I can't remember why I'm doing this.
Shiny new aqua-blue iMacs which are still quite as temperamental as their dust-gray predecessors sit in a row; six big ones labeled with white address stickers and black ink, each massive monitor distanced from the others by more petite computer cousins, attired in matching plastic. The screens shine with oil and fingerprints, Pagemaker layouts resting idle while staffers attempt to defeat the monstrous Bess. With that proxy embodied by a brown dog monitoring my every step, I surf the web aimlessly. Chips litter the floor, sales requirements unmet by the yearbook staff are pinned to the board to my right.
It's what I did last year. But it's only now, having taken in stride an increase in power and responsibility that comes with being Editor in Chief that I've finally realized ... I can be useless whenever I want. I am, after all, the teacher's pet of both creative writing classes, a clear favorite. I've turned in every single thing on time for the past three years. I'm the one who never fails to fill in blank space on a layout - or at the very least, make it look intentional. I never miss a deadline; I am deferential, intelligent, and adored by all faculty.
Students crack passwords and disable functions, cause computers to emit profanities whenever certain keys are pressed, and endlessly mock the teacher who GodBlessAmericas us into work. I no longer submit my pieces to my own magazine, but spend my time fighting what I perceive as the dilution of quality.
Few entries trickle in to our "contest" in which we've stooped to giving a monetary reward (which we never remember to pay), nearly all are unsatisfactory. Much of the art is repulsive, the poetry stupifying, and only two short stories happened to be turned in at all. And of those two short stories, one could only be considered remotely possible to put in print if I spent the next thirty years of my lifetime correcting its grevious errors, let alone the soap-opera plot.
My editors and I sit 'round a wooden table gouged by pen and penknife, eyeing what appears to be a mountain of crap before us. We pass most of these moments in silence. We contemplate, and eventually the winners of the art contest are selected randomly. We've given up and placed faith in luck, because we don't have the heart to look at our reality - apparently, viewing the "works" before us, our cheesy, high-school, soppy, soapy, suicidal, depressed reality - any more. We can't bear it.
But the teacher doesn't care. To her every piece is a work of art despite lack of care, skill, or sight. She wants every possible piece in; as passionate as she is, she demands it. I refuse. She persists. My editors join my side, but she is only defeated when I raise my voice to her for the first time, ever, in three years. I have snapped, it seems, finally admitting in less than words that I hate the sound of her voice, her constant frenzy, her bumbling optimism. "I don't want them in there." That is all, it is all that is needed. Silence follows, then she is quick to admit that maybe I am right, but perhaps I should consider her viewpoint.
I withdraw from all that I can after that point; surfing the Web but still making every deadline. Pagemaker files are sent to the printer as am I in a blue car driven by the teacher, where we go over page by page on a glowing screen. Pop singers burp their tunes over the radio in the printing room.
I can't remember why I'm doing this.
It has long since ceased to be a source of enjoyment. I hear only her voice and see only the screen and the choice I am forced to make between bad and worse. When the magazine is returned fresh from the printer on bright glossy paper, I am too fatigued to feel much for my child.
::laughs:: Ok, enough of that. ^_^