Archive | August, 2013

Reading the News is Depressing & Maddening

23 Aug

World Affairs: Those poor, poor people. I hope they’re able to salvage what peace they can from the shattered shards of their broken lives.

Municipal Politics: Those idiots! Yahoos! Mouth-breathing, drooling baboons! I should be in charge of that, whatever it is.

Money and Business: Those earning projections don’t look too hot. Bah…maybe I should have taken STEM courses in school. I’m an idiot.

Life: Oh, new recipes for Glutten-free veggie wraps? File that under who gives a shit. Ha. Now I should be an editor–could walk around with suspenders looking literary-like. Why, I could scowl at people disapprovingly from behind my thick-rimmed glasses perched a quarter of the way down my nose whilst saying things like, “I understand Richard, but I feel that the prose is constraining the subject.” Suit me just fine, that would.

Science and Technology: I do feel more sympathy for dogs than people! Interesting! I mean I see plenty of bald dudes walking around, and I don’t feel a thing. But whenever I shave my dog, I can’t help but feel a little guilty afterwards.

*Then after saying all of this out loud, I am kicked out of the coffee shop.*

Maddening.

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And So On and So Forth…

17 Aug

“Martha, the service was terrible. I refuse to tip the customary 15%. ”
“But, it’s customary.”
“No, Martha. I’m putting my foot down on this.”
“Gregory, don’t be so cheap. We did not tip last time and perhaps that is why the service has been so underwhelming tonight.”
“It’s not about being cheap Martha; it’s about the principle. And furthermore we did not tip last time because the service was bad last time as well.”
“Gregory, I do not want to earn a reputation as “that couple.” I just do not, Gregory. I do not.”

– Conversations from Hell.

Travelling Man

13 Aug
Paul Strand Wall Street (1915)

Wall Street (1915) – Paul Strand

A city buzzing with quiet desperation, creaking under the weight of its hopes and desires, regrets and complaints…

That old man barking at the young barista fumbling his order was once that young man walking briskly down the street to an interview for a job that he will grow to hate and grow old in and grow to look forward to small reprieves like coffee in the morning.

That young lady serving coffee to a barking old man while an old lady crosses the street, struggling with her groceries, which smash to the ground as a young man bumps into her, and moves on without noticing–he is already running late and can spare no more time.

That old lady returning to her apartment, fed up with the cold shoulders she has known all her life, from her days serving growling old men their coffee to her twilight years accosted by self-centered upstarts with no time for anyone but themselves.

A thousand threads weave together in the same frail cloth, here gently rolling in August’s whispering breeze, there fraying against November’s serrated winds.

“Sir? Excuse me? Sir! Hello! Watch out! Pay attention to the road! You’re supposed to be driving this bus! Goddammit! Watch out!”
“What? Oh yes! Shit. Okay. Okay. It’s alright. Just take a seat.”
“Take a seat?! You pay attention!”
“Okay, just take a seat. I got this.”

[The bus driver narrowly misses driving onto the sidewalk and into a building. The passenger sits down rigidly, still anxious. The bus continues down its route. It begins to rain.]

But sometimes raindrops do not fall into puddles,

ripples in ripples,

spreading out

fading into

streetlit reflections

broken by the footsteps of people

going,

making plans to go,

never going

where rain drops never fell.

[Two young women sit next to each other near the front of the bus.]

“First he nearly drives full speed into a wall and now he’s driving like a turtle on Vicodin!”
“I know. This is ridiculous. We’re going to be late for the party. I hate being late.”

[The bus driver overhears this, takes heed and speeds up–now driving faster and faster…]

When wind scrapes clouds into white smearing blue skies
I hear summer behind horizons marred by buildings
smoking in cold air as though people huddled around a fire
searching for reprieve in flames dancing burlesque
at some great party where guests drink warmth
as a soft breeze skates a marble ocean massaged
by moonlight whispering reflections into wandering eyes.

“Hey pal! You need to slow down–you just missed a stop with a guy waiting at it!”
“What? Oh. Crap. Alright. Hold on, I’m going to reverse a little bit and stop to let him on.”

[The man at the bus stop doesn’t notice the bus. He is looking in the opposite direction at oncoming traffic and the sky.]

Small gusts sweep velvet grey
into cotton wisps

sailing away from themselves

up to the sun
that they hide from

cars swooshing down four lanes

ugly and stupid like salmon
rushing upstream,

says the guy at a bus stop.

[The bus driver honks. The man snaps from his musings, walks up to the bus and steps on. He and the bus driver nod at each other. The bus drives off…into a median and explodes.]

Cancelled Infomercial Script

9 Aug

Can’t concentrate?

Feeling tired and worn out at work?

Is your boss giving you grief? Are your co-workers frustrating you?

Don’t you just HATE your job?

Then…

How do you think I feel? I’m an infomercial narrator! Christ!

*sigh* *chortled crying*

I was going to be an actor once.

But they said my voice was just too damn persuasive…

*Full on crying*

Corporate Jargon and the Mob

5 Aug

bullshit

To make my daily bread I work as a B2B copywriter, which means that almost every time I open up LinkedIn or read an industry publication, I’m flooded with the fluffed-up eflum that is corporate jargon–the peculiar and stilted form of English spoken by so many hard working yet utterly clueless suit-and-tie types.

In the gray, lumpy mush that is corporatese ‘use’ becomes ‘leverage.’ ‘Backtrack’ becomes ‘pivot.’ More than two people working together somehow transforms into ‘synergy.’ Having an idea here or there is ‘innovation.’

“We leveraged our synergy in order to pivot our acquisition strategy to better promote innovation.”

You don’t hear plumbers or playwrights speak like this. No, this is the sort of language you internalize when you’ve read enough professional advice books to fill the syllabus of a thousand MBA courses, but have never heard of Melville or Mencken. This is the sort of speech you adopt when you need to mystify the mundane and aggrandize the mediocre–rather than, say, instruct someone in toilet-repair using plain terms.

But this clunky, murky language isn’t limited to only the legal business world. For instance:

“So, what do you do?”
“I’m in goon-marketing.”
“What’s that?”
“I threaten people with physical violence, vandalism or blackmail into buying my products.”
“Oh. Ah. I see. Um…so what, what do you sell?”
“Justin Beiber vinyls. $40 a pop. Good price. Fell off the back of a truck–if ya know what I mean. You want some? Sure you do.”
“…”

“Cash or card?”
“Card.”

Luckily, corporations can’t coerce you into buying their products under threat of violence. Or can they?

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