Those prone to a sadistic streak in story telling might urge me to talk about what it is like to apply for unemployment compensation, to discover that one part of the agency (whatever that is) says you get it and to start filing claims, while another part of the agency says they are still deciding whether you deserve it after misbehaving enough not to get tenure (which they’ve sort of heard of ).
Do you, though, truly need an example of how inscrutably screwed up the government can be? I’m mean I’m mostly a Democrat, but Jesus Christ. However, I assume you must know this well from your own interactions with your parole officer. Who I hear has been disappointed with you lately, though I still believe in you.
Rather than dwell on Leviathan’s ponderous musings, let us consider how an inclination to tinker with words might be aimed at the acquisition of cash, or at least those slips of paper that allow you to buy second-grade flour and slightly rancid pork at the company store. What actual skills does a writer have?
Well we…think about stuff, if we’re not drunk or asleep or looking at the kind of pictures on the internet that don’t seem intended to provoke intellectual activity. So that’s a job skill. And we know exactly the right way to use a semicolon, and God knows society cries out for someone willing to bear the burden of this arcane knowledge. We also know how to use apostrophes, but apparently that just pisses people off, so that doesn’t go on the resume.
As personal additions to the usual scribal tool chest, I have a good command of margins. And I don’t mind saying, though I know it’s bragging and that’s a sin, that I can fold a piece a paper twice to form three perfect equal sections.
If you have not at this point pushed back momentarily from the computer to catch your breath, to make room in your mental world for the idea that such highly skilled people as I’m describing really do exist, I will continue. How can I apply my delicately refined masterhood in writing to earning a living? In particular, I am fond of medical writing. Perhaps this interest began at the age of seven, when I played doctor with the other kids in the trailer park. [First major medical discovery: there are two genders—and they’re really different.]
I’ve done some medical writing, but in spite of seeing evidence that it can be very lucrative, I’m like the poor street people in some Dickensian story with their faces pressed up against the glass of a nice restaurant, watching other people eat. I’ve written articles for the local hospital, but they seem very content with having concluded our relationship. Another thing I’ve done in the last year was write a health column, for free, for a local monthly newspaper. I thought “free” meant I could write whatever I wanted. Turns out I didn’t get paid. Now I’m going to go see if the daily newspaper wants to pick up the column instead. I don’t know whether they’ll pay, but I will get more of the kind of teeny tiny local glory that most of us fish swim in. The point, however, is to say to people locally, “Look at this! I wrote about ringworm! Hire me!”
Actually, that pretty much exhausts my job skills. Except for chatting. I’ve always been pretty good at chatting. Though this ability was remarkably inapplicable at my last job, where a number of my coworkers valued the English language so much that they kept it to themselves and did not share it.
In addition to writing, per se—but no wait. I have to stop here and comment on this phrase “per se”. Have you ever heard it used correctly? Is there even such a thing as correct? I’ve heard people say things like “We didn’t exactly have dinner, per se.” I think the phrase must actually mean “uhhhhhh” except it’s in Latin and sounds smarter.
Anyhow, in addition to the writing skills that sparkle where I walk like the stars on God’s right hand, I decided to develop websites, as something that combines my wondrous creativity with a blinking rat-like ability to sit for long periods in dark corners. And you know what? Someone PAID me for making a website. If that was to happen about ten more times I might earn enough to live till December, per se.
When I’m not actively engaged in not earning a living, I’m still a Writer with a big ol’ W. Got me a blog, and I can toss around bloggish technical language like “post” and…hmm, I’m sure there’s other words too. And did I mention I’m writing a novel?