Friday, November 21, 2008

Blowing Smoke

Here's one more reason I can't stand most writers:

A few years back...well, hell...more than a few. Maybe twenty years ago (you have to cut me some slack now that I'm over 50), I knew this guy who was a wannabe writer. Just like me. We'll call him Wannabe W.

Anyway, this guy was really gung-ho. He had him a system down, a plan of action, and he figured that if he followed this plan and stuck to it, then there was no way he was gonna lose! I mean, he was countin' his millions and wondering what it was gonna be like to pal around with Stephen King and Tom Clancy and see who was gonna be a billionaire first--him or Clancy. Yeah. He was an insufferable prick.

One thing that this guy was big into was sucking up to whomever, for any outside chance that it would get his foot in the door at any publishing house you could name. If some editor was Jewish, he'd crow about how great Israel was. If some editor was black, he would act like he'd walked side by fucking side with Dr. King. If an editor was Italian, he'd talk about "the neighborhood"! Nobody sucked anal
sphincter like this guy.

Around this time there was this moderately famous writer who had hit it big with the shtick of protecting abused children. Or, rather, making a lot of money claiming that he was writing these books that were selling well for purely the sunniest of motives. So I read a few of this guy's books. They were okay. Not great, but good, old-fashioned pulp. Then, after having read a number of these, they began to strike me as really creepy. As if he was actually getting a kick out of describing the monstrosities committed against helpless children. It hit me in the middle of a particularly nasty short story by this guy that he was just one more level of exploitation. He was making his bundle off of the abuse of children, despite what he claimed to intend.

So, I told this Wannabe W what I thought of that guy.

Now, then. I certainly wasn't going to be able to help W's career. Not no way, no how. And he knew this. However, what I didn't know was that he'd been sucking up to the self-proclaimed child's rights crusader. So Wannabe W lit into me about how the crusader I was crackin' on was a saint--the truest of the true. And how dare I say such things about him? How dare I?

A few weeks later I'm at a writer's convention with another writer pal. (We'll call him Wannabe R.) Genre conventions do have one thing going for them. Hotel parties and open bars. You might think that fantasy, horror, and science-fiction fans are geeky (and you'd be right), but man do those bastards know how to party. Thinking of a few cold beers (I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to alcohol), I agree. "What's the party? Who's givin' it?" I ask him.

"It's Wannabe W's party."

Oh, joy, I think. But it's probably free beer and maybe some decent conversation if I can find the right person to talk to. "Okay," I say. "Let's go."

We head down the way and walk a hall to Wannabe W's room. R knocks on the door lightly and it opens as someone admits us. As the door swings wide a massive load of pure cigarette smoke oozes out, all white, stinking like the depths of Satan's lungs. I just stand there for a second in disbelief. I'm a non-smoker. Not only that, but I quite literally cannot stand the stench of cigarette smoke. It makes me want to puke, to put it mildly. In addition, I have about the same
intellectual respect for a cigarette smoker as I do for religionists: zero.

Well, it's a party and I think there's an outside chance I can tolerate the smoke. At least long enough to drink a few beers and have a conversation or two. So I step inside. As the door begins to shut behind me, I realize that I've made a mistake. I can't breathe! The smoke is so thick that I'm having a hard time drawing a breath! There's no way I'm going to be able to tolerate this shit, and I'm just about to turn tail when my eyes are drawn to the far end of the room:

On that side of the room are Wannabe W and his wife. They're talking to another writer. But on the bed at their knees is their infant son. He's lying there, gasping for air. His mouth is wide open and his eyes are bugging out and his arms are waving in the air.

This defender of children's rights. What a fucking load!

Yeah, I could have said something. I could maybe have even called the cops. I don't fucking know. What I did end up doing was turning my back and walking the fuck out of that room. "I'm outta here, R," I told the other wannabe. "I can't take this smoke!"
(Nor the stench of selfishness.)

I glanced back just as the door was closing. Through the pale tendrils of poison and carcinogens I could see that baby lying there, his mouth wide, his eyes bugged out, his arms waving in the air.


Sometimes I fucking hate writers.

Man, did I ever get a kick out of this video!! I mean, think about it: Who wants their photo taken as they shake hands with a mass murderer?

No comments: