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My Action Plan for Humor

If there’s one thing I’ve learned at HBS, it’s the fundamental importance of a good action plan. Of course, a good action plan is supposed to break everything out into “short”, “medium”, and “long” terms, with detailed minute-by-minute timelines and full consideration of all possible contingencies, such as how competitor’s reactions and the sudden onset of a nuclear winter would affect your recommendations. Also, a good action plan is supposed to be written with, oh, say, more than ten minutes left in a four-and-a-half hour exam. I considered trying to write one of these “good” action plans for you, gentle reader, but decided that to try and do anything differently than how I did in finals would be a false representation of my special, true inner self. Thus, I can give you my quasi-action “plan” for the Humor Section for the kinda-sorta-in-the-next-couple-of-weeks term:1) Blatant obsequiousness. Never fear, I have already started brown-nosing and offering copious compliments and other such valuable perks to the writers from last semester. Response so far has, thankfully, been positive, so stay tuned for more great material from the usual suspects.

2) A “new” idea that’s apparently already been done in some form before, and that I was stealing from a newspaper at my undergrad college anyway, but…I’d like to start a section that captures the pearls of wisdom that we hear in class, overhear in Spangler, read in cases, or see at parties on a regular basis. I was thinking of calling the section “[sic]”, and it would include any silly cold-call responses, amusing double-entrendres, snippets of surreal dialogues, and profound observations shared over Scorpion Bowls. (While submissions would be anonymous, if someone’s name is included [either as a speaker or subject of the quote], I’ll need their permission before putting it in print.) In general, keep in mind that “tactful discretion” is usually advised with these things. However, since I’m the editor, there is very little chance that tactful discretion will actually be applied, so send ’em my way, and let’s see if we can get this puppy rolling.

3) Continuation of a weekly TV-show update. Any volunteers to come forward for this would be much appreciated: hint, HINT. Some possible show-candidates for this could be “The O.C.”, “American Idol”, or “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fianc‚” on everyone’s favorite network (Fox), or perhaps “The Apprentice” or “Average Joe 2”, or…?

4) General talent recruitment.
That’s right, big guy/gal, I’m talking to YOU. Do your friends often laud you for your witty observations on campus life? Do people often refer to you as “funny” in ways other than “-looking” or “-smelling”? Do people often say to you, “Did you ever know that if you would submit humor material to the Harbus on a regular basis so that the section is continually plump and ripe with extreme merriment, you would be my hero and everything I wish I could be?” If so, drop me a line…or even better, a completed humor piece…or even better, a fully-edited humor section every week. Thanks, you’re a doll.

So. That’s the plan. If you’d like, I could do exactly what I did in the TOM final and replicate/copy every single recommendation that I originally made in narrative/prose form above, but in a briefer, sleeker “chart” form instead (in order to inch my total word-count closer to the limit. Brilliant, right? Subtle, eh?). Just let me know, and I’ll include it next week. A chart summary of this piece, I mean, *not* a copy of my TOM final. There is such a thing as too much humor, after all.

January 12, 2004
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