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.