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Words by Ryan Croker      Art by Erik Dewaal
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The Tragic Reason I had to Shut Down my Podcast

I, like millions of Americans before me, wanted to stand on my own two feet and provide for myself with a highly lucrative podcast. I did my research, decided on a topic, hired a graphic designer to make me a logo, bought some equipment, and got started. I called my podcast Neil Life, a daily podcast where I and a guest discussed anything pertaining to celebrities named Neil. We mostly divided out time between Neil Diamond and Neil Young, with a little bit of Neil Sedaka thrown in for good measure.


It was glorious. Within just a few weeks I had thousands of listeners and had shot to the top of the charts. With that kind of success, I knew it was time for the next step: monetization. I quickly set up everything to get some sponsors and waited for the money to roll in. It wasn’t long before I got my first sponsorship offer. It was a bloodthirsty 18th century pirate named Yellowneck who wanted to pay me to tell people to fear the high seas.


I went ahead because I needed the money. It seemed to go okay and a few days later, I got another sponsorship offer. It was another pirate from the age of sail, this time named ‘Ol Toby Flinders. He wanted me to tell people to stay away from his treasure. I did. Then began the deluge, every pirate who had ever set foot on a ship wanted to sponsor my podcast.


I’m not sure why they felt that Neil fans were the best audience for their various threats and warnings, but they kept coming back again and again. I had to increase my rates just to avoid having too many sponsors—and still they kept coming. I became incredibly wealthy and world-famous.


And then came the end. I figured it might be a good idea to research one of these pirates to learn a little more about these people I represented. I was horrified to discover that, not only had 17th century pirates killed people, they also had engaged in theft! I knew that I couldn’t in good conscience continue to profit from murder and other crimes. I knew that I would have to kill Neil Life for good.


And so I did. The last episode aired last week. Now I have no dreams. All I have left is a huge pile of cash and an empty place in my heart. For those who want to take up podcasting, I urge you to reconsider. It might look (and sound) glamorous, but the damage to your soul can’t be undone.

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