Tuesday, June 18, 2024 Jun 18, 2024
81° F Dallas, TX



PEOPLE JIM WHEAT is engaging in the higher forms of literary anarchy again, and it may be too late to stop him. The October issue of National Lampoon contains one of Wheat’s mock album release promos, a genre for which he is infamous among his fans.

The “album,” entitled “Let’s Grow Hair,” carries a likeness of “Dean Don Durbin” in a black cowboy hat looking like a goofy Hopalong Cassidy. It features such Durbin “hits” as “Lockjaw Polka,” “He’s Gone to Get Jesus” and “The Devil Ate His Taters.”

In numerous self-published chapbooks from his Nonzense Press, Wheat parodies not only music reviews but also movie reviews, news items, crossword puzzles, advice columns, opinion polls, maps, critics, people who take themselves too seriously and everybody else.

Wheat’s output confounds even his supporters, including Mountain View College English professor DR. PAUL BENSON, a fan and former cousin by marriage, who says, “Jim is brilliant, but he never comes out of Oz.”

Or out of his house, for that matter. Wheat is publicity shy and. at 43, still lives at home with his parents. However, unlike many other baby boomers who have boomeranged back home to “retro-nest,” Wheat has never launched himself from the Garland nest. Why not? “No dough!” Wheat says.

“I was shy in high school,” he goes on. “but I got witty in junior college, which I attended for three weeks.”

Wheat is happy about the Lampoon gig, but he hopes he hasn’t clambered aboard a sinking ship. As of early November, the Lampoon folks still hadn’t paid him for his work. “They told me they don’t have any money,” he says, “and will be going to bimonthly from now on. And the magazine is also up for sale.”

Wheat might well take the advice of Koto the Human Rope, a character from his 1985 publication, Spout: “I don’t know about you, but somebody stinks!”