Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rules Nobody Can Live By #3

Rule: Don’t be a Kissass.

Used to be if you were cool, if you maintained the appropriate level of dignity, you would never, under any circumstances, brown-nose or ass-kiss or bend over backwards to light the boss’s cigarette or send flowers to anyone for any purposes other than acknowledging a death in the family or establishing the proper preconditions for a weekend of wild, semi-committal sex in, say, Wisconsin Dells, because is there a better place in the world for semi-committal sex than Wisconsin Dells? I think not. Asskissing, in any case, simply was not done. Ever. If it were done, if one of your coworkers were to be seen near the tool crib, with the foreman, cutting up and laughing at shit that clearly had no possibility of being funny, people would say, “Look at Kissass over there. Another minute and he’ll be unzipping the foreman’s pants.” Minutes later, when this coworker had reassumed the position at his machine, everybody would make simulated-oral-sex gestures at this person, and after work, this person would have to buy beers for everybody and promise never to brown-nose the foreman again or else face the very real possibility of death by muck-muck in the tavern’s parking lot.

Of course, we were factory workers in Wisconsin, functioning in a professional environment where advancement up the ladder, at best, meant you could move from second shift to first shift or maybe you could finally take your one-week vacation on the dates you requested. Still, the standard was solid: If you wanted something from somebody, you asked for it. If they said no, they said no and that was that.

I’m trying very hard to avoid picking on university English professors again here, as you might guess, and dammit, I’m going to fail to avoid it.

You should see these motherfuckers on Facebook!

Whew, that felt good to write. If I still were a smoker, I would definitely torch up a ciggie butt right now.

So we already know about the writer/professor game. You’re a minor writer at a minor university (or even a major university: why not?), and you have 2000+ Facebook friends, and you say nice things to everybody, even to the people you hate, and it’s possible, after years of saying so many nice things to so many people, you may have completely lost the capacity to hate, which means, not surprisingly, that when people in a room shout out “Jesus fucking Christ!” you turn your head to see what they want from you. It goes without saying, if you have networked to this extent and have become this endlessly friendly, that you have absolutely no edge to a word you write, because I’m sorry, friends and brethren, significant art cannot be generated from the moral equivalent of a bowl of cream of wheat! Yet this guy, because he’s nice to everybody, because he sends people little thank you cards and writes on their Facebook walls shit like “I really appreciate you and everything you do,” ends up publishing his benign material in every wonderful little low-paying venue available.

I hereby, and for all time, make simulated-oral-sex gestures at this person and at the system of literature he represents.

I guess I’m not gonna publish my angry tripe anytime soon.

I’m happy, though.

Say, can I get you anything? I really enjoyed that essay on Artistic Satisfaction you wrote in the latest Shriveled Nut Review.

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