Monday, March 05, 2007

If You Kiss Ass in the Woods and No One is Around to Hear It...

If you work with me, and you watch all the corporate newspeak, you understand exactly how much sucking up reading this book, Humble Pie, entails. It wasn't a book recommended by my boss. Or her boss. Or her boss. Or his boss...wait...maybe his boss, I can't remember the corporate tree well enough to say for sure whether there's an intermediary between that boss and the boss who recommended the book. Although I can say I once took the "lesser" boss (still, three bosses up) for all his chips in an after-work poker tournament, and pilfered his offfice chair when mine wore out, so the verticality isn't as lofty as it could be. Back to the sucking wasn't even recommended in person. It was recommended by company video as a book Boss-to-the-fourth-or-higher really liked.

Unfortunately, it's my least favorite form of book. The personal memoir. I took a course in personal memoir once. Why? Because as someone with a Master's in writing, I felt it might be useful to try my hand at a style of writing I'm pretty sure I suck at - suck in a way that's almost as suck as reading a personal memoir just because a corporate big wig suggested it. I'm not a personal guy. Yes...I have a blog. Yes...I post a LOT of crap on my blog. Yes...if you read it obsessively...god help can probably read enough between the lines and in them to get a somewhat rounded picture of the gestalt that is Scooter. But if you know me, you know that I'm just not that open. Not because I'm closed, but because I don't have that much to be open about, and I'm not really angst-ridden about anything. So if you ask, I'll just tell you straight out what the deal is on pretty much any topic pertaining to my life. Really...don't believe me...pick a topic and ask. I don't go on a bender offering information, but I generally pony up when a friend goes Fisher King. When that's your attitude, your personal memoir skills are pretty much sh*t.

(whoa...a quick aside...that's a big spider next to my face that just dropped off the ceiling in the computer room. If this had been Pooteewheet, this post would have been seriously over!)

So, Humble Pie by Anne Dimock...personal memoir from someone who didn't have enough pie recipies to do a cookbook. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad. The writing is exceptional. It's really good. And if I was one of those writers who likes really good writing without an engaging story, I'd highly recommend it. Or, if I was someone who wanted to make an apple or rhubarb pie. But all those years in Montana eating rhubarb have pretty much burned that out of me. If you LIKE making pie and you LIKE personal memoir, I have no doubt you'll love the book. And if you meet my boss to the fourth (or so) at the company Christmas party, you'll have more to talk about than he and I will (although I can now argue pie with him, if that's what it takes to get ahead).

"Scooter, it's fruit or nothing. Our company has no room for schismatics. You need to be a team player."

"Sir, I have to disagree. If we can't embrace pies like French Silk, the pies of the new generation, we'll never get the niche market share that's driving the micromarketing movement embraced by web 2.0."

"I'm talking about pie, you fool!"

"Really? No metaphor? Sorry, sir. But I think we can create a very valid correlation between banana cream and our online presence."

As a very important addendum, I should note if you like fruit pie, you'll like her book. She's a self-proclaimed pie conservative who feels pumpkin pie is not real pie. Therefore, Mr. Mustard should steer well clear of the book, otherwise he may feel oppressed.

If you're looking for an alternative pie book, Eryn and I prefer this one, Enemy Pie. Any old pie will work as enemy pie if you're trying to fool your kid. The trick is to get him/her to play with said enemy for a day and make nice, while simultaneously leading your kid to believe that the pie really is somehow damaging, perhaps even poisonous, while you eat a great big slice. I'm not quite clear what the long term psychological effects are as that's not addressed in the denouement, but the important thing is your enemy becomes your friend and you get to spend some quality time on his trampoline

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