One of the most embarrassing conversations of my life happened years ago while trapped in the cab of a work truck with my feckless boss, Mr. Magazine Time. For those of you who have arrived at Pandaloonery from my MDA journal Primal With A Side Of FABULOUS, Mr. Magazine Time is a familiar face. For those of you who have not, he was a man paid over $100,000 a year to sit in his office looking at magazines and otherwise do nothing at all.
I was a new hire at the company. As his desk planner sported an empty box beneath Thursday, he decided that we should drive around in his truck to our company’s inventory locations and peruse them together. There was no point to this errand, as I had been hired to work in the laboratory, but since he had completed his daily tasks . . .
- Magazine time
- Internet surfing
- Creeping about cubicles hoping that he might catch someone else Internet surfing
- Contemplation time in the can
- Practicing his gangsta moves
. . . he required some task with which to while away his afternoon. And so we drove all over three cities looking at inventory together.
Mr. Magazine Time is a man endlessly fascinated by his own particulars, and in possession of unflagging confidence that any stance he has taken on an issue is the only reasonable one worth holding. This is a fairly easy personality to please: one simply nods and agrees to the expounding. However, Mr. Magazine Time muddies the waters by soliciting your opinion first, purely so that he can disagree with it. Then, once you are trounced, he requests your opinion on something else.
After three hours of viewing inventory, he asked what kind of writing I liked to do.
“I write science fiction for adults and young adult fantasy,” I answered, finding this a harmless line of chatter and a reprieve from his dismissals of my opinion on everything else we had discussed.
His face flushed an appalling shade of red, and as we tootled down the road, he spluttered, “What . . . what was that last part?”
“Young adult fantasy,” I repeated.
Time passed in silence and then he cried, “Well, I think that’s TOO OLD for them!”
It took me several seconds to understand that he thought I wrote erotica for kids. Then it was my turn to splutter that NO, I write fantasy as in Tolkien. Rowling. Lewis. Not dirty stories for thirteen-year-olds. That this was even a consideration in his mind told me far too much about him, more than I ever wanted to know, and lest someone else out there also have a Penthouse mind, be reassured.
Unicorns, not porn.