pre-ps: remember those proto-youtube ‘Rejected’ videos? “My spoon is too big!!”
But the real point of this post is NOT absurdist cartoons from my early college years.
You see, I recently got rejected. By a writing contest. Timothy McSweeney is just not that into me. Of course, he’s not the first self-important hipster in recent memory to decide he could do without me…
*Insert Jon-Stewart-style camera-mugging tie-adjustment.*
Point is: I entered the McSweeney’s column contest about a month ago — which is a victory in itself, considering I found out about it just a week before, and I turned in my submission entire hours before the deadline.
There aren’t a lot of specific requirements — just the four questions below — and an original, quirky idea that’s smart & strange enough to suit the tastes of McS’s lit-hip readership. Seemed doable.
And even though I wasn’t selected, I’m still pretty proud of my attempt. Maybe I’ll just turn this into a column on my own. Then it could be the rejected idea that keeps on giving…
A brief description of the proposed column:
My column is about breakups. I’ve been dumped three years in a row, all within a month of my birthday. (Beginning to wonder if it is in fact not them, but me. I write in order to figure it out.)
I was in my car the other day when Bryan Adams’ “Please Forgive Me” shuffled on my iPod. As I belted along, playing air drums on my steering wheel, I thought about how the breakup song genre can be broken down into a much more nuanced taxonomy. All heartbreak anthems are not created equal, and I like the idea of exploring that. You turn to different tunes for the different stages of heartbreak: anger, denial, driving by his apartment at 3:00 a.m., finger-wagging and moving-on, etc.
The prescription idea came later, and it seemed a natural fit, because music is such potent self-medication. And pharmaceutical ads are such fun to lampoon. Then I thought about expanding the concept to other typical post-breakup activities. And here we go. Ex-Rx.
One full example column:
Ex-Rx: Bryan Adams, “Please Forgive Me”
No one denies the pain you’re going through, and self-medicating with this early-90s adult contemporary hit is an acceptable coping mechanism according to the American Psychological Association(‘s message boards). Bryan Adams songs give your broken heart a healthy boost, including warm thoughts of Kevin Costner’s glory years and vague memories of the disco-ball darkness of roller skating rinks.
Use only as directed.
Using Bryan Adams could result in spontaneous displays of emotion in karaoke bars or karaoke-like behavior within your motor vehicle. The use of alcoholic beverages intensifies these symptoms. If you are prone to episodes of air guitar, do not use Bryan Adams while operating heavy machinery. Heightened sense of romantic heroism will usually pass within a 24-hour period. Resist the urge to contact your ex until at least 24 hours have passed. *If you’re feeling lonely, don’t*…post the YouTube video on your Facebook wall after 12:00 a.m., as feelings of post-post remorse may occur.
Brief descriptions of three additional installments of your column:
Future columns would examine more songs and their corresponding moods: Jeff Buckley’s “Lover You Should’ve Come Over”, Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable”, Fleming & John’s “Ugly Girl”, Sam Cooke’s…pretty much anything. The format would most likely remain close to the original, but maybe new sections evolve: a doctor’s testimony, diagnostic quiz, holistic self-care, etc.
And I imagine the concept easily expanding to cover other post-breakup activities, alternating between music and other topics, like: binge shopping, martinis, Nora Ephron films, rebound sex, joining a gym (or book club), etc.
A short biographical note:
Hi. My name is Sarah Jenkins. I just turned 29, and I’m a writer from Springfield, Mo. (Hometown of Brad Pitt and Bob “have your pets spayed or neutered” Barker; home state of Jon Hamm and Todd “shut that whole thing down” Akin. Yes, we’re known for our beautiful men and a natural concern for reproductive issues.)
Other things you might like to know: I play the accordion, I ran the Chicago marathon, I have a cat named Jenksie, I do improv comedy, and sometimes people tell me I remind them of Tina Fey. And then I kiss them full on the mouth.
My major relationships have been with men who have dark hair and wear glasses, physically resembling both myself and my middle school science teacher. Probably not a coincidence.
So that’s a thing. You’re invited to reject me, too. Everybody’s doing it. But fair warning: I’m probably going to blog about it.
Please forgive me, I know not what I do…