The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done

  With the success of Paradox Press’ “Big Book” series, the market appears ripe for this new publication by cartoonist Ted Rall. It’s an oversized, square-bound collection of short graphical stories, each (as Paradox boasts of its Big Books) “100% true”. The theme is, as you probably guessed, confessions of the worst things that an individual has done. Since it’s not as thick (or expensive) as the Paradox tomes, I call it The Medium-Sized Book of Worst Things (which is an indicator of why I’m not on the marketing staff at NBM).

In a sense, the internet was a collaborator in the writing of this book, as Rall solicited stories through posts on Usenet, and received many replies by e-mail. The old “anonymity of the net” strikes again. The stories are reportedly in the confessors own words. I’m inclined to believe this, because the quality of the narrative varies a lot, sometimes very engagingly and dramatically told, other times difficult to follow (even with illustrations). I prefer the strips (published in better alternative newspapers) that Rall writes himself.

I suppose I’m not really the target audience of this book, since the only TV talk show I’ve ever watched more than three minutes of is Donahue, not any of the current “teenage lesbians who sleep with polygamist neo-nazi transvestites” crop. So I found many of the stories simply uninteresting. OK, so this woman picked up a stranger and had sex with him in the parking lot. Been there. {shrug} But others, such as the teenagers whose lawnmowing price-fixing scheme led them to ruin another kid’s life, or the guy who plotted to take revenge on his neighbour’s cat, unsettled me. A few others I found amusing, such as one man’s response to the loud TV upstairs.

So it’s a mixed bag. Pick it up and read a story or two. If they tickle your funny bone (or your conscience), buy it and take it home. Or if you’re really desperate to get into Rall’s next book, I guess you could steal it and e-mail the story in to him.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.