Why you should never trust words or the people who write them.
November 28, 2001
Every week, I receive numerous missives from my legion of fans asking me why I don’t write “Rigamarole” every week, as opposed to my regular monthly installment. They plead with me to publish a weekly installment. They argue that my observations are so simple that they’re insightful. Don’t sweat it, I tell them. There’s enough of me and my eloquent observations to go around.
Actually this never happens. I spend large portions of my workday staring out the window, counting the number of people going in and out of the post office on the corner of Jefferson and Cypress streets. The only person that ever calls me is my wife, just to make sure that I still have a job.
I’m not bright enough to write a column every week. I’m a dim bulb in a world of halogen lamps. It takes me an entire month to come up with 750 words, throw them together and make them look like they might actually belong together.
Some people can do that every week, like Andy Rooney. He used to really bug me. I couldn’t ever put my finger on exactly what it was – maybe the nasal voice or the crazy eyebrows – but now I’m beginning to like him. I’m beginning to understand his wisdom. He begins his little rants with a question that no one really cares about or a simple observation that we’ve all made at one time. For instance, “Have you ever noticed how your toenails keep on growing?” or “There’s a lot of talk today about people being born and dying.” The man isn’t a showman. He’s a shaman.
But it makes you wonder how much longer he can keep it up. Is he endowed with an endless supply of pap? What about the writers that go beyond the common observations and paint detailed portraits with their words?
Joseph Mitchell was that kind of writer. He wrote for The New Yorker magazine. He went out into the streets of New York City and interviewed street hustlers, fishmongers, lunatics, prostitutes and saloon owners and then wrote their stories. One day he went into work with a case of writer’s block. It lasted for 20 years. He showed up for work every day and didn’t write a word – for two decades. It might sound like a sweet gig, but it must have been torture.
That will never happen to me. For the last 28 years I have been steadily compiling volumes of useless information that will help me win big time on a game show one day. My knowledge isn’t deep, but it’s wide. I know just enough about everything to give the impression that I’m semi-intelligent. I’m a charlatan parading as an Ivy League yahoo from Pineville.
Let’s face it, writing isn’t a difficult task. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It shouldn’t even be considered work. I’ve witnessed a chimpanzee in a maroon silk smoking jacket and a fez, chewing on a King Edward cigar, crank out a 700-page novel on an old Underwood typewriter. It made me cry. Then it made me think. If that monkey could do it, I just might be able to pull it off.
If you learn nothing else from these words, remember this: writers are generally idiots. Word nerds. Every tax-paying American knows that real work involves doing and blisters, not thinking. If thinking was real work, one would be paid handsomely for it. Look at Aristotle, Albert Einstein or Mark Twain. What did those morons ever do for us? People like Richard Simmons and Colonel Sanders (who really wasn’t a colonel) are the ones who grease the wheels of civilization. Ask yourself this question: Where would you be without the Deal-A-Meal or The Original Recipe, that secret blend of 11 herbs and spices?
It’s also common knowledge that anyone who ekes out a living playing with words is a liberal, probably even a communist, just another cog in the liberal media machine. There are a few writers that are conservatives, the salt of the earth, but they’re rare.
Most writers, deep down in their bleeding hearts, want to stay at home, live on welfare and have babies. They love the government and hate guns. They believe that all people really are created equal and that they should be treated that way. They also believe that people are capable of being more than they already are.
When you’re looking for someone to blame about the sorry state of the world and you’re tired of blaming the politicians, look to the writers. Since the beginning of time, the messengers have been what’s wrong with this world.
Communication isn’t a necessity. It’s a luxury.