You have heard until it’s coming out of your ears how, in 1980, I worked as a senior editor at Larry Flynt Publications, and how the guy in charge was The Worst Boss ever, living proof of how monstrous cocaine could make someone. I felt pretty much from the moment I arrived in the morning until I scurried to my car at day’s end as though my intestines had been tied in knots. I wasn’t much of a drinker in those days, but spent pretty much every lunch hour guzzling enough Bass ale in a nearby sports bar to get through the afternoon, during which I would try, usually in vain, to improve some of the worst prose that had ever been written in English.
I wasn’t very good at the job, and in only three months was urged to explore alternative employment options. Solely on the basis of its being the only job anyone was offering, I accepted a copy-editing position at Playgirl, where the prose was, if anything, even more horrid than at Chic, the rather demure offshoot of Hustler at which I’d worked. Rather than on the 38th floor of one of glamorous Century City’s Twin Towers, I worked on the second floor of a soulless, glamour-less office building in the most desolate corner of Santa Monica. At Larry Flynt Publications, I’d had all the pens and paper for which a boy could yearn, but now I had to fill out a form if I needed a pen, and was making $10,000 per year less. I gnashed my teeth a lot.
|A few months later.|
The magazine got a new editor, a woman. One by one, she invited the sad-eyed souls whose boss she now was to drop by her office, with its lovely view of the parking lot, and say howdy. She had one of the sub editors (and by this I don’t intend to suggest that she was erotically submissive) in with her when I swung by. As I entered the office, they exchanged glances of the sort the gals in the elevators of Century City had commonly exchanged when I joined them. I sat down. She posed some bullshit question about how I, if I were in her position, would improve the magazine. I kept from laughing and tendered some bullshit answer. The two women exchanged glances. The editor asked if I’d mind standing up. I stood up. She asked if I’d mind turning around. She seemed to want to see what I looked like from behind.
I thought she might invite me to a Dreamboat of the Month, or whatever they were called, but I had no mustache, and my upper body wasn't the marvel it would later become. I had to be content with remaining the magazine's copy editor, which I was for around 72 more hours, before they fired me for dropping out of men's room window empty soft drink bottles in which I'd enclosed my rèsumè and a note reading, "Please help me!"