phynedyning

Phyne Dyning learns…dissing Iowa was not Bloom’s real crime.

In General Information on December 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

This morning’s email inbox contained something special. After sorting through its usual offerings for cheap Viagra and Nigerian lottery winnings, my eyes fell on a familiar name. I only hear from him infrequently and, when I do, I always hope for his message to contain three magic words.

 

“Happy Hanukkah, you old bast—d!”

 No, that’s five. And I’m only four or five years older than him.

 “Him” is a much-loved friend. I met him when we were both undergrads and well before he began making a fair amount of money by stringing words together and selling them. For a peculiar reason known only to him, he took me under his ink-stained wing and I became his very first fledgling writer charity case.

 He subsequently used me as an example in a job interview, years ago, when he was asked, “Can you give us an example where you used bad judgment?”

 Oh yes, his three words I covet?

 “Send me something”.

 One of his conditions of friendship has always been that I never send him unsolicited anything.

 I sent him him the ‘.doc’ file for “Oh Baby, It’s SO big!” It was timely and I knew it would cover a subject with which he was familiar.

 The phone rang. I recognized the voice.

“You’ve come a long way.”

 “Thanks, I…”

“That wasn’t a compliment. That was some real crap.”

 The smile slid off of my face and the room began to fade. The voice on the phone was sincere. This was not going to be a lecture on my shoddy writing mechanics. Those issues were addressed in full when he sent me a (signed by him) copy of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style”. Under his chop on the inside cover he wrote, “Everybody stinks when it comes to mechanics. That’s what editors are for.”

You called politicians whores. That’s as shattering as an announcement that the sky is blue. Everyone knows they’re whores, even them. You missed by a mile.”

Conversations with my friend are typically one-sided, coach-to-player affairs.

“What’s the first question a candidate asks of his lawyer after he’s been caught in bed with a naked fourteen year-old boy? ‘Did the newspaper spell my name right?’ Calling ‘em whores is nothing.”

 My palm hit the center of my forehead with a smack.

“Look, Bloom pretty much called Iowans out for being provincial. Are they provincial? And, can you name a place where the locals aren’t provincial? This whole non-story has nothing to do with the honor of Iowans and everything to do with money. I’m really disappointed that you missed it.”

 That hurt!

“What’s Iowa’s main industry when it comes to peddling newspapers and putting stuff on the tee-vee?”

I started to form a word, but thought better of it.

“Without the election cycle, what would your Des Moines Register write about? High school football? More snow? Corn is two inches taller this year? Would people buy advertising? Do farmers buy a lot of advertising? Do you think Diane Freakin’-Sawyer would otherwise set foot in Des Moines unless her plane was shot down over it?”

Listen and learn…

“Newspapers do not entertain and inform and have not done so since Guttenberg. Newspapers exist for one purpose only…to sell advertising and to get the sold advertising seen. Your little whore analogy was, at best, cute. But you left out the real player. Who beats the s—t out of you if you don’t pay the whore? That’s right, the pimp.”

Another whack to the forehead.

“Who the hell do you think is out for this Bloom-guy’s butt? His fellow tradesmen. Who’s throwing kerosene on the flames? Iowa newspapers! There’s already a rumble to replace Iowa as one of the firsts in national elections. This guy, a fellow Iowa journalist, goes to the coast and starts making an argument for just that. This is not about Iowa’s honor, Iowa’s pride, or any other such horses—t. It’s about money and it’s always about money. Jeez, he doesn’t have to worry about skinheads burning him out, he needs to worry about his fellow journalists. They’re the pimps. Elections are their gravy and Bloom took a mule-sized dump in their gravy boat. They’ll not just want him fired if the advertising dollars go down the road. They’ll have his head on a pole and his dog sodomized. Pimps have no sense of humor when it comes to their money.”

Silence.

“Look, you missed it by a mile. But if this s—t was easy, everybody would get paid for writing.”

There were a few more exchanged pleasantries and my friend announced that he had finished his “sammich” and it was time to get back to work.

I sat, staring at the monitor and my email inbox. Nothing. Those three magic words would not come anytime soon.

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