I wrote a piece for McSweeny’s. It was about an argument I had about this guy’s laptop bag.
Or according to him it was an “Attache”.
Not a laptop bag, even though the leather bound container was only stuffed with one electronic item.
I guess when you pay over $150.00 dollars for a bag, you need to call it something else to remind yourself you didn’t just do that. As a guy who once made a $400.00 drunken ray-light eye protection purchase, I can respect that.
But at the same time, I don’t have the fucking urge to correct someone when they give me a complement. I can’t choose that someone digs my scuffed up Aldo boots I bought at Ross’s but not my new shirt that totally acknowledges the fact I step foot in the gym.
You don’t hear me stop someone mid-sentence:
“Wow, I really like your–”
“Astute observational humor. I know me too!”
I don’t do that.
Anyways, I was in the middle of typing this monster out on wps–the poor man’s Word Processor– when I read a section of the requirements of submission. Embedded is a hyperlink titled “It wouldn’t hurt to read this” explaining how to write a humorous piece.
Something about this bothered me.
It was like Lean Manufacturing meets Creative writing. It was literally bottling up the formula for humor. I’m surprised no one tried to sell it for ten easy payments of $19.99.
I expect this from someone teaching an 18 year old how to get laid, but not McSweeny’s. I understand upping the bar of your submissions, sure. Editors get a lot of shit. I know this, because I send out a lot of it myself. But you’ll never get any feeling out of a process. Worst of all, a reader knows when a writer is going through the motions.
I feel like to get published by McSweeny’s, I would bitch about Trump like everyone else. It would follow the exact formula outlined about how humor pieces should be written. Some fat dude on would tweet that “I won the internet”, like that is a measurable merit badge I can impress some rando girl four Vodka Sprites deep about, yet somehow I pull it off.
The next day, I would wake up in a strange bed, hangover, and a pounding sense of shame. I’d try to get a pick me up by staring at my published article, only to find it lower on the main page. Above my words of glory, someone would post a different piece, yet the same outcome.
The world keeps spinning.
McSweeny’s keeps publishing.
And I wasted one of my precious 10 minutes of fame, on a girl who thought if she joined the cross country team at DePaul, she would “so be skiing all day”. Sounds like we’re both in for a rude awaking.
…So long story short, I submitted, fingers crossed.