By Sean Wilkinson
So I was talking to an impartial reader the other day, and he was telling me I should compile these Cheery Monologues into a book. He thinks they’re funny enough. He thinks the book will sell. I think he’s onto something….
As he said, they’re wildly hilarious, with just a twinge of cynicism, and each one has a little of that “aww factor,” as he put it. Just what the people want. They’ll eat it up.
I’m thinking, “Hey, I’ve already got a good 25,000 words or so of this junk. Why not slap a couple covers on this bad boy and get myself an ISBN number?”
So I’m now taking pre-orders for the Cheery Monologues book. Working title:Cheery Monologues, The Book. Catchy. I like it.
I’ve been buying a lot of books this season. Everyone wants books for Christmas, myself included, and Amazon.com has done a pretty crazy thing with their presence on the Internet. They give people a place where they can create a list of all the books they want, prioritized from “highest” to “lowest” desire.
For the sake of simplicity, I’m excluding a vast array of consumer items available on Amazon.com, save for the books. Just what they’ve done for book-buying alone is monumental.
Given the billions of books Amazon has helped place into loving homes, I’m moved to make an inference about the state of our nation. Now, I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but I’m fairly convinced America has not grown any smarter in the past 15 or so years that Amazon has been selling us books. I have to conclude that people are getting far more books than they actually want, or at least think they want.
And perhaps that’s the key. People only think they want books. They figure if they put Kicking the Meth and Video Game Habit in 7 Days on their Amazon wish list, they’ve taken a real, proactive step toward holding a job that doesn’t involve washing dishes in a bar kitchen.
Then Christmas rolls around, and Aunt Teddy has gone online and found your wish list. Soon you’re tearing through layers of snowman-patterned tissue paper to find… Kicking the Meth and Video Game Habit in 7 Days. Shit. Now you might actually have to do something about all that meth smoking and video-game playing and bar-kitchen dishwashing.
Or do you? Books are great space-taker-uppers. Got a stack of unwanted books? Stick ’em on a shelf! Line them up in a row, with the titles facing out, as if you want to be able to select one at will. Never even opened a page of any of those books? That’s OK! People will still assume you read, which just might be the difference between one date and four or five dates. (After a week or so, even with a shelf full of Nietzsche, if all you talk about is “gettin’ ‘er dun,” your little scam will soon be all too apparent.)
For those of us who read on a regular basis, for pleasure – not just for DUI classes – the Amazon wish list has been a savior. Relatives can log in and find your list of desired books, see whether anyone has already purchased them for you, then buy your “highest desired” selections and have them shipped directly to you, gift-wrapped, with a personal note!
No more unwanted copies of The Complete Anthology of Fred Basset. (Unless you’re the kind of moron who finds that insufferable basset hound funny, with his senseless drivel and unwritten, non-existent jokes. I hate that miserable animal.)
No more unwanted copies of Waiting To Exhale: The Original Screenplay.
No more unwanted copies of Cheery Monologues, The Book.
This is my ultimate aspiration as a writer: to someday rocket to fame and appear on someone’s Amazon wish list. I would then like to sit on that person’s shelf and perhaps, just perhaps, help him get to third base because his skanky date thinks he’s an intellectual. And then, someday, if I’m really lucky, I will be so ubiquitous that I can crap out a log like any given morning’s Fred Basset comic and people will eat it up.
At least the old folks will, the ones that still get me, if there are any left by this time. And accordingly, the next generation will be praising the virtues of Amazon’s wish list for keeping unwanted copies of my crap off their shelves.