Issue #362 July 11, 2018

Going the Distance

my idea of competition doesn’t involve a whole lot of running

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

Competition is not my strong suit. Sure, I like to win things. Board games. Scavenger hunts. Million-dollar lotteries, things like that. But contests involving the phrase “high stakes” do not fire me up. They never have. And here’s an example ...

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Issue #361 June 27, 2018

Cart to Cart

how to win friends and influence pretzel nuggets

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

You know what I just love? Being all friendly like. I love running into friends and neighbors and chatting it up. I love catching up and reconnecting and staying in touch and sharing precious ...

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Issue #359 May 30, 2018

List Connections

putting the stress in summertime fun

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Erik Christenson

Each summer, my kids make a list of all the Super Summertime Fun Stuff they’d like to do after school lets out. I’m sure you’ve seen, heard of, or perhaps made a list like this at some point in your life ...

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Issue #358 May 16, 2018

A Sporty Retorty

I’ve never gotten along with sports, and perhaps I never will

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

This is a story I love to tell. I end up telling it all the time. At the bar. At parties and get-togethers. In the car and at family gatherings. In awkward conversations with people I hardly know while waiting ...

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Issue #356 April 18, 2018

6 Horrible Ways to Park Your Car

honking a metaphorical horn at all you awful parkers

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

It will surprise you to learn there are things at which I am slightly below average. For instance? Frisbee golf. I am not so good at that. Waterskiing? Just awful. C++ computer programming? Laughable. Freestyle rap battling? Don’t get me started ...

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Issue #355 April 4, 2018

It’s a Yard Knock Life

as spring arrives, frozen shame begins to thaw

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

Huzzah. Spring is all but here. The snow will soon be gone. And like most of you, I long for warmer weather. I can’t wait to slip on my very masculine sandals, and the prospect of busting ...

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Issue #353 Mar. 7, 2018

Surface Tension

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

As soon as he drilled the holes something felt wrong. When we shuffled between them, water would blurble up through the openings and spread out over the ice, forming deep puddles ...

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Issue #352 Feb. 21, 2018

I Hate My Stupid Whatever

if you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up, try constantly complaining

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Beth Czech

Here’s my promise to you: I won’t waste a single paragraph’s worth of well-crafted sentences complaining about the weather. It’s the least I can do for all you people out there who don’t give a damn about some random guy’s opinion on that we cannot control ...

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Issue #351 Feb. 7, 2018

The Best of Me (2018)

this year’s Best of the Mike Paulus Poll was a doozie

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Janae Breunig

The votes are in, the polls are slammed shut, and the tallies have been tilly-tallied. So it’s with great pleasure and excitement that I present to you the results of my 2018 Best of the Mike Paulus Poll wherein I polled only myself. Strenuously. What follows ...

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Issue #350 Jan. 24, 2018

Why the Hell Would I Drive to Chippewa?

maybe it’s time you explored the rest of the Valley

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster

The other day I was trying to figure out what you call someone from Chippewa Falls. I settled on “Chippewa Fallsian.” Sure, it sounds like a rebel assassin from Star Wars, but I think it works. We’ve been ...

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Issue #349 Jan. 10, 2018

Blinking at the Dashboard

it’s cold outside and that makes all the difference

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I sit here blinking at the dashboard because I can’t believe my engine started. It’s something to smile about. On a Friday morning while the sky is dark and the temperature is 16 degrees below zero and ...

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Issue #348 Dec. 27, 2017

When Push Comes to Shovel

this winter, I bid adieu to my favorite inanimate friend

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

I never gave it a name. And the name of a thing is so very important. It was just always there, hanging in the garage, year after year, patiently waiting in reverse hibernation for winter to come. It came alive in cold weather. It lived for the snow ...

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Issue #347 Dec. 13, 2017

Snowing Is Half the Battle

living with the threat of a crusty Brown Christmas

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

Brown Christmas. It’s the absolute worst. Sure, there are far more important things about which we can complain, or even try to fix, but no snow in late December? It just doesn’t feel right ...

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Issue #346 Nov. 29, 2017

An A Christmas Story Story

don't shoot your eye out with this holiday classic

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

It’s the very end of November, so have you watched A Christmas Story yet? No? Did you hear that it’s the very end of November? You better get on that. Make some popcorn. Call some friends. Make a ho-ho-holiday night of it. I’ll pass ...

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Issue #345 Nov. 15, 2017

Dark Fields

when we used to shine a beam into the night

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

We used to see more than 40 of them, sometimes more, out in the fields under the deep, starless sky. My shoulder aching, my fingers freezing, I leaned out the truck window and held the spotlight as high as I could. Every year ...

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Issue #344, Nov. 1, 2017

Booked on a Feeling

an ode to local libraries and the people who love them

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Serena Wagner

It smelled weird, I can tell you that. Today the Internet has labeled this particular odor “old book smell,” and book lovers love it. But when I was young, it was just weird. ...

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Issue #343 Oct. 18, 2017

Fearful Thinking

a small collection of scary thoughts

Mike Paulus, design by Serena Wagner

I used to imagine people picking up the brooms my mother left behind at every house in which we had ever lived, maybe wondering why they were there, leaning up against a counter or standing silent in the closet ...

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