Today's Non Sequitur reminds me of a time I was asked to do a presentation on freelance writing to a college journalism class.
I prepared the presentation right enough, but added this: I brought along a file of rejection letters I'd collected over the years.
"I'm going to punctuate my lecture the way your life will be punctuated if you take on freelancing," I announced, and then by-gawd did it.
Every few minutes, I'd stop what I was saying and read them another letter.
I could see them sinking further and further down in their seats and I suppose it wasn't very nice, but we must be cruel only to be kind, and if a few of them went off and became accountants instead, well, there's a few years of their lives not wasted.
Looking back, I'm not sure why I had that file in the first place. Only a few of those letters had included the sorts of personal notes that are supposed to keep you going.
Bill Walton has said, "If you don't believe your dreams will come true, it's time to get some new dreams," but, as noted here before, I didn't have a particular moment where I shifted my dream from being a novelist to being a journalist.
It was more a process of going from where my work wasn't wanted to where it was, and from trying to do something I wasn't very good at to doing things that I was.
Hardly a tough transition, unless you've really based your identity on stubborn self-deception.
Which is why I never enjoyed those first segments of "American Idol" that other people find so hilarious. That's not being cruel to be kind. It's just being cruel to get ratings.
Fortunately for my ego, my rejection letters weren't in fact, all that toxic, and enough of them included "while it's clear that you can write" sorts of statements that I can look back at them today and shrug and be glad I eventually found the right venue.
Or, I could look back at them if I hadn't thrown them all out.
And, while we're on the topic of good stuff by people I won't be spending the weekend with but with whom you should, Jen Sorensen scores with a funny takedown of the way Hillary Clinton is being treated.
As said here before, once the zeitgeist has declared who you are, it's hard to undeclare it, as both John Kerry and Al Gore and, for that matter, Dan Quayle discovered.
Sorensen is right that, if Clinton were to pull some heretofore-unsuspected talent from her quiver, it would quickly be discounted by the people who have already placed her in a pigeonhole.
I don't know if Sorensen put this together after Clinton went down with pneumonia, but it fits the storyline in any case: We've declared her unfit, so the fact that pneumonia is not that serious or uncommon isn't important.
OTOH, there is sometimes a disconnect between the public zeitgeist and individual response, as evidenced in the fact that, for all that the chattering classes go on about Colin Kaepernick and how disgraceful his protest is, the guy's jersey sales are going through the roof.
It will be interesting -- and, y'know, critical to the survival of the nation -- to see to what extent the public is swallowing the ongoing insistence that "they're both the same" and, specifically, that nobody trusts Hillary.
We'll see how her jersey sales look come November 8.
(Mostly irrelevant sidenote: Eddie Van Halen's still-friendly ex, Valerie Bertinelli, reported in an interview a few years ago that the whole family kicks his ass in Guitar Hero. Which I laugh over mostly because I'm sure there are people who think being able to play Guitar Hero is somehow related to being able to play the guitar. Apply metaphorically as needed.)
For medicinal purposes only
Dave Blazek, I suspect inadvertently, pings the history-of-alcoholic-beverages receptors in readers with today's Loose Parts.
It's well-known, of course, that limes were stocked aboard British ships as soon as the connection between Vitamin C and scurvy became known, hence the nickname "Limeys."
But had there been no tonic in this poor fellow's gin-and-tonic, they might have also suspected malaria, since the drink was invented as a way to disguise or at least ameliorate the taste of quinine.
Got to admit, the Brits came up with a pretty good solution to the malaria problem, gin being the solvent.
There are, of course, people who prefer vodka and tonic, but let's just deal with that foolish sort of thing right now, with our
Juxtaposition of the Day
A pair of deal-breakers from Joe Martin and Keith Knight.
You can always hope that the kids will outgrow such barbarity, but, well, this is why we live together before we make those ties legally binding.
It's not the sex, dammit. Anybody can adjust to that.
You can fake all the orgasms you want, but there's only so much flavored instant oatmeal you can choke down, no matter how good the sex was.
Of course it's Ernest Shepard's illustration. Good lord, we
wouldn't get past a first date if THAT were an issue.