Here’s my new year’s wish: to climb at least one rung of the corporate ladder: to be promoted from junior assistant co-blogger of Throwing Up Words, Inc. Some people (viz. Carol Lunch Williams) would justify my lowly status by pointing out that it’s an honor to hold any kind of position in such a prominent [ http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/blogs] blog, so “Quit your whining!” Or if she were in a better mood, “You oughta be paying us!” Other people (viz. Andy Ellis) would point out that I had nothing to do with creating or promoting this blog, so “Quit your whining!!” Or if she were in a better mood, “You oughta be paying us!!” [Andy likes exclamation marks more than Carol does.]
The co-CEOs of Throwing Up Words, Inc. might also point out that since I joined the blog, the weekly readership has declined from 5 readers to 4. In my defense, I would argue that an even number is always better than a prime number, especially when it comes to blogs about writing, but the money-hungry Blog Bosses who run this blog like it’s their own private pirate ship would tell me “You don’t know nuthin’ about readership, blogs, or numbers, so just shut up, keep your nose clean, and post your weekly, mealy-mouthed blog, OK? OK?” Then the Blog Bosses would shake their finely-manicured fingers at me and beat me over the head with their same, worn-out threat. “Do you know who USED to occupy this position at Throwing Up Words, Inc.? Do you have any idea who you replaced?” And I would hang my head and mumble the name of the fabulously successful and wealthy authoress whose position I inherited, and the co-CEO Blog Bosses would narrow their fake-lashes eyes and say, “Darn right, that’s who. So don’t come crying to us about a promotion until you’ve done something worth promoting you for. And besides, you know the real reason we recurited you as her replacement, right?” And then I would nod, fighting back tears, and admit that, yes, I knew that I’m the token male in Throwing Up Words, Inc. That I’m a mere statistic. That I’m a gender balancer. And of course, seeing me in such a humiliated condition would send the Blog Bosses into fits of cackling because they knew that I knew that they knew it was totally true. “Quit your whining!!!” they both would shout. “And get back below-decks and man that bilge pump. We run a tight ship around here, Crowe!!!” And red-faced and trailing clouds of shame, I would slink down the ladder into the dank, dark, depressing pit of the good ship Throwing Up Words, Inc. and grab the sticky, grimy, brown handle of the bilge pump and start doing what the Blog Bosses ordered.
And somehow, it would all seem ironic. Painfully, terribly, honestly ironic.
And one of the Blog Bosses would screech, “Ironic? What do you know about irony?” And I would flinch at her screeching and cower in the darkness of the lower deck, my eyes watering out of fear—and the stench of the bilge—and I would say, “What do I know? What do I know about irony? It’s like rain on your wedding day, a free ride when you’ve already paid . . .” And the she-boss would throw back her head and cackle some more. Then she’d turn on her ruby-red stilletto heel and say, “I don’t have time for this, Crowe.” And with a toss of her well-coiffed head, she’d say, “And you got lots of bilge to get pumped out of here, so quit worrying about irony and get back to work.” And she’d strut away and back to the captain’s cabin, leaving me alone in the dank, dark, depressing pit of the pirate ship Throwing Up Words, Inc. to meditate on the true meaning of irony.
And here’s what I’d think:
I’d think it’s ironic, painfully, incredibly ironic to write a smashing bestseller and never know it. I’d think it’s ironic beyond belief to write three novels, hand all three manuscripts to my editor, in person, and go back to my apartment feeling an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and anticipation, punch apartment building elevator button for a ride up to my 7th-floor apartment only to find out that, dang, the elevator’s not working, and then, fueled by the high of having just turned in three promising novel manuscripts, decide to jog up the seven flights of stairs. And it would be ironic to swing open that apartment door, breathless and sweaty from running up those seven flights of stairs, and feel a burning clutch of pain in my chest, and to drop dead, right there on the floor of my own apartment. And then, a year or two later, it would be terribly, painfully, wonderfully ironic for those three books to sell more than 65 MILLION COPIES! Yep. That is one writer who would know the true meaning of irony.
Happy new year!