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ANECDOTE 013: September 09, 2007 [listen]

MY BAGGAGE: Bearing a New Yorker's Crux

In my attempts to embellish my literary career, I tried to become a member of a New York City Society, a part of the Scene, a scene that has since past. For the City's advancement has been kicked in the rear, a Society caught off guard. With the monoliths destroyed, a wounded and recovering Manhattan is the landmark of another movement: the endormi-garde. During this Uncanny Era, the endormi-garde is a necromancy that brings out the dead to find life--a resting in peace, yet not deceased. As a participant in this era, I rummaged through the archival rubble, hoping to locate the meaning of being a resident New Yorker, hoping to link to the memes of the configurance.

Searching the ambience of the Internet, I came across a digitally morphing, traditional print magazine that is now podcasting once-published short stories: found fiction 'scaping the mind of a writer who is reading an author's prose, inspirational prose creating a collection of words, words of equal or lesser value. An achievement, the podcast averages eighteen minutes per item, which is, I suspect, roughly the same amount of time spent waiting for a meal to arrive when dining alone at a restaurant, listening to entertain one's thoughts while watching people surreptitiously.

I have come across resident remnants of the City's Literary Society to notably mention. I have collected the words to make my contribution to the archives as a digital immigrant who wishes to emigrate New York, but cannot. To the Scene, here is My Baggage.

I attended a prep school: all male, and Catholic. I had a big mouth. As a result, I was encouraged to join the Forensics team. My instructor thought best I put my outspokenness to some form of educational use.

I was assigned to read a short story about a young baggage clerk who took issue with the supermarket manager's "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" policy as applied to a couple of bikini-wearing customers. For the clerk believed that if he defended their bikini-ness, he would be their champion for the summer, and reap their benefits. He took a stand against management and relinquished his duties. All this hoopla to preserve their honor only to find out that after he walked out on the job, the two ladies were long gone, undeterred by this trifle incident. Big deal!!! End of story.

The original version of this short story appeared in a New York weekly, and the story's author was well respected by the Society. With this validation, my instructor thought the literature suitable for a dramatic reading by a pubescent such as myself. However, this pubescent (me) had no experience in bagging groceries (nor in taking a stand, for that matter) to even begin to relate to the story's main character as well as dramatize the plot. Plus, I had not understood the difference between readerly/writerly text in relation to the spoken word.

Basically, the argument is one should write the way one speaks so that the reader will be able to focus on the content and relate to the context of the story. Being that I was raised in a Modernist household, I could not relate to this parochial narrative, forensically speaking.

Even though my ethnicity fit the stereotype, my nascent life lacked such experience when compared to that of the main character, thus making my delivery of the short story dryer than a piece of stale bread baked into a crouton.

The non-traditional judge scored my presentation with a low grade as well as chided me for doing this great (readerly/writerly) author a disservice. The judge stated that I was the embarrassment of the tournament. My instructor was vilified for allowing me (the worst in show) to participate in the tournament even though the team's winning streak continued. None of my teammates spoke to me as we champions dined at the nearest fast-food establishment.

Given that I was so loquaciously eloquent when terrorizing with my opinion extemporaneously in the halls of my school, why was I so lackluster when reading dramatically in tournament? I was a disappointment, an obnoxious disappointment.

Perhaps that is why I was asked to join the Forensics team and was assigned the short story where the main character was a quixotic dupe. Was this assignment retribution in the form of post-colonial (in)justice, or a token act of atonement, or just another prep school prank along the lines of a looser-comedy?

Rather, this is my configurance to save face, a byway to put on a face, so to face the reality of being a butt-face.

Lesson learned. Baggage checked.

My New York crux to bear as exemplified by my err, my life as an ironic cultural study, my life as a farce of artful humanity, my life as a plain and simple joke, I continue onward, fetishizing my obsession with City/Society residency.

Feel free to exercise thought by sending me an email. Be sure to experiment with flavor--and remember, eat your mistakes, uh, ingredients. (Disclaimer)
Copyright © 2007 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved