Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Angry about student loan forgiveness? Not me

Here’s what I don’t understand.

Why does it fry your tater if someone who used a student loan to help pay for college gets up to $20,000 of that loan forgiven?

Is it because Lauren Boebert (R-Pluto) quipped the loan was used for “Karen’s daughter’s lesbian dance theory class?” (Boebert loves a dog-whistle so a dig at a lifestyle she doesn’t approve of wasn’t even the worst thing she said all weekend. Speculation that Joe Biden wears adult diapers rolled right off her forked tongue the next day. Classy!)

Boebert’s nothing if not predictable but the rest of y’all? I don’t get the outsized outrage that someone who thought a college degree could lead to a better life is getting a little break.

Is it because you find it a lot more palatable to give billionaires tax breaks? The mental contortions required to seriously whine about college loan forgiveness that benefits working class Americans while CRICKETS on the 1 percenter’s is hard to explain. Maybe it’s because you think the fat cats are job creators whose largesse will trickle down to the working man. Well, no. Except in the way bird poo trickles down your arm if you feed the seagulls long enough.

“B-b-b-but I had to pay mine back” you say. Are you also bitter your property taxes fund education even though you don’t have kids in school? Do you not give to cancer research because your relative didn’t live? How deep does this particular ugly go?

Some of the loudest uproar comes from conservative Christians which, as several common-sense pastors have pointed out, is super weird considering Christianity is founded on the idea of a cancelled debt. Amen?

To be honest, I don’t believe everyone needs to go to a four-year college. I have a two-year degree from a community college that cost almost nothing. It was a good call that led to a great career, and I spend exactly zero seconds regretting that decision.

For the past six or seven years I’ve mentored high school seniors who, almost always, are going to be first-gen college students. My task is to help them craft a compelling “Common App” essay. Here’s what I’ve learned: There needs to be a whole lot more financial literacy taught in schools. Even better if the parents attend as well. Because what happens is, a student with little to no college fund gets accepted to a private school with steep tuition and a glam campus. Usually, the school’s admission rate is high enough to be sus, as the kids say.

I always counsel these kids to get those first two years at community college. No debt. Legit course credit. And two years to grow a little wiser about their path. Plenty of these loans being forgiven are for community college grads in the trades, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. You got a problem with that, too?

It’s disgraceful for bottom-feeding schools with huge price tags and zero academic bona fides to be allowed to show up on campus to recruit. But they do. And these kids’ eyes light up because they see the dream, not the debt.

This may sound like I am talking out of both sides of my laptop but I’m not. I don’t begrudge the desire to live the dream. That’s what being young and hopeful is about. Mistakes (wrong major, bad college) will be made sometimes. But other times, that degree can lead to a job that reverses a generational slide into poverty. So, yeah, forgive that loan. Instead of the mythical “job creators” with offshore accounts, paying zero taxes and only concerned with shareholders, show some love to these folks who now have more income with the boot off their neck. More income to resuscitate the economy, even. Win-win.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Civil War II?

Gentle Reader: The following, inspired by Union soldier Sullivan Ballou’s famous “Civil War Letter to His Wife” should be read with wistfully sweet violins playing in the background, a la Ken Burns’ epic documentary. This updated epistle is inspired by a recent poll showing more than half of Trump-supporting Republicans believe a civil war will take place within the next decade.…

July 14, 2025 (ish)

Camp Clark, Washington (if that’s still a thing)

My very dear Sarah…

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage doesn’t halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us…I’m willing to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government and pay that debt…

OK, real talk now Sarah. These guys on the other side? They’re seriously wackadoodle. Honestly, when they said a few years back America would be in a civil war, I thought they were kidding. Remember the guy wearing the Viking helmet and no shirt that stormed the Capitol that time? Dude. He is like Mensa material compared to what we’re seeing out here on the “battlefield.”

OMG, Sarah. The one thing I can tell you is our side should’ve invested in food like these clowns. Last night, we crept up the ridge and watched them pry open a 50-gallon drum labeled PATRIOT STEW. What even IS that? And they have these huge yellow flags with snakes on them everywhere. Don’t tread on me? My new friend, Trevor, made us laugh when he was all “Dude. Go do some yoga. Calm the freak down!” I mean maybe you had to be there.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables…and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind…

Whew. Speaking of a strong wind that PATRIOT STEW is producing wicked amounts of methane. Good thing we all drive hybrids. Kinda balances things out IMHO.

Sarah, this shouldn’t have happened. I miss the good old days when all we did was exchange some serious side-eye at the traffic light because we hated each other’s bumper stickers. I honestly thought they were joking when they acted like education, responsible gun ownership and preserving democracy were bad things. Go figure!

…If I do not return, dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name…I shall always be near you, in the gladdest days and darkest nights, always, always and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath…

OK, Sarah. That was kinda cringe. I knew it when I wrote it. My bad. Obviously, I won’t be around blowing dead-person air on your face because you don’t even sleep with a fan. You’d absolutely hate that.

If I’m being honest, I do feel a kinship with the soldiers who fought for the preservation of democracy before us. Sure, they didn’t do it camped out in an abandoned TJ Maxx in NoVa like us, but I get all Band of Brothers-y every time I think about it.

How did we get here, Sarah? A civil war???? It didn’t happen overnight. I mean one day you’re pushing your dog in a stroller and the next some meth head is screeching at you about the Deep State like it’s his JOB.

Gotta go. One of the guys has been fermenting some cabbage and we’re all trying to act supportive.

Love, Sully

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Questions for the pharmacist

The author has lots of questions for pharmacists like the one shown here. Photo: (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Am I the only person who thinks it’s weird when the clerk asks if you have any questions for the pharmacist?

Just once, I’d like to say, “OK, I guess so. Let’s see. OK, got one!  Why is it that even though I work hard for the money (kidding!) I still can’t quite bring myself to order the guac because of the RIDICULOUS upcharge?”

If this is met with the blank stare I predict, I will follow up with a few more questions for the pharmacist since he or she must be considered uncommonly wise. Of course I got questions! Quite a few as a matter of fact. And since you asked…

Like, where, precisely—and I’m talking Webb telescope levels of specific—is that creepy looking moth with a 10-INCH wing span hanging out now, besides in my nightmares? Has the pharmacist seen the Atlas moth, bigger than the human hand? It somehow hitched a ride from Asia to Washington state. Can we make sure that never happens again, Pharmacist? Please say yes.

Here’s another one. Why do women love pockets so much? I mean, sure they’re handy and all but if you believe the hype, we think of little else all day long. Our reproductive rights are being shredded like tenderloin at a pig pickin’ but POCKETS! “Mmmmm, how do you like my new muu-muu? It’s super retro Golden Girls chic and….wait for it…POCKETS!” Cue squeals and hand-clapping. It’s a little flap of extra fabric. Settle down, Ginger.

Why are people who profess to be law-abiding, non-Antifa, God-fearing citizens hating on…the FBI? Are y’all getting out the Goo Gone and removing those Blue Lives Matter decals off your trucks? How ‘bout the flag sticker your doofus brother-in-law said will keep you from being pulled by the highway patrol? If you’re going all anarchist all the time, you might as well.

I’m not done. You are, after all, the PHARMACIST. So, I have a few more questions and, sure, there are a bunch of folks waiting in line behind me and now they kinda hate me for making fun of pockets and want me to move along but, well, you asked.

Why do so many people who haven’t cracked a book since middle school and “It was about a lab dog so that was the onliest reason I picked it out” are suddenly experts on what should be allowed in school libraries? I gotta howl when these parents try to explain why they want “The Diary of Anne Frank” removed from the prying eyes of children. Of which Anne Frank was one. You need to skedaddle, Buford. You skipped high school because it ate into your vaping time. Tell the truth.

Where have all the soap operas gone? No, wait. I realize that’s not as serious as some of the other stuff I’ve talked about (like POCKETS!) but soaps weren’t just about overwrought acting and iffy plot lines. It was about BONDING. The news that “Days of Our Lives” will morph into a streaming version leaving only three legit soaps on TV is a little sad. Sure, it wasn’t very good but there was something so comforting about watching a show you had shared with your grandma while shelling butterbeans into a dinged-up metal dishpan every summer.

Wait. I know the guy behind me in line is, quite literally, itching to check out (bless his heart) but I have one more question for the pharmacist. Why are y’all not high up anymore? Remember how we used to have to look up at the pharmacy because it was a half flight of steps up? You literally had to shout your questions up to the heavens. “WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE???” Yeah I kinda miss that.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Florida man hoards documents, resists offers of help

The author imagines how a certain former president could use the help of a TV reality show. Photo: Getty Images

On tonight’s episode of  “Hoarders,” you will meet an elderly Florida man who can’t let go of boxes and boxes of paper documents.

“It’s all about the paper,” said “T,” who didn’t want to reveal his full name. “So much paper. All of it has been recently declassified by me. Because that’s how that works. I want it declassified so I go “Poof! You’re declassified!” and it’s done. Not many people know that.”

Later in the episode, certified hoarding consultant and licensed clinical social worker Brittney will join Mack and the team from Haulin’ Assets as they help “T” find a way to let go of the boxes and boxes of paper documents he has carefully transported to his Florida home from “the damp house with all the dead people pictures on the walls.”

Their faces etched in love and concern, Brittney and Mack sat down with “T” to get at the root of his paper hoarding problem.

“We always let the client touch every piece before they decide to let it go,” Brittney explained. “We set up three areas labeled KEEP, DONATE and TRASH. It’s important to honor the process. In “T’s” case, he will probably want to take a lot of time reviewing each document before letting it go. He did just ask “what is donate?” but I’m sure he was just confused.”

Mack sighed. “Look. I love my job because I love helping people. Some of these folks are drowning in their own hoard. Floor to ceiling boxes, old clothes…even garbage. If I had a dollar every time we found a fossilized cat under a recliner—boy howdy!—I’d be rich!”

Before the work can start, Mack is suddenly informed these documents will not be transported by his team after all.

“Hey, there are a bunch of windowless black vans pulling up. Not sure who these clowns are but they’re on my turf. Wait…where are you guys taking me?!?…Help!!!!”

Undaunted, Brittney helps T begin the arduous task of sorting through the documents. She worries they won’t be able to complete the work in the 48-hour time frame especially now that Mack seems to have been called away unexpectedly.

Stepping away, she confides to the cameras: “T wants to keep every single document just as I predicted. He hasn’t put a single item in the “trash” container. Usually this happens with half-empty pudding cups and weird doll babies still in their original boxes. Normally by this time, he would’ve already had a few loud arguments in his front yard with at least two female relatives with bra-strap issues but nobody in his family is even here…”

Mack returns to the scene now and pulls Brittney aside to tell her the FBI wants all the documents.

“I don’t care who they are; we respect our clients too much to dismiss their feelings!” she says as T plops down on a rusted chaise lounge missing most of its webbing that has mysteriously appeared on his front lawn.

“Lookit him, Mack,” she says. “It’s as if those files are all he has left in the whole world! I bet there’s nothing in there but a bunch of receipts from the tire store and his nana’s bread pudding recipe…”

“Uhhhhh, the G-men think these documents are highly classified and contain sensitive intelligence information.”

Brittney laughs loudly. “Ha! From that sweet ol’ thing? Spray tan? Ketchup-stained golf shirt? He’s not hurting anybody! Classified documents! Pardon my French, Mack, but my aunt Fanny!”

Suddenly, T summons the cameras so he can make a statement.

“Those men in those black vans actually brought these boxes in and left them here. They were PLANTED.”

Brittney shakes her head sadly. “So pitiful. Mack, let’s go inside and move a few recliners. You know why.”

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write to her at [email protected].

Weekend humor from Celia Rivenbark: Sure I’ll compost; now you give up your private jet

Kylie Jenner, 24, looked at her partner, Travis Scott, also rich and famous, and asked innocently, “You want to take mine or yours?”

Cue hair on fire. Because Kylie wasn’t talking about a car; she was asking which private jet they should take: his or hers.

The Twitter outrage, fueled by a scrumptious story in the Washington Post chronicling celeb abuse of private jets, was fast and furious. How could she? Does she know nothing of the global climate crisis? Has no one told her, or Travis, private jets pollute the planet at a rate five to 14 times higher than commercial airplanes?

While Kylie and Travis’s “Let them eat Biscoff” approach to flying was tacky and clueless, they are by no means alone. The Post reported jets owned by Taylor Swift and boxing icon Floyd Mayweather were ranked 1 and 2, respectively, as celebrities with the worst private jet carbon emissions. What an awards show that would be! “I’d like to thank all the people who helped me destroy the planet…”

Taylor’s handlers had a swift defense: She frequently lets others use her private jet; often she’s not even on the plane. Well! Problem solved. Except…here’s a middle school math question for Team Tay: If a private jet leaves Teterboro (NJ) at 10:30 a.m. and arrives in Van Nuys (CA) five hours later, what flippin’ difference does it make who’s on the plane? Unless it’s me, in which case, y’all mind your business. I’m clearly having an awesome day.

Rapper Drake, defending using private jets for short flights didn’t see a problem. He explained, via Instagram, as if speaking to a small child, “(Sometimes) this is just moving planes to whatever airport they are being stored at…” Logistics. It’s not just a river in Egypt. Burning thousands of gallons of jet fuel so celebs can be closer to their jets as needed is laboratory-distilled levels of privilege.

Colin Murphy, deputy director of the Policy Institute for Energy and the Economy at UC-Davis, in a masterful stroke of understatement, told the Post rich folk are traveling in a much less efficient way than if they were sitting in a coach seat on a commercial jet.

Hahahahahahahahahaha. Picturing Kylie in the middle seat of a cross-country flight, between “Guy Devouring Leaky Muffaletta Sandwich—Extra Garlic” and “Woman Who Says Her Grandaughter’s Just As Pretty and Why Can’t SHE Have a Reality Show” made me howl.

Don’t get me wrong. Many of these polluting celebs work hard for the money. But you have to wonder why they can’t see the irony in yammering about the environment–Taylor Swift reportedly uses nature themed words in her songs seven times as often as other pop singers– while stretching out on cashmere seats with monogrammed headrests for a trip as short as…FOURTEEN MINUTES. Yes. Some of the flights were that short. It’s insane to take a jet that emits 480 times more than the average person’s ANNUAL carbon emissions, to essentially run over to Taco Bell before the Mexican pizzas give out. Which they always do, by the way, which makes me wonder why they even bothered to bring them back.

But I digress.

At the end of the world, sorry, day, everyone knows you will have to pry these elaborately decorated private jets from Kylie and company’s cold dead hands, but you have to admire the optimism of Peter DeCarlo, associate professor of environmental health at Johns Hopkins who studies atmospheric air pollution. DeCarlo told the Post he hopes celebrities will consider the environmental impact of their choices and the message they are sending and shape up.

I know. Isn’t he adorable?

Kylie and Travis will never live in a world where they fill up their shared hybrid with Harris Teeter fuel points. Pity.

Celia Rivenbark is a NYT-bestselling author and columnist. Write her at [email protected].