You Should Be Ashamed of Myself

Dear Editor,

I write to express my profound disappointment with the obvious decline in quality of your once-estimable publication since you began accepting unsolicited submissions from laypersons. The piece entitled “Jurassic Lark: Why Your Housebird Might De-evolve Into a Giant Carnivore When Your Back Is Turned,” which appeared in the most recent issue of Great Lizard, is a perfect example of why only professional writers—with specialized education and/or training in the relevant subject matter (in this case, vertebrate palaeontology/palaeoecology)—should be published as contributors to a reputable magazine such as yours (was previously). In short, that was the worst article I have ever written.

Where to begin finding fault with my article, which you had the poor judgment to acquire for publication? I might as well start at the beginning, with the title: It doesn’t require a comprehensive review of the applicable literature to reveal zero basis for the proposition that an extant species of the order Passeriformes could, under any conditions, transmogrify—quickly or otherwise—into a theropod. Put another way, no one’s Tweety is going to become a Tyrannosaur. The mere suggestion is alarmist fear-mongering of the worst kind. Also, it’s complete birdshit.

(Before getting to the substance of my piece—if my piece can even be said to have any substance, really—I should point out that, notwithstanding what my byline reads, I do not have a Ph.D. anything. I have a bachelor of arts degree in rotary lawn mower repair from a college that I won’t embarrass by naming it. Also, you probably wouldn’t recognize the name, because the place was shut down by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in 2003, although I believe that my diploma is still valid, if possibly toxic.)

If it weren’t enough that the very premise of my fourteen-page feature story is inherently ludicrous, the supporting material contains numerous patently incorrect statements, any one of which should have signaled to an editorial assistant that my work was not to be given any credence. These myriad, manifest errata/red flags include:

Moreover, the statement “ERMAHGERD, DERNERSERS ER SCERER ERND I HERT THERM!”—which I suspect my pre-teen niece added to my final draft when I had stepped away from my laptop either to pay the pizza guy or to get another beer—has no place in a scientific journal.

In conclusion, let me be clear: If Great Lizard magazine continues to accept submissions from rank amateurs such as myself and publishes any further “contributions” like mine—and please note that I have every intention of continuing to send in material for your consideration—I will without hesitation cancel my subscription and provide no further voluntary financial support.


Gary Miller, “Esq.”

Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.

Read more humor here. Or read some fiction here.