Friday, November 30, 2012

Today's guest author: Keri Ramos

Comedy isn't pretty. By most accounts, funny people like Chevy Chase and Peter Sellers are/were, at best, pricks when not dishing out the LOLs. It takes guts to point out serious character flaws that run so counter to the public's perception of an individual. Keri Ramos has guts. She also has a much lower tolerance for bullshit than you would expect to find in someone so young. If I were a doctor, I'd guess that the extra guts are filling up the area where the tolerance for bullshit is supposed to go. But I'm not a doctor; I'm a monster. I'm the illegitimate lovechild of Chevy Chase, Peter Sellers, Hitler and George Steinbrenner (don't ask how that works logistically or biologically; I told you I'm not a doctor). Don't believe me? Read the account below from the gutsy and talented Keri Ramos.   

A Ridiculously Inconsistent Commission

I asked to be the last contributor. I've read all the other guest spots, highly entertained by tales of boots and rockstars that can't pick up chicks. See, we all babysat this blog as Clark took off November to finish up his book. Did you know he was writing a book? (If he's smart, he'll link to that book announcement right about now.) I bet you had fun, right? Whether you participated or even just read the entries, it was fun, right? Clark's pretty awesome like that, isn't he? Just a ball of amazing, huh? Working with Clark is pretty much the best thing ever, right?

Wrong. Working with Clark is terrible, and you guys are a bunch of suckers. Do not let him fool you, not for one second.

A simple text message came to me late one summer night by way of Clark Brooks and ruined my life for good: "I need editing work done. Let's discuss this." He was talking about his book, a lovingly compiled "best of" from this blog that I'd heard distant rumblings about before.

I still don't know why he picked me.

We met at some tragically hip spot in Ybor and drank weird apricot beers that our bartender called "pedestrian" much to Clark's indignation. "Don't be an idiot," he snapped. "Beers can't walk." He told me more about the project and who was involved, what his time frame was and exactly what he wanted me to do. "Make me look really good. And if I'm frustrated, tell me I'm pretty."

I still don't know why I said yes.

Once a week we'd set aside time for each other. We didn't always meet in person, but when we did, it was usually our "pedestrian" Ybor hangout. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is very chill and there's usually live music. I know what you're thinking. Clark is such a jerk.

When we did meet up, we'd spend a little while hashing out book details and going over game plans or schematics or whatever editors are supposed to do. Clark would inevitably dominate the conversation. He would ask about my life, my family, my stories. And he'd listen. And we'd talk this way for hours, swapping anecdotes that are usually best understood by fellow creative types. What a tool, right? Not only did I have to edit his stories, I had to listen to them in real life too.

When we didn't meet, I'd just send emails or be available by phone. One time it took him three days to respond to my email. I assumed he was dead at first, but he kept checking into places on FourSquare, so I knew he was okay. I almost showed up to one of those places like some kind of crazy person. I can handle editing, but don't make me worry about you, Clark, you big meanie.

I called him once and he didn't answer. He texted back immediately saying he was at work and couldn't talk. Work? Couldn't talk? TO ME? Work is work but this book is his future! I cried myself to sleep that night. When he did have time for me, it was at crazy hours, like 8 AM. I work freelance hours, I don't know what 8 AM looks like. But there was Clark, enthusiastic as ever, wanting to know where we were on Chapter Five. *Spoiler alert* - there is no Chapter Five.

More abuse came: he started showing a lot of gratitude and being fun, which really threw me for a loop because I thought I'd be working with the cranky guy from the purple blog. We met a few times and didn't even talk about the book. We just hung out and decompressed like two frazzled friends trying to make headway on the same project. He bought me beers (not the pedestrian kind, we evolved) and once he even gave me a slice of his pizza. Listen, I know you're starting to fall for him the way I did, but don't. The pizza wasn't that good.

When it was over, we met one last time. I drank sangria and anxiously awaited him at the bar. "I don't know how to say what I'm trying to say," I drunkenly stammered. "But now that I'm done..." "Are you breaking up with me?" he spat out. "Because I think we should work with other people." I was floored. I just wanted to tell him how happy I was to work with him and that I wanted to be super best friends forever. Matching bracelets and all. Clark shoved a check into my hand, kissed me on the cheek and sped off into the night, leaving me there like some kind of editing-hooker. I yelled "you're pretty!" into the parking lot, but it was too late.

I can't speak for the rest of the book team, but in an editing capacity, please don't ever work with Clark. Ever. (Because I will find you and I will break all of your fingers. Clark. Is. Mine. Get your own weird friend who wants to write a book.)

And about the book, it's hilarious. He's not paying me to say that, because I already got paid once, and I'm pretty sure hookers don't get royalties.

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