Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wm. Floggin' Buckley - Part 1

[The script of the one-man show, which I have performed in San Francisco, London, and Madison, Wisconsin, about my brief, very unpleasant tenure at Larry Flynt Publications.]

Do I work well with others? You bet I do! My favorite thing is to be part of a team working toward a common goal. Well, no. To be honest, that's actually my second favorite thing, the first being multitasking. I adore multitasking! And to prioritize! I mean, cooking, bicycling, listening to music, and downloading images of cruel-looking Nordic beauties in latex from the Internet are all fun, but give me a pile of priorities and a bunch of teammates to prioritize them with and I am in Heaven.

Where do I see myself in five years? Gosh, what a thought-provoking question! Well, I like to imagine that I'll have made a sufficient contribution to be promoted to a position in which I can utilize – not just use: utilize – my Full Skill Set for the company's betterment.

They always ask you those questions, the women in the blouses with the big bows and the coffee mugs that say World's Greatest Mom. And as they jot down your answers, they don't simply dot their i's, but draw little circles above them. Sometimes, if you don't say anything noteworthy for awhile, they start going through and making all the little circles into happy faces. And such persons determine the destinies of real working Americans. Really, what do they imagine you're going to say about being a team player? You keep everybody the hell away from me, lady, or I can't guarantee there won't be bloodshed.

And of course you can't let on that you think anyone who uses words like prioritize ought to be flogged with the tassels of her own loafers, or that where you really see yourself in five years is either very far away from anywhere with a human resources department, or down in the parking structure with the engine running and the windows rolled up and a hose from the exhaust into the interior.

They always do ask those questions, though, and seem to want so fervently to believe the transparent lies you make up in response. In so doing, they invariably fail to appreciate your real accomplishments, which in my case include three months as a senior editor at Hammond Palmer Publications. They either pretend not to see that line on my CV, or smooth their skirts and clear their throats and say…"I'll bet that was…interesting." What they ought to be doing is marveling at my fortitude, reveling in my proven grit. "You worked at Hammond Palmer Publications in the mid-80s…and lived?"

Right out of the University of California, where I'd spent four years avoiding going to Viet Nam instead and learning to march around bellowing, "On strike! Shut it down!" behind a mob of long-haired young fascists who disdained middle-aged fascists with short hair, I was the music critic America most loved to loathe. I made so much money writing cruelly snide things about Led Zeppelin and other of your favorites that I drove a Porsche and got my hair not just cut, but styled.

But then I got it into my head that the karmic tables had turned since my mostly miserable childhood, and that I could be anything I wanted. I decided, of course, to become a rock star in my own right…and by the summer of 1985 had lost everything except my unflagging sense of entitlement and my sexual charisma, which, combined with 35 cents, got me rides on slow, crowded Rapid Transit District offering transit that was anything but rapid, and on which psychotic-looking teenagers of and not of color played the world's most annoying music at a volume that made the windows rattle. Fistfights invariably broke out within three blocks of my every boarding.

Consumed by self-loathing, I left my girlfriend of four years and moved into an art hovel on the western edge of LA's Koreatown.

[Continues tomorrow! Don't miss a single installment!]

No comments:

Post a Comment