I think every single story idea I’ve ever had has been born in the shower. There’s just something about being naked and wet that activates the story-telling part of the brain. I think because it’s the same part that would have to come up with reasonable excuses if you were caught naked and wet anywhere but the shower.
"I CAN EXPLAIN okay it’s a kid rafting the Mississippi as a symbol for America."
So Cracked has been doing these personal experience articles lately, like this one, or this one - and they’ve been great. Honestly, some of the best stuff up on the site. And we know it: We all work very hard on them (especially Evans). But something I’ve learned in reading all of their pitches and editing the drafts: Everybody’s job is boring, and involves lots of sucky paperwork. And that’s all anybody wants to talk about.
No matter what you do, no matter how unique, dramatic, or exciting your job seems to outsiders, you think it’s boring and what you really want to talk about is all this shitty paperwork. Private Detective, Spy, Bounty Hunter, Undisputed Master of Lightning — doesn’t matter.
They’ll be all: “This one time I killed a steel-clawed dude with an airboat fan and I had to fill out form 542-E, Lethal Force with an Unauthorized Weapon, form 1640, a requisition for a new airboat (obviously), AND form 1099, because contract killing technically makes you a contractor. And get this, every single one had to be in triplicate! So anyway, let’s break down how to fill out a 1099-“
And we’ll have to be like “wait, go back to the airboat thing. You killed a guy with the fan? Like, kicked him into it, or power-slid into him or what? Let’s delve into the airboat bits, man. That’s crazy.”
The author is always super surprised. “You…want to hear about the boat stuff? Why? What about these forms? They’re super annoying.”
It happens without fail. Two of the proposed entries in any given personal experience pitch will always be “Most of it is boring” and “You have no idea about this paperwork.” We usually cut them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disparaging the authors for it. It’s just human nature. We get so used to the up times that when we have to talk about what we do with our days, all our brains want to do is complain about the lulls. It has happened to me in every dumb job I’ve ever had, and it’s honestly kind of nice to learn that, gas station attendant or iron-fisted ruler of a small island nation, everybody hates dealing with time-sheets.