Pee Wee Solves A Problem

The Athenaeum
Published in
4 min readApr 25, 2021


The daffodils are up. Percy is feeding the lawn. We’re not wearing masks at The Mill because the virus is boring and despite the fact that we here in Mushamaguntic are threatened by the dreaded “codfish variant”, I’m not going to write about it.

Pee Wee showed up on his motorcycle yesterday to start the season. I was surprised. I hadn’t renewed his contract. He asked me why I hadn’t.

“Well”, I said, “We’ve been here before. Having an 86 year-old Korean man who wears a baseball cap and sits on a milk crate as a flunky to a mediocre, middle-aged white guy is problematic. You may be next year’s Apu, and I don’t want to have to apologize to every Korean on the planet. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t accept my apology.”

“That’s crazy.” Pee Wee replied, “You’re not going to hire me just because I’m a trope?”

“Yes,” I said.

“A trope you created.”


“What bullshit,” he said. “ Who is going to run the place?”

“I don’t know,” I said, “Everything will probably go to shit like it did when I replaced you with Fat Joe.”

Pee Wee stared at me for a while. Just a wide-eyed stare that let me know he was really pissed. He hadn’t aged at all during the Pandemic. He looked good. He had on a new Toronto Blue Jays cap and his windbreaker, hanging open and straight, revealed that his waist was a slim as ever. He was wearing a mask that matched the color of his tee shirt.

“Print out the contract and sign it,” he said.

“OK, I’ll do what you say,” I said, “but this could be big trouble.”

“There are 10,000 ways to solve this problem. The worst way to solve it is the way you picked, which denies me my sports book money for the summer. You’ll have to find another way.”

“Like what?”

“How about you hire a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican woman as your editorial assistant and then comment on her ass or hair.”

“I’d like that,” I said.

“See. Everybody wins. You create another trope, say something stupid, your comments blow up and nobody even notices me.”

“What’s the down side?” I asked. “There’s got to be some down side.”

“You might get kicked off of Medium, but if you look at your stats,” Pee Wee said as the printer started spitting out paper. “I think you already did.”

He put the papers in front of me and held out a pen.

“How did you print out the contract?” I asked, “I’m not even logged into the iron pig.”

“I printed it from my phone,” he said. “Just sign.”

“I had an idea.” I told him, “I was thinking of maybe hiring Greta Thunberg as my assistant this year. The gag would be that I would cast her as a kind of Delphic Oracle, sitting over in your spot making dire prophetic announcements, like some kind of green Pythia, but one that does that weird inhaling thing that Scandinavians do.”

“Like I said, there are 10,000 ways to solve this problem. You only need one. Thunberg is a bad idea because she’s not neuro-typical and I’m sure your ham-fisted treatment of her would result in endless, well founded complaints about another normie getting the particulars of life on the spectrum wrong.”

“Same thing with Amanda Gorman, right?” I asked, “ She is on fire right now. I mean, if I dropped her name in the headline I’m sure it would be good for like… 5 or 10 views, which is way above my average.”

I had signed the contract. Pee Wee signed it too and was scanning it with his phone.”

“I’m not sure how, but I think Amanda Gorman would be an even more offensive choice.” He said.

“Maybe I should hire a mythological creature, like the Vermilion Dragon or something.”

“That could work,” Pee Wee said, as he started unpacking his milk crate. “As I said, there are 10,000 solutions to this problem. You just have to find one.”

“What about a dog?” I asked, “People are dog crazed nowadays and I could hire a French Bulldog… they are the “it” breed of the moment… and name him “Napoleon.” Then I could have him do stuff like mock Algerians and smoke in church… nobody cares if you make fun of the French.”

“Somehow I think you will find the people who do. Hey, shouldn’t you have left for your meeting with Hughes twenty minutes ago?”

“Shit!” I yelled, grabbing my hat and cell phone. “What would I do without you?”

“You would be stuck in your pale, pale world of middle class mediocrity.” He said.

I smiled. “You came back to get me out?”

“I can try.” He said.

“Thanks,” I said reaching for the door. “I really appreciate it.”



The Athenaeum

Tribune of Medium. Mayor Emeritus of LiveJournal. Third Pharaoh of the Elusive Order of St. John the Dwarf. I am to Medium what bratwurst is to food.