There are only a few worse ways to start a job interview than that. Once I had a guy make me wait until he finished typing then, with a flourish, pushed away from the desk and said,
“I was a horrible writer then I dated a writer now I’m a great writer.”
Huh? I fucked a brain surgeon but I’m still a little uneasy opening up brain buckets.
What kind of sex life did they have? Fuck to the rhythm of the preposition song?
“About above across after against among around at before beside between by down during except for from in into near of off on over to toward under until you cum.”
Oh, I know there are more but who can remember all the lyrics to the Circle Jerks hit?
But the ‘you’re funny, but. . .’ is a classic. That usually follows with a litany of horrible things I am perceived to be. None of which is based on anything other than what I’ve written. There are very few people who know me who’ll say much truly bad about me mainly because, although they know I’m not all that good, I’m not averse to pulling out the old skull scalpel.
This woman said she was uneasy meeting me because of what she’s read. She had the impression I’d walk in chewing on a newborn while strangling kitties. Oh sure, you audition for the new Gong Show with your killer set and you’re marked for like.
I ask this woman, who is in the industry where she has to deal with writers, if she understands about a writers voice? She assures me she does but (she’s butting again) that I seem mean and prone to attack.
I ask her why we’re speaking? She obviously has issues with me, my craft, and baby eating kitty killers in general. She explains the producer is forcing her to speak with me before proceeding. Let me interject here that we’re not talking On Golden Pond. We’re not talking On Golden Blonde either but it is somewhere in the middle. The bottom line is he thinks I’d be good whereas she thinks I should be strapped to a table and heavily medicated (okay, so we can all agree with that assessment).
It’s usually at this moment when I say I’ll sign anything to prove we spoke. Shit, I’ll even say she made a heavy push to get me but I just can’t pull myself away from the project I’m working on, a traffic cop who does trepanation on people who text while driving.
But I need something. This may prove she’s right about me but, as always, I feel justified in fucking with her. Sure, I say terrible things but only to horrible people. I never pick on those who haven’t dosed me with a few hits of ‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’ I tell her she’s wrong about me. I’m actually very spiritual. Very much in touch with the vibes around me.
“I’m very into positive visualization. Every day I positively visualize the death of my wife.”
She starts to get that look. The one that says, ‘See? I knew he was an asshole.” They get so smug about it. I explain it was just a joke. I’m not into any visualization shit and I’m not even married.
“See? That’s called writing. Or making shit up. Or, more exactly, lying.”
I ask what she’s read that makes her think I’d show up wearing only a GI Joe with a kung fu grip? And, I will admit, I was impressed. She’d spent more than her time with my crap and, that alone, could turn one against me. She explains she likes my work (wait for it) but, I’m too aggressive and, she feels, volatile for her. When gently prodded she couldn’t come up with one exact bit or fragment. It was more a general asseyness.
I explain I was fortunate to find my writing voice early on. That I found a way around my lack of talent to fool people into thinking I’m doing more than typing. But, when it’s necessary to be a reporter, write in someone elses voice, do a general assignment I can. As a matter of fact, I said, I worked for a greeting card company and blew away my editor when I wrote a serious bit. It ended up being their top seller that holiday season.
“Do you see that, to paraphrase Louden Wainwright, the guy writing these stories ain’t me. So, no, I’m not a boy who’s also a bug. I’m not a thrill killer. I’ve never killed anyone on the internet. As a matter of fact, right now I’m working on a script about a bass player in a huge rock band who’s also a serial killer.”
She’s silent for a few seconds so I add,
“I mean, come on, I’m not a bass player!”
I love that heavy silence when I’ve put people into a netherland. Are they right about me? Am I fucking with them? Have they fallen into that crevasse where they will be my next fodder?