About the Author


By Neil Offen

Now that I’ve been writing this column for a couple of months, I thought you should know more about me. So I will lower my voice and speak in the third person, which sounds more authoritative and also I can’t find a second person to do this.

Neil Offen is the internationally best-selling author of the international best-seller Gargling for Dummies. He is, as well, the man behind several critically acclaimed supermarket shopping lists.

Lauded as “that guy,” by The New York Times and hailed as “him,” by National Public Radio, Offen has been published in a variety of formats, including pen, crayon, chalk and, once, under duress, his wife’s eyebrow pencil.

He has received many honors, beginning with the bronze medal in his fourth-grade spelling bee contest, which he definitely would have won if not for the word surprize, and has been named Un Homme Tres Etrange, by the French government, the highest honor it can bestow on someone who doesn’t know how to pronounce camembert.

Offen came from Modest Means, a small town south of Sheboygan. He would have grown up in a log cabin if his family had been able to carry more logs onto the subway. Although his parents had planned on him having a career as a nuclear physicist, even if they had no idea what that was, Offen instead showed his preference for using words, frequently coming in a close second in family Boggle games. He would have even won one game, too, if he had only known how to use the magic cube to spell physicist.

Offen began his writing career early, writing notes home from summer camp pleading with his parents to please, I beg of you, get me out of here before the Junior Buckskins have to attempt the zip line over the lake on Thursday.

While in school, he forged ahead in his writing career, devoting himself to the intellectually challenging pursuit of writing limericks when he should have been paying attention in math class. He ultimately gave up that career when he ran out of acceptable rhymes for limericks that began, “There once was a man from Nantucket.”

A master of multiple styles of writing, Offen has dipped his pen in journalism, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, IOUs and absolute lying. An early adopter of the new digital technology to enhance his writing, he has managed to inadvertently delete important things he has written on his desktop, his laptop, his iPad and his iPhone.

His works, particularly his emails and some of his texts, are in the permanent collection of his friends Dick and Lew, mainly because they are also old and neither of them is quite sure yet how to permanently delete items from a Gmail inbox.

Offen has written for the neighborhood listserv, frequently asking for recommendations for reliable handymen, and contributed as well to birthday cards for most members of his immediate family.

He lives in Carrboro, but likes to imagine he’s still in the south of France, where the wine is cheaper, which is why he always says bon jour to the mailman and occasionally to the next-door neighbors. The next-door neighbors have occasionally tried to have him committed, but the authorities no longer respond to their hysterical calls.

Offen lives with his wife, two real children and three imaginary dogs, because they could never get a real one since he’s allergic.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column will appear twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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