Before I get to the cathartic event that led to my becoming an editor, a few little-known facts about Evil Editor:
1. I believe in reincarnation, but only of inanimate objects. For instance, I believe that in a past life, I was Shirley MacLaine's carry-on luggage.
2. Each night when I get home from work, I inhale a few breaths from a tank containing a mixture of helium and laughing gas, and then work out in the nude on the uneven parallel bars. Then I spend the rest of the night working on my long-term project, digging a secret passage under the house, connecting the lounge to the conservatory.
3. I have a bad habit of screaming, cursing, and ranting at bad drivers, especially when I'm riding the city bus.
4. I am a virtuoso pianist, and yet I've never touched a piano. I learned by reading books.
5. I have an irrational hatred of people who always request chopsticks in Chinese restaurants.
6. I look like what you'd get if you superimposed the faces of J.D. Salinger, Miss Snark, Zorro, and The Blob.
7. I will never accept the claim that if you put a monkey in a room with a typewriter for eternity, he'll eventually type out the complete works of Shakespeare. I say he's lucky to finish two or three of the plays before he makes a mistake.
8. My most embarrassing moment ever, came just a few weeks ago, when I discovered that someone I've long considered to be my closest personal friend is actually a giant marionette.
The Later Years
Once it became clear to Evil Editor that writing was not the road to steady income, I tried my hand at other occupations. One year I toiled on an ant farm, cleaning mud out of the grooves in little tiny tractor tires. The following year I taught a course in Mime Appreciation at The Braille Institute. And later I threw myself into promoting worldwide use of the binary language, a new language I developed that uses only two words: bolo and bongo. Times were hard until I started my own business, manufacturing specialized ladders with holes in the rungs so that people with peglegs don't slip off. I made a small fortune, sold the business for another fortune, and finally had the opportunity to embark upon my life's mission: making the world a better place by providing its inhabitants with my opinions.
At first I thought I could do this as a critic, but critics have no effect on the quality of a product. Critics don't see a work until it's too late to change it. And until Siskel and Ebert came up with their thumbs up and down routine, no one ever knew whether a critic liked anything anyway, as their reviews consisted entirely of references to obscure European artists, many of whom existed only in the imaginations of the critics themselves:
Critic: "The film exists on a plane with the earlier works of Lombardi and Minoso."
Listener: (Stares blankly.)
Critic: "Zizima in the Dark Rain was the last film to move me this way."
Listener: (Stares blankly.)
Critic: "I give it three stars."
Listener: (Smiling and nodding): "Ah. Three stars."
One night the ghost of some writer, I think it was Theodore Dreiser, appeared to me in a dream and suggested I try editing. I asked why, and he said, "H.G. Wells once said, 'No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else's draft.'" I asked what editors do. He said, "Pretty much nothing. Oscar Wilde once wrote, 'All morning I worked on the proof of one of my poems, and I took out a comma; in the afternoon I put it back.'" I asked him why Oscar Wilde and H.G. Wells weren't appearing to me in my dream. He said they were both drunk.