Tuesday, July 7, 2009

THE LAST RUBE

By Joshua M. Patton

The title of this blahg is in homage to the only blog I ever read faithfully...Hey Rube on Espn.com, written by Hunter S. Thompson. It was written on a typewriter and somehow, I think one could tell in the reading. Anyway, I was stumped and The Last Rube seemed like a good title and it is literally the first thing you have to think of when you create a blog...I have always saved my titles for the end. It wasn't until today, I found out what I meant by the last rube.

When I was younger, about 14, I began writing for America Online's teenager section. I didn't get paid, but my family also did not have to pay for AOL when it was $40 bucks a month for unlimited internet access. It was great, I just wrote what I thought for about 500 or 1000 words and that was that. I was amazingly fortunate over the next three years, meeting and working with a number of people that have gone on to some moderate fame (they had an amazing race to dance with stars, but their survivors). When I joined the military and became a father, I left this field behind because I needed to provide for my family.

It was when I was serving in Iraq that I realized how much I missed writing and I wanted to get back to it. I found it much more difficult than before to break in and at first I blamed blogs and twitters for shortening our collective attention span for written words, plus most people were just giving their words away (sort of like I am right now, but we'll get to that). Yet, I realize that it is just I have lost the luck that comes with being a bright-eyed and talented teenager. Now I am just a whiskey-soaked, raspy-voiced, unemployed war vet with a mouth to feed, who even cares if I have any talent?

Still, I march onward. I write for a political site for a few months, to get my feet wet and get used to writing again. I move on to some freelance work, not journalism but certainly journo-tainment. Paper copies of the Writer's Digest part of my past, I sign up for the Writer's Market website. I see there is an agent in my town and I think it's 1994 again and you can just e-mail someone and expect a helpful, human response. This, was not the case. However, I don't blame the agent. All salesmen are whores, agents are just the literate ones.

No the real surprise came when I posted something at the AbsoluteWrite forum, what passes for an online writers' community these days. These other writers reacted as if I hadn't written a simple recount of an experience, but had pasted a picture of my forehead with male genitalia growing from it. One of the actually asked why someone would read any e-mail from me if he or she did not stand to profit directly from it. The irony of her replying this to a strangers' e-mail on a public forum apparently escaping her (I assume it was a female, it was a feminine screen name anyway).

This is why I consider myself the last rube. I am still foolish enough to believe in kind strangers. I am still foolish enough to try and help someone even if I don't stand to profit from it. Hell, I'll help someone I don't even like just because I was raised this way. I can be an asshole, but I try not to be one on purpose. Apparently, this is my largest and most glaring mistake.

Whatever, there's a guy who thinks he can guess my weight, if he doesn't I win a stuffed owl...I think I'll take my chances with him.

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