Wednesday, December 5, 2007

1. A politician--any politician you happen to favor--sends you an email explaining how "they," whoever they might happen to be, have really put an effort into unseating this worthwhile incumbent and thus this worthwhile incumbent desperately needs a contribution from you to help fight back. You email a tad more than you can afford, thinking somehow that your fortune will improve in time for the bill from the credit card on which you charged the contribution.

2. It doesn't improve, unless you can count some of the splendid things that happen to you in your day-to-day contacts with friends, students, blog buddies, and not to forget complete strangers.

3. Right after having made the donation, your mailbox is jammed with brochures from the very candidate you just contributed to. Having spent some time as a production manager for various book publishers and magazines, you have some idea how expensive these four-color, printed-on-glossy-paper mailers are.

4. Another day or two passes and you see on the internet or in a newspaper the very same politician vacationing in some surrounding you are currently longing to visit.

5. Another day or two and you discover that the particular legislative body of which "your" politician is a part has voted itself a salary raise. This comes on the day you discover the price of parking at your university has gone up and your HMO is increasing its monthly billing.

6. You have already felt singed--now you feel burned.

7. Someone from a worthwhile charitable venture calls to ask if they can send you the galleys of a new book about them which they hope to profit from and thus increase their charitable outreach. They are hopeful that you will think highly enough of the forthcoming book to provide a blurb. You say yes, of course. The package arrives and you fall to it, think it is rather nice, compose an appropriate blurb and fire it off.

8. The charity sends you a thank-you note that could have been written by Hallmark. Since you were not interested in being thanked, you shrug and figure what the hell.

9. A week later, you get a note from the Executive Committee of the charity, recognizing you as a busy and dedicated Civic Leader, therefore wondering if they could slightly edit your blurb to make it sound more enthusiastic.

10. Since you are not so much a busy person as one who procrastinates a good deal and who last-minutes a number of things, and since the least of what you are is a Civic Leader much less a dedicated Civic Leader, you send an innocently worded response as in, Depends on how your edits would read. Let's see.

11. Dear dedicated Civic Leader, they say, here it is. They show you the blurb which is unlike anything you have ever thought or written, along with the names of a few dedicated Civic Leaders on the national level whom you vastly admire, simultaneously wondering why, if the charity could have secured them, they would even want to mess with you.

12. Then you read the blurb and what was once a sense of nonchalant good will on your part renders you on the spot an Ahab in search of a whale. With the scent of singed flesh in the background, you respectfully withdraw the blurb and wish them well, pleased with yourself for not having--to continue the Ahab metaphor--associated your actions with a harpoon.

13. It is not over. You are brooding. It was, after all, a charity, one you highly approve of even though you are not a dedicated Civic Leader.

14. It is a matter of principal.

15. What moral property of yours has been trespassed?

16. Thus doth conscience make cowards of us all.

17. Besides, who's going to know?

18. That isn't the point.

19. Age may not wither nor custom stale Cleopatra, but it sure makes you cranky.

20. So you are on your way to meet a client and there is one of those interminable, cheery Santa Claus types with the goddamned bell and the pot outside the supermarket adjacent your meeting place, and someone has apparently dropped a crumpled bill from his pocket before entering the market. You pick it up and call after the dropper, who has disappeared into the vaults of organic food. The cheery Santa Claus type with the goddamned bell has witnessed this activity, and also sees you shrug, then opt to plop the wadded bill into his goddamned pot. Ah, Merry Christmas, sir, the bell ringer says. How about adding to that donation with some of your own funds.

21. It suddenly becomes clear to you in a flash.

22. You are indeed a cranky man.

23. You probably have always been cranky.

24. You have the solution to the blurb problem. Yes, if they'll remove the last sentence in the blurb.

25. You have the solution for the goddamned bell ringer. Happy Hanukkah, you intone on your way past him.

26. You have the look of a happy man, your client says.

27. Goddamned right, you asseverate.


R.L. Bourges said...

Ahhh: My name is Lee. And I am cranky. Took me YEARS to own up to it but, by crankie, I'm in great company now!

lowenkopf said...

LR/Z: Hi, I'm Shelly and I have no control over my life because of crankiness and writing.

Hello, Shelly.

The Halleluja Chorus.