SWANSONG FOR THE DEPUTY
sucks. It is painful and demeaning, lonely and desperate, and feeds paranoia
like no other profession. And that's when you can earn or publish anything.
There is growing evidence that Britney Spears is a cyborg, Taliban
leader, Mullah Omar is a cross dresser and Bobby Knight has a flesh-eating
brain tumor. The entire planet is inches from cinder and there is a pending
court case in northern California between two cretins who claim ownership
of Barry Bonds 73rd home run ball. There have been six Jesus and Elvis
sightings at the Texas/Arkansas border since 11/1, and the word I'm getting
is that my cat has made it across the Hudson and is slinking up route
287 into Westchester as I write this.
But I'm going to waste this week's precious news space heralding the escape
of this magazine's managing editor, Chris Uhl. I have no fucking idea
who this man really is. I only met him in person once, at a Bennigan's
Restaurant in Ramsey, or some godforsaken hamlet of this maniacal state,
and he seemed like a nice enough fellow. I secretly taped the entire conversation,
but it revealed nothing except his love for The Simpsons and the Yankees
and that I would sooner receive a champagne enema from Jerry Falwell's
agent than get another dime out of the Aquarian for my weekly grind.
But there in lies the beauty of Chris Uhl. Before he even shook my hand
he penned a preface for my second book, and claimed to understand most
of what was in it, which was largely the ungodly puss I sent to press
nearly every week for three years. And he was glad to do it. He said he
liked my work, even cherished my place on the staff. Then he sent me what
can only be described as a scathing attack on my person and race, something
the FBI could use to derail chimp molesters and gunrunners.
Of course, I loved it, and sent it to the publisher. And why not? Uhl
(I liked to call him Uhl to make sure some other Christopher wasn't jiving
me on company policy) was a patriot. He saw the danger in my eyes without
peering into them. That is the talent I will miss, even if it will be
easy for the rest of the staff to usher him off to Pennsylvania.
Yes, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of rotten whiskey and the lap dance.
Somewhere in its borders they make chocolate and harbor freaks that pay
good money for the right to attend sporting events and throw beer at icons
Jesus, I'm running off the subject. And that reminds me of another reason
why I loved working with Uhl. He once requested I take over this sidebar
mess he was throwing together every week, which commented on current events
and pop culture. I had done that gig in my weaker moments when I started
humping words for this publication five years ago. But on the occasion
of my filling in, I used the space to accuse him of every crime realized
by modern man, including a few I made up for embarrassment purposes. And
in a telling admonishment of his personality, the girls in the editorial
department let it fly. I never officially apologized for it. And I never
will. Because Chris Uhl didn't need apologies or money or drugs, he craved
the action. And only a supreme being with a descent resume could begin
to understand what kind of action he was seeing in this gig. Oh, there
were rumors, but I didn't believe them, or I did believe them, I can't
remember. They seemed likely, but what do you really know about managing
The guy who hired me to work for this periodical years ago once told me
that killing stable rats at Freehold Raceway was more rewarding than editing
stories about New Jersey club bands. He couldn't fathom my interest in
writing a book about it. Told me to save up for a cat scan. Then a week
or so before he quit to work for a national men's magazine I called him
in the middle of the night demanding expense money to chase a woman journalist
who'd been kidnapped by Republican party officials in Washington. He laughed,
hung up, and dumped me on Chris Uhl.
The rest is boring, and most of it was covered above.
But the reason why I still crank out this meaningless tripe every week
is because the Aquarian welcomes it with open arms, and rarely questions
it. And for that, I can only be eternally grateful. Having to deal with
so many editors and publications and creative outlets in an infinite freelance
dirge, it was always comforting to know that Chris Uhl could be reached
at the office, for free tickets or credentials or to promise Pat Buchanan
the cover for the privilege of having him slobber cocktail weenies all
over me for fifteen minutes.
Now Chris Uhl is off to do what he recently told me was his passion in
the first place, writing.
So I offer him this advice: Writing sucks. It is painful and demeaning,
lonely and desperate, and feeds paranoia like no other profession. And
that's when you can earn or publish anything. When you can't get it together,
it causes pain and anguish. And the irony begins when you realize that
you are better off in that state. None of your friends like you when you're
on, when you're rolling, losing sleep and sure that what is coming out
of you is the best, no, strike that, the worst garbage ever put to paper.
What in the hell could I have been thinking? I am shit. I should be tortured
and spat on and kicked to the gutter.
But Chris Uhl already knows he should be kicked to the gutter. He can
write. I've seen the results. He'll be fine.
It's that girlfriend he keeps referring to that I worry about.
What will become of her? Trapped in Pennsylvania with an ex-editor, strung
out on over-the-counter amphetamines and trying to string together coherent
sentences at 3:00 am for a noon dead line.
Pray for her soul.
© James Campion 5.12.2001
December 6th Update
This year, for the holidays, I have decided NOT to send anyone
anything. I am only doing my part to reduce the chance of mail-related
terrorism while smartly reducing the chance of personal poverty. It's
plan for a doomed economy and I propose you do the same.
God damn it! Think of the poor souls getting your meaningless
greetings, exposing it to their children and elderly family members, and
contracting some horrible disease that spreads throughout their
unsuspecting towns and hamlets. Jesus, the Feds will hunt you down and
your yuletide ass to a military tribunal that would surely find you guilty
by suspicion and shoot you in a pit of your own digging.
But if you are brave enough to use the US Mail or shop in crowded
stores with little to no security, then please be so kind as to purchase
copy of my two books at Barnes and Noble. They have been
great supporters of yours truly, despite the risks in doing so.
Both titles, "Deep Tank Jersey" and "Fear No Art",
are chock full of
holiday cheer with their inordinate amount of expletives, bizarre rituals
and twisted logic. Just what a freethinking mind needs to consume in
these trying times. They make great gifts and blah blah, blah blah blah.
Copies ordered from my web site can be personally signed to your loved
one with sick and threatening messages included, if you provide them.
aim to please.
I would also like to take this annual opportunity to personally thank
you for being part of this growing mess of people that make up my readers,
supporting my gambling habit,
reading my weekly garbage, and sending your own right back at me. You
have stood up, and were duly counted. Keep it up.
Prevous from James Campion
How the Apple was won
KEN KESEY RIP
James Campion (where you can buy the books!)
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