Like everyone else, I get most of my reading done in the bathroom.
First up was Psychology Today. I was half-way through reading a cliched article about how cohabitation is bad, when I read this sentence:
"Charles, a 44-year old New Yorker (who asked that his name be changed) admits that in his 30s, he almost married a live-in girlfriend of three years for reasons having little to do with love."
Bored, I started thinking about Charles himself. Why didn’t he give his real name? Who is this guy? How did the writer find this guy? Did he just happen to perfectly exemplify the point the writer wanted to make? Is this "Charles" her personal friend or did she meet him on the street? Or does he even exist?
Let’s make believe I want to branch out into writing articles for magazines or newspapers. Let’s say I want to write an article on adults who love… say… Curious George books (I’m looking at one on my bookshelf). Where am I going to find people to quote? How do I find someone who will tell me "I love Curious George."
Well, I do know this guy from college who used to have a Curious George keychain. I guess I could call him up and ask him if I can quote him. What if he doesn’t want me to use his name? I guess I could change it to "Roger."
Or, to make it really easy on me — I can just make up a person:
Roger (his name changed), a stockbroker in New York, admits that he loves Curious George to this day, even carrying a Curious George keychain.
But that would get me fired, right? Maybe that’s why I’m not writing articles.
Anyway, while I was still in the bathroom, I tossed aside the Psychology Today (does anyone remember when it used to be an legitimate magazine?) and opened up the New York Observer. I love to keep up with the latest trends in New York. I started reading this article about how blue-eyed men were the flavor of the day in Manhattan, and tons of men were getting blue-colored contact lenses. "How intriguing!" I thought. But, then I reached this quote:
"I think blue eyes, on an unconscious level, create an impression of being sincere and trustworthy," said one 32-year-old female writer who pleaded anonymity, still nursing wounds inflicted by one blue-eyed bastard.
What’s this? Another anonymous person who just happens to prove the writer’s point? Is this luck or coincidence?
Looking to learn more, I asked Jill (not her real name), the 34-year-old editor-in-chief of a popular New York magazine, who told me that part of the writer’s job is finding people to quote.
"Interesting," I answered. "And do you think I would be suitable for writing a freelance article for some big magazine."
"Absolutely," said Jill (not her real name). "I’ve been reading your amazing blog and think you would be perfect for many assignments. Hell, if there was an opening in my magazine, I would make you editor right now. I would recommend you to any EMPLOYER out there. Have you thought of working in TV again? There’s more money in that."
Jill (not her real name) had a point.
I decided to ask Trevor (fake name also), a 41-year-old TV producer of three top rated shows. Trevor (fake name) was extemely excited to talk with me:
"Neil, you would perfect for so many shows. You have such a creative mind. I love that weird relationship you made up with that Sophia character."
"Well, she’s not exactly a character. I mean she is a character. But she is real. We did get married seven years ago. She does exist."
"And all that stuff about you being separated and still being friends. That is so funny… sitcom stuff. That’s all made up, right?"
"Actually, it’s true.
"Oh. Well, then it’s pretty sad. That’s too bad."
"Uh… what about the job you were going to give me?"
"Forget it. You’re too much of a downer for sitcoms. And I’m sure Jill (not her real name) agrees that you’re not right for magazines, either."
"You can’t do that or say that. I made you both up. You’re fake characters in a stupid blog. You aren’t even a real editor-in-chief or a producer."
"Sorry. Didn’t you ever hear of characters taking on a life of their own? Now, please leave the office. We have a lunch appointment with Brooke Shields at the Polo Lounge."