Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sex, rejection, a glam exec and a pitiful poet.


When I was a child slogging through the slush pile at Bantam, one of the editors was having an affair with a hotshot publishing executive, older guy, quite glam. He was married, natch, but that didn't stop him from being possessive and very jealous.

She lived in the Village. On West Fourth Street near a neighborhood bar that served really good hamburgers. There was also a local poet, a fixture in the nabe.  The reigning Crown Prince of Rejection, he couldn't get his poetry published no matter how hard he tried. He was a real sad sack, but a nice guy who became a community project: people gave him money, brought him food, listened to his tales of woe at the hands of clueless publishers, etc.

Anyway, my friend is walking home from work one evening, runs into the poet and invites him for a hamburger. They're sitting in a booth along a wall of windows having their burgers when along comes the hotshot exec. Exec takes one look, gets the (erroneous) picture. He waits until they leave the bar, goes up to the poet and, without a word, takes a swing at him, sending him sprawling to the sidewalk. Exec, crazed with jealousy, hurls a curse and barrels off.

My friend helps the poet get up. He (the poet) brushes himself off, looks at her and shakes his head. "I don't know why people don't like me," he says.

Yet another rejection story. As I said in an earlier post, most of the time it's nothing personal.

6 comments:

  1. This story is hilarious and tragic at the same time. I've known people like that poet who seem to attract bad luck. They usually tend to be 1) unrealistic and 2) negative.

    I'm not saying this poor guy was one of them, but the ones I've known prove the power of negative thinking. You may not be able to bring success and power by constantly thinking positive the way people who are into "the Secret" and the Law of Attraction say, but you sure can bring bad times by looking at the dark side of things all the time. (And not accepting that no poet since Byron has actually been able to earn a living at it.)

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    1. Anne—"hilarious and tragic" are exactly my thoughts! For such a short story, this says so much—not just about the poor poet but also about the glam exec who thinks the world & everyone in it revolves around him.

      There's a collision of world views here and let's not forget the woman in the middle. She does something nice for the poet but risks losing her lover who not be worth very much in the first place.

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    2. The woman was dating a jerk. She didn't lose anything. She gained some understanding. It's a fabulous story--a parable really--because everybody had their neuroses shown to them. They might not have got what they wanted, but they got what they needed, as the Rolling Stones would say.

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    3. Anne—You're so right! I never thought of it this way so thanks. RS quote is à propos. I put it another way: What if the happy ending you get isn't the happy ending you dreamed of? Happy endings come in many disguises.

      The exec *was* a jerk. I didn't know him well, just enough to think she deserved a lot better.

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  2. Great story! It's funny yet sad how some people just always think the black cloud overhead is only and always intended for them. Then of course there are those who just assume the world revolves around them in good and bad times. As I was reading all I could hear in the background was "Eeyore..." LoL :-)

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    1. Wendy—Thanks for the perfect comment! lol Eyeore...

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