Friday, July 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 20

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on September 10th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 16, Issue 27

A crystal anniversary

Fifteen years of the 'Man Overboard' and the Sun


I’m celebrating an anniversary. No, not my wedding anniversary; I can never remember when that is exactly. I’m celebrating “Man Overboard’s” 15th anniversary with the Sun. Yes, I was able to continually write this column while our Earth orbited the actual sun 15 different times, and somehow I wasn’t fired. There were 391 separate “Man Overboard” columns printed and I still have a job here. How could this have happened? Well, I’ll tell you how.

First things first, and that is to give credit to the late Steve Moss and to the Rucker family who dreamed up the Sun 15 years ago. Without them, there is no Sun and thus, there is no “Man Overboard.” Then you have to thank the immense staff at the Sun, who bring this thing together every single week. From advertising, to layout, editing, printing, delivery, excellent writers covering local stories, the person who stocks toilet paper in the bathroom, payroll, Colleen Garcia—who answers my endless annoying phone calls—it’s the whole staff that deserves all of the credit. Cranking out and distributing an entire newspaper every single week is a ton of work. The folks at the Sun do a lot of hard work, and it’s this hard work I have absolutely nothing to do with.

Even though I don’t do any of the real work, I benefit greatly from it, as I get to see “Man Overboard” published every other week. My personal contribution to the Sun is extremely simple: Every other week I have to email 1,000 words to Shelly Cone and Camillia Lanham. The only requirement is that somewhere in the article I use the line “my wife, whom I love” and for obvious reasons the column should be funny. After all, it does say “HUMOR” above the column, so the least I can do is give the people a chuckle or two. I accomplish this by writing stories titled, “How to fart through 17 years of marriage and get away with it.” It ain’t rocket science, people, just some gastrointestinal pressure.

So, how does a person write nearly 400 columns over a decade and a half and make them all funny? Simple, get married, have a couple of kids, and live life. Stuff just happens. Sometimes stuff is sticky, and sometimes stuff is funny. Wives try to stuff entire turkeys down garbage disposals, kids have diaper-defeating explosive diarrhea, and motor home tires explode for no reason. Life automatically generates the narrative. I’m not a creative person by any means. Things occur in front of me, and I write them down and email them to the Sun. That’s it.

Well, actually that’s not all of it. The sad truth is I’m essentially illiterate. Everything I write down is almost completely indiscernible. My wife is the one who makes these columns actually readable. If it wasn’t for her, there would be no “Man Overboard.” She was also the one who made my novel, Cadet Blues, digestible after cleaning up a disastrous unreadable narrative, and editing, it into the successful book that it has become. Thanks, baby. I promise someday I will learn how to correctly use a semicolon; even though religiously I don’t believe in them. 

Besides her editing skills, my wife, whom I love, is also an enormous inspiration for these stories as she is my humor column muse. She never disappoints with material when she attempts to bring home a huge water heater from Home Depot inside the trunk of her Hyundai, or when she procrastinates getting gas and then lets me borrow the car so I can be the one who runs out of fuel and is stranded. Without her I wouldn’t have much to write about. 

With her around, I have a lot to put pen to paper about, like the experience of trying to understand how my wife’s female, girl-brain works. Why does she think that she can change the weather? She believes that complaining incessantly about how hot it is outside will actually modify the temperature. How many years can I survive listening to her complain about how hot it is outside before my heart explodes? Hopefully, at least 10 more years, that way I can get a silver anniversary for this “Man Overboard” column.

The interesting part about this compilation of me writing down what my wife does and then her editing it, is that she has the ultimate final cut. She gets to direct how she is portrayed to the readers. She always slants the stories to show “less crazy,” and add “more motherly,” with her edits. In the end she also gets to completely veto any columns that make her look like a complete psycho. In my humble opinion these stories, which were axed, were the funniest articles I ever wrote. However there was nothing funny at our house after she read the stories to edit them. She didn’t like the things I said, and thus, I was in trouble. Like, real trouble. Like sleep on the couch trouble. Honestly, she was acting kind of like a psycho about it.

But the real success story for “Man Overboard” has nothing to do with articles about my wife’s breast augmentation, the fact that our new dog only goes to the bathroom on my side of the bed, or columns about how I love cheeseburgers so much that I have actually lost my neck, (my body is now just chest then a fat face). Nope, the success of “Man Overboard” through these last 15 glorious years comes from the readers of the Sun. It’s you, who have been kind enough to sit back at a local business and read the paper each week. It’s you, who support the advertisers in this paper. It’s you, who have provided great feedback about my “Man Overboard” columns, which allowed me to keep my job here. And this job is important to me as it is my own version of marriage therapy, so thank you very, very much.

Rob wanted to write about the time his wife used a baby diaper to go to the bathroom while stuck in Los Angeles traffic but she said, “Absolutely not!” 

Weekly Poll
What do you think of the changes Santa Barbara County made to its cannabis ordinances?

It was too early to make any changes. The industry is still new.
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