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.