Longtime newspaper publisher and humorist Angus Wordsworth Duncan officially announced his retirement this week and is stepping down from his duties at The Sacred Sandwich and The League of Tyndale. “This is no joke,” he said in an emotional statement to his beloved staff and colleagues. “I’m hanging up my mutton chops for good and riding Humphrey, my trusty mule, into the sunset.”
During the announcement, several employees could be seen snickering incessantly at Duncan’s deadpan delivery and impeccable comedic timing. “Good one, Angus!” someone shouted from the back of the newsroom. “You had us going there for a second, you ol’ coot!”
“It’s really hard to leave you all,” Duncan continued, ignoring the giggles and dabbing his moist eyes with a tissue. “It’s hard to leave because you obviously think I’m pranking you right now. But I’m dead serious, guys. Hey, come on… this isn’t funny… Seriously, stop it. I’m really retiring… Scout’s honor. Look, people… stop laughing. My fingers aren’t crossed or anything… Come on, stop laughing already!”
At least two employees were later treated for “side stitches” and minor bruising from rolling in the aisle. Only proofreader Lily Smukler seemed visibly distraught, but this was apparently due to the retirement cake from Hy-Vee reading, “Happy Trails, Angus. Your The Best!” in blue frosting. Overall, the consensus among the amused attendees was that Duncan gave an eloquent farewell speech that rivaled Lou Gehrig’s final address at Yankee Stadium, but as one snarky staffer noted, “without the haunting reverb.”
Advertising executive and obituary editor Otis Clutterbuck summed it up best: “Angus is quite the kidder. This may rank up there with his classic ‘Green Bean Casserole’ bit.”
C. R. Carmichael, who served behind the scenes as an unofficial adviser to Duncan, will immediately fill the vacancy left by Mr. Duncan. Carmichael recently acquired sole ownership of The Sacred Sandwich and his plans are to take the publication away from an emphasis on Christian humor and satire and present more straightforward, biblically-based content.
Explained Carmichael, “The Sandwich and Angus presented a unique, groundbreaking levity during the heyday of the Christian blogosphere, but times are changing in a way that warrants a new approach. Angus always stated that the humor at The Sacred Sandwich was only an experiment to see if satire could be used to address some of the missteps of American Christianity during the rise of the seeker-sensitive church movement and the subsequent emergent church movement. He proved, I believe, that satire can be a viable tool for exposing error, but ultimately it could not adequately address the rising postmodernism that is currently plaguing the Church with its emphasis on romanticism over biblical doctrine and ‘feelings’ over hard truth. My sense right now is that so-called ‘Christian humor’ is only adding to the milieu of spiritual ambiguity, worldliness and lackadaisicalness among professed believers, and making light of the grave matters at hand.”
Following Duncan’s announcement and tearful departure, Carmichael addressed the confused staff and was finally able to convince them that Angus’s retirement was not an elaborate prank. “I just told them that Angus had been embezzling from the company for years and was on his way to prison for emptying out our pension fund. Well, that sobered them up real quick. Of course, then it took me quite a while to convince them I was only kidding. Sheesh, people, it was a joke.”
Some things, it seems, you just don’t joke about.