I Am a Columnist

By Paul Lander
NSNC Member

Confession, on National Columnists Day = I’ve wanted to hold up a sign that says “I Am a Columnist” with an arrow pointing at an actual columnist.

With that in mind, I spent what appeared to be most of July in court. Actually, it was only one day; but if you’ve ever spent time in Van Nuys, you already know one day feels like a month. And, under oath, under penalty of perjury, and with the full force of punishment inflicted by the state of California staring me square in the eye, I was asked what my job is. And instead of my usual furumph and sputter about “being a writer, but for TV, so that’s not like being a real writer,” I answered, “Columnist/Writer.” No one was more surprised than me. And before the state of California carted me off to do California penance like sharing road-cleaning duties with the likes of Lindsay Lohan or finishing all my kale before I can have dessert in jail, I realized, “wait. That fits.” And, I have the NSNC to thank for it.

Four years, three conferences, two awards, and enough time spent in the hospitality suite, I can answer the question: “Are you now or have you ever been a member at a ‘Columnist Party?’” With a “hell yeah” and a showing off of the commemorative T-shirts, I can even prove it.

Now, back to Van Nuys. I am happy to report I was there for jury duty — not as a defendant …although, not getting picked did bring back some horrible memories of not getting picked in gym class in middle school. But, then again, I’m a columnist/writer and that, thanks to the validation and support of the NSNC, is about as close as I’ll ever get to sitting at the cool kids table.

Learn more about National Columnists Day and how you can participate HERE.


Paul Lander is not sure which he is proudest of — winning the Noble Peace Prize or sending Congolese gynecologist Dr. DENIS MUKWEGE to accept it on his behalf, bringing to light the plight of African women in war-torn countries. In his non-daydreaming hours, Paul has written for MAD, Weekly Humorist, National Lampoon, American Bystander, HuffPost Comedy, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Bombeck Writers Workshop Blog, and Humor Times; written and/or produced for multiple TV shows; and written stand-up material that’s been performed on Maher, The Daily Show, Colbert, Kimmel, etc. Now, onto Paul’s time commanding Special Forces in Kandahar…

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