Congratulations on Purchasing a Katana, by Spencer Ham

Your sword was personally forged by Akio Taguchi in the village of Tobishima. Enclosed you will find the certificate of authenticity. Now that you own a katana, there are certain traditions you must upkeep. Below is a list of the rules you are required to follow:

• You must have a ponytail. “But what if I’m balding in the front?” Especially if you’re balding in the front.

• You must display your katana on top of a leaning bookshelf located next to a glow-in-the-dark dragon poster.

• You must have a pre-approved katana-owner name. Please refer to the attached list of accepted names, which includes, but is not limited to, Rick, Brent, and Ty-Joe.

• You must film yourself opening the katana and then upload it onto YouTube. There are specific guidelines for this video: 1.) It must be over 18 minutes long. 2.) Your stepmother must film it. 3.) You must get agitated, with your frustration boiling into a full-on man-boy tantrum. 4.) You must wield the katana in a manner that will cause commenters to write things like “This guy be a retarded Highlander” and “STFU use that sword 2 kill yourself.”

• You must drive a PT Cruiser.

• When naming your katana, you must use this formula: an ex-girlfriend’s first name + The Samurai Demon. If you’ve never had a girlfriend, use the name of the fictional girl you tell people you once dated during summer camp.

• You must try to impress your nephews by using the katana to cut open watermelons.

• You must sabotage conversations at parties by talking about feudal Japan in a weirdly intense manner. It must cause at least seven people to pretend they got a text in order to leave the social circle.

• You must be in at least one FARK news headline that reports your arrest after being naked and carrying the katana in a public park.

• Right before your 50th birthday, you must pawn the katana for 87% less than you paid for it.

We understand that this is a long list of rules, but please understand that we cannot simply give a katana to just anybody. By following these standards, we have no doubt that you will continue the legacy of those warriors who have carried a katana.

Respectful bow,

Keith Flicker, C.E.O.

Spencer Ham is a comedian in Chicago, where he performs at iO and writes for the trivia game You Don’t Know Jack. His work has also been published in McSweeney’s.

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