Thursday, September 5, 2013
Sticks and stones? How 'bout words and cookies instead
Remember the old taunt from those long ago playground days? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!"
Apparently there are some people (and they know who they are) who never learned the truth in that old saying.
So let's go back to that playground again and see what happens. . . . . .
Little Arthur goes to the playground with a bag full of cookies he baked. He hands free ones out to the kids he sees at the playground.
Kid #1: Gee, thanks! (takes a bite) Gawd, this is terrible! It's so dry and hard and overbaked I can hardly chew it!
Kid #2: (struggles to swallow) I know! It's like his mother didn't teach him how to test the oven setting or something.
Arthur: But you didn't eat the whole thing! You only ate one bite!
Kid #1: I don't need to eat the whole thing. It's awful, and it isn't going to get any better. It's a lousy cookie, for fuck's sake. Did you even try one yourself?
Arthur: I don't have to! I know they're good! I made 'em!
Kid #3: (spits his out on the ground) Ugh! It's got coconut in it! I hate coconut! You shoulda warned me it had coconut in it! I think I'm gonna throw up!
Arthur: You guys are mean! Those cookies took me all morning to bake! and I gave 'em to you for free! How dare you say you don't like them!
Kid #1: They're still terrible! I don't care if you took two weeks to bake 'em. They suck! Look, mine's all burnt on the bottom.
Arthur: My mother told me she loved those cookies!
Kid #3: Well, duh, that's what mothers are supposed to do.
Arthur: Why are you being so mean to me? You're a bunch of bullies! I'm going to sue you!
Kid #2: Sue us? For what? 'Cuz you made some overbaked coconut cookies that we didn't like?
Arthur: You're ruining my career as a baker! I'll have you all arrested and thrown in jail for a hundred billion years!
Kid #3: Are you crazy or somethin'? You wanta be a baker, then go home and learn how to bake good cookies. Quit bein' a whiny little fuckwad and wasting our time. It's not like these are the only cookies in town.
A week later Arthur comes back to the playground with another bag of cookies, which he hands out free.
Kid #1: I'll pass.
Arthur: You didn't even taste it!
Kid #1: No, and I ain't gonna.
Kid #2: (takes a bite and spits it out) Holy shit, it's hard as a fuckin' rock! This is even more overbaked than the last batch! Christ on a crutch, Arthur, didn't you pay any attention to what we told you the last time?
Kid #4: Here let me try one.
Kid #2: Don't say we didn't warn you. Arthur's cookies are shit.
Kid #4: (takes a bite) What the fuck? I think I broke a tooth!
Arthur: You're lying! You didn't really break a tooth! You didn't even take a bite!
Kid #4: I couldn't! The damn cookie's too damn hard!
Arthur: (offering cookie to another kid) Here, it's free.
Kid #5: No way! If all my friends think your cookies are this bad, I'm not touchin' 'em with a 10 foot pole.
Arthur: (lies down in the dirt, screaming and kicking)
Moral of the story: Books are like cookies, and authors are like bakers.
No one laid a hand on Arthur; no one told him to put his hand in a blender or go hang himself. They just didn't like his cookies.
Arthur can pick himself up, dust himself off, and go home to learn how to make cookies people will like and eat and tell their friends about and pay real money for. No one is stopping him. Of course, in order to do that, he will have to admit that his cookies need improvement and maybe he needs some help. Or, if he chooses to be a martyr, he can continue to writhe in the dust until the ants that are drawn to the cookies decide they're inedible and eat Arthur's eyes out instead.