There are vital parts that make-up the day of the laid-off journalist. And one of those, especially in an economy where it seems like a good idea to sell pencils in the streets, is the rejection letter. Yesterday, a new one arrived. Since December, I've had about 10 interviews around the known universe, but for every interview I get, I expect four to five letters saying my credentials are decent, but they opted for the guy with the bionic arm or the master's degree in a field I can't pronounce. It's important to keep these letters in a stack next to something that won't draw any attention. Lately, the stack sits next to the jar that keeps the Old Man's false teeth. But if someone does ask what the papers are, I say it's "fan mail." You know, from those 16 followers on Twitter. Yeah, fan mail.
The night I was laid-off, I knew I wasn't ever go to land or attempt to land another journalism job. You hear the bad news everyday, and now, the talented blokes who take photos are being scaled back even more. An article in the New York Times gives a pretty grim view about photojournalism and what exactly is going on.
You learn early on in your career, between meeting deadlines and being screamed at by your editor that "words mean things damn you!" that a few spirits do the body good. So, Tuesday night, when the working class was in bed or flossing their teeth, I was in a friend's garage watching one friend try to kill another with a zucchini.
My friend, who I'll call "Mark" for posterity, had labored since Memorial Day to grow the biggest and best zucchini of his life. He watered it daily at 6:30 a.m. Talked to it. Read it poetry by Robert Frost (who is buried in Bennington, Vermont) and drove 100 miles to get the perfect compost mix. The master gardener was in his element. Then Tuesday night happened. Mark's arch enemy and brother-in-law walks into the garage and casually announces "hey, I'm gonna take this zucchini home, okay?"
In his hand sat Mark's prize veggie. Ripped from its life-giving vine.
What happened next is something that would become a Youtube legend. Vulgarities were spoken. Threats were hurled. An innocent vegetable was waved around like a weapon.
Who could think of a rejection letter at a time like this?
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