or Internet streaming of shows they write? That’s ridiculous! Look away, pervert.
Sean: Sorry. It’s instinct. As far as I see it, the studios own the writers. Therefore, they own their material. We comedy writers give them material in order to not have to work a stressful 9-to-5 job. We should be paying them cash! Come on, man. Let’s just argue about the existence of dinosaurs. I think they’re a Hollywood creation; your rebuttal?
Lee: I agree. Article over. So what you’re saying is that writers shouldn’t get paid at all? If they don’t get paid how are they supposed to live in New York or Los Angeles or anywhere else? Being a comedy writer has taken its toll on my health. Did you know that every night I come home and drink a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice just so I can feel funny? I’ve put on 30 pounds and I’m empty inside. Pass the toilet paper.
Sean: We’re out; here’s a hand towel. You may feel empty inside, but you’re stuffing others full of humor. That realization should fill you with enough pride to get you through the long, cold day. How about that kid with leukemia who wrote to you and asked for you to tell him his last bedtime story? Or the people at the old folks home who beg for us to come back, dance for them and stand still as they throw pudding at us? Money may be able to buy you actual clothes and a new bike, OK? It just may be able to do that. But can it let you die with a smile on your frozen face?
Lee: You don’t make any sense, Sean. I only wrote that story for the dying kid because the Make-A-Wish Foundation paid me off. The old folks home? I was only there doing community service for that DUI I got . damn Smirnoff Ice. But the bottom line is this, Sean: I refuse to write the article as long as the writers are on strike. It may take weeks, months, or even days, but I don’t care. End of discussion. Pass me a new towel.
Sean: Oh, but Lee, you have written an article this week. I’ve kept a tape recorder in my jacket pocket this entire time. I got you, Lee Barats, and I will now write this article, word for dirty word.
Lee: You dastardly rogue!
Lee Barats is a mechanical engineering senior and Sean Michetti is a journalism senior. Barats and Michetti are the Mustang Daily’s humor columnists and can be contacted at TitsforTats@gmail.com.