Success: The Best Revenge

Getting dumped for your best friend can suck. That happened to me a few years ago. Met a cute guy. Went on a few dates. Then he got interested in my friend and slipped a breakup note under my door. That put a ding in my self-confidence. They had sex just a few floors above me in the same huge apartment complex. I could almost see it in my head falling asleep in my sad, borrowed mattress.

I saved the breakup note for a while. It read something like this:

You’re really hot. Like, seriously. But you’re boring as hell. I need someone who does crazy stuff like sing at a full moon. You’re just not wild enough.

Well, I was wild. I just thought singing at the moon was kind of…stupid. I was too nice to tell him anything.

Of course, what happened after that made me laugh. I got my revenge. But not in a spiteful way. Nope. Instead, I moved ahead and focused on my life. Success is the best revenge. Always. In fact, you can get revenge against all your enemies just by succeeding at your goals. It’s so much more efficient than taking them on one at a time.

My ex dated my friend for a few months, then they broke up. A couple weeks after that, I met him at a party where he announced to the room that he’d somehow contracted a venereal disease. Awkward. Was he proud or something? Did he think it was funny? Still not sure. But I knew one thing: So glad I never slept with him. My friend, on the other hand? She decided to get tested.

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Shitty Department Chairs

Department chairs have tough jobs. Scheduling a hundred classes every semester. Student complaints. Budgets. Recruitment. Promotion. Tenure reviews. Hiring new faculty. Not killing people. You get the idea.

How do I know all this? I help run a department. Yeah, I’m more than just a pretty face on campus. I also know that department chairs make almost twice as much as their faculty at some places. And they teach half as many courses. Not a bad trade off, I’d say.

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Don’t Fuck with Your Editor

You want to. So do we all. Sometimes, I try. I’ve sent some really bitchy emails to editors that I later regretted. Did they deserve it? Maybe. But that’s no excuse. Don’t ever burn bridges if you can help it. If you’re a starving writer, you just can’t afford much dignity. Especially these days. Anyway, let me tell you some of my biggest fights with editors.

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The Death Fix

Sex with corpses. Everybody thinks about it. They don’t want to talk about it openly, though. Slightly less harmful than pedophilia, equally stigmatized, and the quickest way to kill a conversation. Seriously, when’s the last time you had an open discussion about necrophilia with your friends or coworkers? We live in such a sexually repressed culture. Sad.

Let’s break free, shall we? Hell, our president once starred in a porno. The time for modesty is over.

Necrophilia suffers from heavy stigma. And yet, it’s a natural act. Biologists have documented acts of necrophilia in the wild among several species. The French didn’t coin the phrase “little death” for nothing.

A morgue worker once admitted publicly to having sex with more than 100 corpses. Not back in the late 19th century, either. Just a couple of years ago. His bosses made him do it at first, but then he learned to accept it. On top of that, nobody would date him. Girls were too creeped out by his job. Poor guy. So he just kept on fucking the dead. You know what? I’m skeptical. I don’t think anyone made him. I don’t think he did it just because he was lonely. I’ll bet a big part of him enjoyed it. More than once, a guy or two have dug up a chick for a little action. One physician kept his wife preserved for decades.

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How (Not) to Market

Kellyanne Conway can teach us something about promotion. Yeah, it’s nuts. Watching her try to plug Ivanka’s awful clothes last week made my skin crawl. It wasn’t just unethical. It was so far off the mark, and pathetic, that the show hosts were cringing. They tried to stop her. They warned her. Yet, she persisted.

Funny how many writers and artists have tried the same move. A few years ago, I watched a friend of mine on the local news. He was talking about his first novel. Great for him. It was a nice chat, but then he did something stupid as hell. He tried to guilt the co-hosts into buying his book on air. They asked how his book was doing, and he said, “Well I’m hoping to sell you two and the camera man one each right after the show.” Automatic facepalm. I had to take a shower on his behalf. And I had just taken one. That’s how bad it went over.

A few weeks later, a bunch of friends and I were getting drunk at a bar. A book festival was in town. Instant excuse to behave badly. Authors came and went. They told funny stories. They flirted. They gave advice. Midway through our happy hour, someone we didn’t like showed up. She talked about her writing for several minutes, killed the conversation, and then passed around bookmarks. Everyone just nodded politely. When she left, we threw them away.

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Am I Failing at Life?

You’re not trying hard enough. You make stupid decisions. You take too many risks. That’s the voice in my head sometimes. Okay, a lot.

Life would be easy if I had moderate expectations of myself. I worked for years to become a professor, and now I’m an associate department chair. My own parents did everything they could to dissuade me from majoring in English. My friends and relatives mocked me for going into a PhD program. Now, I make just as much money as my dad did at my age. The problem? That salary doesn’t quite go far enough when you have student loans. I’m trying to solve this problem.

People envy me. And yet here I am, pissed off that I’m only getting 200-400 hits on my blog every day, with occasional spikes of 500. I just paid $300 in taxes. It’s the first time in my life I’ve never received a refund. I’m in a different tax bracket now. It seems unfair. I have some money saved up. It’s hardly enough to make a down payment on a house. Barely enough to raise a child. I’m not even sure I want kids. My spouse does. So I’m sorta stuck here.

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