Labor Day: Exposed!
I kicked my way into Cracked.com Head Editor Jack O'Brien's office, armed to the teeth with fireworks, steak and hardcore pornography. "Jacktus Jack," I screamed when I got in. "Let's celebrate!" "Why would you even need to change 'Cactus Jack' to 'Jacktus Jack?' Jack was already in the name to begin with," he said quietly. He just doesn't get it. "Yeah, well, now it's in there twice. More is better, everybody knows that." I pointed to my crotch several times. "Stop that. Anyway, what are you doing here; I've got a lot of work to do." His desk was full of papers and files and probably some other stuff. "I'm here to help you celebrate, boss. It's Labor Day Weekend! We need to go out and honor America. Honor the shit right out of her!" I lit several fireworks and threw a handful of pornography at Jack's secretary. Once the smoke had cleared, Jack put down the papers he was working on to address me. "And what, exactly, would we be celebrating for Labor Day, Dan?" I froze. Jack had pinpointed my one weakness: Knowledge. Specifically, my not having any of it. "It's... you know...we're commemorating...American Independence, the end of our oppression." It was a shot in the dark, and I wasn't sure it was going to work. I pointed to my crotch a few more times to grease the wheels. "Independence from whom, Dan?"
"You have no idea what Labor Day is about, do you?" Okay, he was right, but I could still spin this. It was time to get all philosophical up in this bitch. "Can you really know a holiday, Jackson 5? I mean, when you think about it, can anyone really know anything, for sure?" That shit was smooth and deep. I'm like Socrates wrapped in Shaft, sometimes, I swear to God. I sat down on the edge of Jack's desk. "You see,
I had my assistant set up an appointment with Fiona McDowel, the current head of the Federal United Labor Union and got a series of tough, hard-hitting questions together.
Journalism is a tricky business. You need to be sure that the person you're interviewing feels comfortable around you, comfortable enough to give straight, honest answers. If you ask too many questions or if you give them a look that can be described as particularly "rapey," they can, and they would be right to-- end the interview. If even for one second they feel even the slightest bit ill at ease, it is their right to refuse to answer questions, and the last thing you need is an interview without a subject. An interview without a subject is poison to the journalism game. It's what we in the business call "Shit in the Coffee," because both of those things are unfavorable. (Picture a nice cup of coffee. Now picture it with poop in it. Can you see why that would be a problem? Good, you're on your way to being a first-class journalist.) Now, while it is your job as a journalist to make sure your subject is completely comfortable at all times, you don't want to do so at the risk of losing the story. It would be easy to lob softball questions at a subject all day; that would be totally comfortable, especially if you're interviewing the star batter of the softball team. Comfortable though that may be, a story without
This might be a problem. "Miss McDowel," I said when she sat down, "thank you for agreeing to meet with me." "It's Mrs. McDowel," she corrected. "It's Miss, actually," I re-corrected, with a wink. She gave me a look that either said "I'm confused and offended" or "I'm just seconds away from ripping my pants off." "Anyway," I began, stretching, (but, really, flexing), my arms behind my back, "we should really get started. See if we can't clear up this whole 'Labor Day' business once and for all." "There's really no mystery," she said, mysteriously. "In the late 1800s, some labor unions got together and decided that the hardworking, blue collar types deserved a day off and a parade. So, a day in September was established as a day of rest and celebration for these laborers and... I'm sorry, are you sure you don't want to write any of this down?"
"Don't you worry your pretty little ass, Miss McDowel. I've got it all up here." At 'here' I pointed to my head, so to suggest that I was mentally writing down the words that she was saying. This was, of course, ludicrous, as all of my mental ability was focused on not pointing towards my crotch while we talked. There was an intense battle going on in my head between good and evil over this very subject. Nothing punctuates a sentence like a good ole' crotch point. Indicating your genitals is Nature's period, Evil would say.
She was very animated when she spoke, and it was clear from the hint of a smile and the twinkle in her eye that she was very passionate about the topic of labor laws and unions. I almost felt sorry for the poor girl, because those were some of the most boring fucking things I've ever heard about. Still, it was wonderful to watch her speak, flailing her arms around, pausing only to sip at her coffee. It was so wonderful, in fact, that I didn't even pay attention to a word she'd actually said. So wonderful, in fact, that I found myself staring still, even after she'd already left.
So, my sexy, expert subject had left and I'd completely ignored every sexy little word that came out of that filthy mouth of hers. In the world of journalism, when presented with a situation like this, it is said that you've been handed "A Strawberry Cock Sundae with Shit Sauce." In terms everyone can understand, I was totally screwed.
I started writing. Furiously, not bothering to correct typos or wipe the page when I started drooling on it. I thought about what labor meant to me. How, before my career as a wild and passionate blogger, I had a slightly less glamorous job working as a dishwasher. I thought about how, on busy nights, an impossible number of plates would stack up and up and even the slightest deviation --like taking one sip of water-- would set me back immensely. At first, it seemed like no matter how many I washed, I'd never get through them all. But I took them. One dish at a time. I thought about how the quiet tranquility brought on by both the repetitive, circular hand-washing motion and the monotonous whir of the giant, mechanical dishwasher drowned out the rest of the world and made the work almost soothing, almost peaceful. I thought about the
*** I placed my report on Jack's desk first thing in the morning. "I won't lie to you, Jacktory Girl: What you have in your hands is the greatest piece of journalistic sex I will ever write." I watched him read it, devouring each line with his eyes while his hands shook. He was speechless. He would be for a while. "Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend, Jack."
I know I will. I know I will.
More of Daniel's writing can be found on the Internet.
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