Columnus Interruptus

Deadline is tomorrow, and I’m having trouble writing this column. I want to write about how, a couple weeks ago, Braden and Clay, who are roommates here in Deseret Towers, both left for the weekend, leaving their door wide open. Naturally, this indicated that they wanted the rest of us to to fill up their room entirely — from wall to wall and from floor to ceiling — with crumpled-up newspaper. So we did.

But everytime I start writing about this, something interrupts me. I’ll keep trying, though.

It took about 15 of us several hours, and we had to go acquire four newspaper recycling bins, but we eventually managed to get the room so full–


–hang on. Hello? Yes, this is where you can reserve tickets for the Garrens.

(The Garrens are a comedy troupe at BYU that I started, and I made the stupid mistake of putting my own personal phone number on the flyers for people to call to reserve tickets. So now people call at all hours of the day and night — mostly early in the morning, before the sun has risen, let alone me — and they want to reserve tickets. Not that I am complaining.)

How many do you need? OK. And what’s your name? Alright. OK, thanks. See you at the show. Bye.

There. Now as I was saying, we filled the room so full of newspaper that Braden and Clay couldn’t even open the–

– Hey, Eric, are you writing your column?

Trying to, yes. (It’s Dwight, from down the hall. Anytime we want him to do something fun, he can’t, because he’s studying, but anytime I’m trying to concentrate, that’s when his studying ends and he comes bounding into my room. He has some kind of sixth sense about it, I think.)

– You ought to put something in there about how you and Greg borrowed my car last night to go to the movies.

(pause) It’s a humor column, Dwight.

– You can make it funny.

Go away, Dwight.


OK, he’s gone. Anyway, Braden and Clay couldn’t even open the door, the room was so full of newspaper. The whole thing was, in my opinion, the greatest thing that has ever happened, especially–


–gosh dang it. Hello? Yes. How many? What’s your name? Thank you.

–especially at Deseret Towers, where the greatest thing that had happened previously was when–

– Hey, Eric, want to go to Denny’s?

No thanks, I have to finish this.

– We’re leaving in a few minutes.

No thanks, I have to finish this.

– You sure you don’t want to come?

No thanks, I have to finish this.


–was when someone threw a stove off the roof of the building. No one was killed, that I know of anyway,–



–but I like to think that there were at least a few people who had to scramble out of the way, screaming–

– You still working on that column?

Yes. (It’s been, by my watch, forty-five seconds.)

– How long does it usually take you to write one?

Well, this one seems to be taking about a year. (I can sense now that he’s going to give me an idea for something to write about. Sometimes when I’m with someone, and something funny happens, they say, “You should write about that in your column,” as though I somehow got a job as a humor writer without being able to recognize humor in everyday situations, similar to those people you read about in Reader’s Digest who got to be Fortune 500 CEOs without being able to read, or tie their shoes.)

– You should write about how we filled Braden and Clay’s room with newspaper.

(pause) That’s a great idea, Dwight.

(Eric D. Snider is a freshman at BYU from Lake Elsinore, California. He is currently living in Deseret Towers, where there is no end to the comedy potential, or the malfunctioning elevators.)

This is another one of my favorites. I like it because it's different from a typical column, and it's fairly stream-of-conscious.

The specific interruptions are more or less accurate. I know that Greg and I did borrow Dwight's car to go to the movies; I can't remember if Dwight actually suggested writing about that or not. And I know I was invited to Denny's on numerous occasions (although I honestly can't remember ever saying no).

I was taking a public speaking class this semester, and for one of our assignments, we had to get with a partner and prepare speeches in which we argued opposing viewpoints. My position was that Denny's was the best place to hang out at, whereas my partner felt Village Inn was better. I did a reasonable job presenting my point of view, but then my partner got up and ruined my credibility by displaying an enlarged copy of this column, in which I get invited to Denny's -- allegedly my favorite hang-out -- several times, and continually decline the offer. I'm sure he got more points on his speech than I did, but I have to admire his cleverness in using my own careless words to discredit me. Surely he won't be the last person to do that.

Oh, and let me just say that filling Braden and Clay's room with newspaper was one of the best things that has ever been done anywhere. They literally could not open the door, we packed it in so tightly. From floor to ceiling, and from wall to wall. We even filled all the dresser drawers. It was amazing. After it was all over, we pushed the enormous sea of crumpled-up newspaper into the commons room and swam around in it. Maybe you had to be there, but we thought it was tremendous fun.