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Katie Burgess
Trophy by Emily Clouse


HUMOR

We must imagine Sisyphus hungry.

Breadstick shaped like infinity sign
Breadstick shaped like infinity sign
Image by author

At Olive Garden, we know what you like, and it’s bread. No one can ever get enough of our warm, fresh breadsticks — that is, until now! We’re 100% committed to giving you more of what you want, and that’s why for just $4.99 you can enjoy our new NEVER Ending Breadstick™. That’s right, Breadstick™, singular. You only need one because it’s literally endless. Once you take that first delicious bite, all you’ll want to do is keep savoring it. And you will be! Forever!

Too many things in life are fleeting. Youth. Love. Happiness. But not our Breadstick™. There’s…


Resist the urge to say, “My kid could do that.” We’ve all met Bryson.

Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, with cat, tree, throwing star, napkin, and Alan Alda
Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, with cat, tree, throwing star, napkin, and Alan Alda
Liberty Leading the People courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, altered by author

The ability to create art is the primary thing that separates us from animals, not counting elephants who learn to paint. But conversations about art can sometimes be intimidating. How does one discuss art intelligently?

First, ask yourself, “What is art?” Answer: “Pictures of stuff.”

Second, place the artwork in a context. What period does it belong to? There have been numerous movements throughout art history, such as the Renaissance, Cubism, and the one where everything is dots. What was that one called again? You studied it in your ninth grade art class. …


My lack of a mortal body makes me ideally suited to live on your advertised salary

Sad Dr Pepper can holding student loan statement
Sad Dr Pepper can holding student loan statement
Image by author

Dear Search Committee Chair:

I am writing to apply for the Humanities Instructor position announced in last week’s issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. I recently passed my doctoral defense at the University of Georgia, specifically in the student union café, where I studied under some of the world’s top Snapple lids. My dissertation was both a personal and critical exploration, entitled Why There’s No Period in “Dr” : The Semiotics of Absence.

I have a broad range of research interests, drawing from twenty-three unique academic disciplines. I am currently in the exploratory stages of a paper examining Baudrillard’s…


Is this your way of telling me I’m not getting grandchildren?

Cartoon version of Whistler’s Mother inspecting painting
Cartoon version of Whistler’s Mother inspecting painting
Whistler’s Mother via Wikimedia Commons, image by author

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci

Well, it’s an excellent use of sfumato, sweetheart, a real step forward in terms of naturalism. And she’s a pretty young lady! Is she single? It’s a departure from traditional portraiture, presenting the subject from the waist up. Good birthing shape, too. Did you already mention if she was single?

The Great Wave, Katsushika Hokusai

The giant wave embodies our helplessness in the face of nature. Which reminds me of the newspaper article I sent you, about all the ways a trip to the beach can kill you. Did you get that article? Heatstroke, rip currents, jellyfish. If you have to fight a shark, go…


No time to re-watch? No problem!

Promotional image from We Bought a Zoo
Promotional image from We Bought a Zoo
Image used via Fair Use

It’s hard to believe, but the tenth anniversary of 2011’s We Bought a Zoo is already approaching. Soon movie lovers everywhere will be celebrating this piece of cultural history. And of course you don’t want to be embarrassed when coworkers invite you to WBAZ trivia night or ask you to name your five favorite lines. But you’re a busy person, and you’ve already spent months preparing for the tenth anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. You worry you won’t have time to re-watch the family comedy/drama in its entirety before the big day rolls around on December…


The play’s the thing we can’t continue subsidizing

Title page and frontispiece for Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Tragedy. As it is now acted at the Theatres-Royal in Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden. London, 1776
Title page and frontispiece for Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Tragedy. As it is now acted at the Theatres-Royal in Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden. London, 1776
Image from Wikimedia Commons

My fellow Danes,

Many of my subjects have expressed discontent regarding the proposed cuts to our arts endowment. Look ye, I am not anti-art. No one loveth a good decorative horn or painted runestone more than I. But when God in His wisdom made me king following my brother’s tragic — yet one hundred percent natural — death, He bestowed a duty upon me. And that duty was not to continue Elsinore’s pattern of wasteful government spending. …


We’ll see who the ultimate master of toast is.

Angry man holding toaster and bread
Angry man holding toaster and bread
Image by author

Hey, Library Conference Room 2C — what’s up, jerks? I heard this was the place for so-called “Toastmasters.” You dare to call yourselves toast masters? Well, I’ve got a stainless steel Cuisinart here that says your buns are gonna get burnt. It’s scone down. Allow me to plug in Old Betsy here, and we’ll see who the ultimate master of toast is! Watch me as I load four slices into the toasting slots. That’s right, Old Betsy ain’t your grandma’s toaster. She’ll knock you flatter than focaccia. You’ll challah for mercy, but we shall show you naan!

All right, I’m…


I’m ignoring the naysayers.

Angry raccoon dressed like leprechaun
Angry raccoon dressed like leprechaun
Image by author

Sometimes in life you have to cut out toxic people — especially jealous haters who disparage your ideas and undermine your confidence. Because success means believing in yourself against all odds. That’s why I’m ignoring the naysayers who won’t admit that the thing I caught last night was 100% a real leprechaun.

I didn’t exactly find him at the end of a rainbow. It was more like a rainbow-y puddle made by an oil slick in a retention pond. He was hairier than the stereotypical cartoon leprechaun, with dark, beady eyes and a pointy nose. …


You can find love in all kinds of places.

Doll with staring eyes and slight frown
Doll with staring eyes and slight frown
Illustration by author

February 14th can be a day filled with pressure at the best of times. Society wants you to believe that if no one gives you some overpriced candy and flowers, then you must be a loser. And with this Valentine’s coming after almost a year of quarantine, well, that’s enough to make anyone feel anxious. Frustrated. Tightly wound, like a music box that starts playing by itself every night at midnight. But I’ve realized that social distancing doesn’t mean I can’t still celebrate with a special someone. In fact, I’m celebrating with a whole attic full of special someones. My…

Katie Burgess

“A little too something.” katieburgess.fun

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