Letter from the Editor

Issue 4

Welcome, gentile readers, to what may well be among the four greatest issues of The High Hat to date. As pleased as you surely are to espy my name atop the pile, as it were, you may still be wondering (a) why none of the “actual” editors could be roused to pen this introductory salvo and (b) why this particular issue is a trifle “thin” on “articles” this “month.” The answer is simple: most of our regular scribes are, as of this writing, somewhat indisposed. “Indisposed,” in most cases, meaning “too intoxicated on semi-legal substances to write anything.”

Not for want to trying, of course. In fact, editors Haycart Choads and Willham Iam, recognizing the long-held truism that “as the dog returneth to his vomit, so doth motht of the manuscripts for the fourth edition of a little-read webzine get returnethed unread,” attempted this past month to coerce the muses to bestow inspiration and the occasional cold compress upon the creative team at THH (an acronym for The High Hat) by sending them on a postage-paid 13-day retreat to the American Pseudo-Professional Writer’s Compound and Slightly-Irregular Slacks Outlet at Camp JeJeune, N.C.

Here, the writers, illustrators, designers, copy-editors and freelance pharmaceutical distributors of this august publication were put through their paces, undergoing a grueling series of creative exercises, by which I mean they were forced to write while being covered with thin, watery oatmeal. These exercises were designed to sharpen their artistic responses and compositional stamina and are also alleged to be good for the pores.

The groundwork should thus have been laid for a — oh, you must excuse me, I typed the word “laid” and collapsed into a 20-minute weeping jag just now and lost sight of the metaphor, so I’ll skip to the end of the sentence — but it was not to be. One writer, who shall remain nameless owing to indecisive parents, turned in an essay ostensibly on the subject of post-9/11 fly-fishing which actually consisted of the word “paella” repeated 1,432 times. A daring bit of formalism, perhaps, but one which sadly provided scant illumination on the topic. Another wrote a wonderful encomium to the burgeoning urban trend of “alternative” sheep-shearing, only to have all his modifiers confiscated by his handlers in the Utilitarian Church of the All-Purpose God before publication. Yet a third dropped his piece on the evils of fixed-pitch fonts, “If Hitler Were Alive Today, He’d Write Mein Kampf in 12-Point Courier Bold Oblique,” in mid-stream and decamped to develop a surreality television series, “American Lice Comb,” for UPS. (His disappointment upon discovering that UPS was a parcel-delivery service and not, in fact, a television network was palpable.) I myself had to prioritize between writing an article, devising a new sport combining navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry, and attempting to engender a good old-fashioned literary rivalry. (I am happy to report the forthcoming blood feud between myself and Miss Manners, pending notarization of the appropriate paperwork.)

Again and again, the better angels of our nature were savagely beaten and tormented by the lesser demons of our nurture. But that has nothing to do with this. What does is that, even after weeks of intensive cajoling on the part of our editorial staff and further weeks of infectious advancement on the part of our editorial staph (please beware of oozing pop-ups), we were left with approximately nothing to publish, deadline looming and our fruit and vegetables starting to grow soft in spots. This, I am pleased to report, is where the wonders of modern technology come in. For all of the articles in the issue you are — erm, would you do me a small favor and pick up your monitor or laptop and hold it aloft for a moment? Thank you — presently holding in your hands were completed with the invaluable assistance of the newly built Hackwerker 3000, a high-tech supercomputer capable of not only stringing together cliches at the rate of 250 a minute, but also generating reams of self-aggrandizing interview comments and shirking alimony payments to all of its former plug-ins. Unfortunately, its fine work is unlikely to be repeated, as it uploaded several gigaslugs of imported e-Brau and is now under house arrest for an altercation with an iMac just before press time. (We have been assured that it was just the virtual drink talking, and that the Hackwerker does not normally judge other computers by their color.) Nonetheless, the fruits of its valiant labor are all over this issue, and, despite a certain synthetic aftertaste, we are sure you will paella scarcely notice paella any paella paella difference paella paella paella in quality. Paella.