Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 6th, 2010

Vanity Press (VP):  Vanity is expensive; (May 6, 2010)

            Vanity Press serves special clients. You type a manuscript and you have the urge to publish it.  You are turned down by many editors and then you decide to finance the printing and dissemination.  Your vanity is a t stake after investing enormous time and energy on writing hundreds of pages.  This is when you get hold of one of the Vanity Presses.  The VP showers you with praises and lauds your talent of a most promising writer and a “would be” famous author.  You sign a formal standard contract.  It is supposed to be a contract but it is not:  Your only option is to accept the standard contract or decline it.  The VP will take in charge publishing and then disseminating articles and summaries of your books in dailies.

            The contract does not stipulate the number of copies to print but there is a minimum; 100 copies will be sent to you to distribute to friends and acquaintances and 200 copies the VP will send to dailies and magazines, which most likely ends in waste baskets if indeed mailed.  The contract also stipulate that unsold copies will be destroyed (no need to stipulate a time frame for destruction since no copies will be left for that cruel job).  Now, the initial 300 copies are all gone and you are requested for your own benefit to print some more as the printing presses are still hot.  Your enlarged vanity may fall in that trap: the harder you fall the more expensive your vanity.  Then, one day, the VP warns you that it has accumulated a stock of 10,000 copies you have ordered and the VP is about to destroy the entire stock.  You resist this murderous potential action by buying say 3,000 more copies.  At your request the VP starts printing your 3,000 copies.  May be you get the idea of actually contemplating the 10,000 stock of copies and running a quality sample check?  Tough luck if you are ever seeing anything.

            There are many kinds of VP schemes.  For example, you pay to have your glorious name published with the famous and glamorous names in a catalogue or specialized dictionary; the real famous names receive two sentences at best but your name can take two pages if you pay for that length.

            The richer you are, the greater your vanity and the happier the Vanity Presses.  So far, is publishing my articles for free but making tons of money from my labor. There is always someone making profit of your varieties of vanity.

I am a thief; (May 7, 2010)

She woke up from siesta and was in the mood of taking a war path.  She is in bad mood when money is very short to buy essential medicines.

She had left me a small amount of money to purchase a medicine.  I did purchase one medicine while she was sleeping, but failed to return the change as she woke up.

“You are a thief” she said with forcefulness, repeated three times. I replied with uneasiness: “Just do not forget to take your medicines.”

I had borrowed two weeks ago money to buy her all her monthly medicines: My brother was late giving her the cost of one medicine.  Medicines are expensive and whatever we get in cash from relatives goes directly to buying medicines.

There are many occasions that she misplaced money and she found the lost money a few days later.  Then, as she finds her “cache” of misplaced small money she would kiss me saying: “Forgive me.  I suspected you to have taken the money.”

It is a fact that we are very short on money: my folks do not receive any retirement allocation, allowance, or anything related to health or social aid for elder people over 80 years old. The cost of medication is not reimbursed because they lack adequate health insurance.

In my country, elder people are supposed to die and not live that long at the expense of State generated taxes that elder people paid during their lifetime of labor.

I got into thinking how come I became such a thief.

I never married and thus my folks saved on an extra expensive useless ceremony.  My married sister and brother got their flat free and never paid rent in the last 30 years. I don’t even have a flat.

I attended public university that cost almost nothing in tuition and took buses to university.  Nowadays, kids are requiring brand new cars as soon as they finish high school; they demand performing computer before they graduate from high school; they want to continue their higher education abroad without a grant. Kids want their flat before getting married.

All that I got before graduating from university, as I was growing into adulthood, was two small gifts money per year on Christmas and Palm Sunday.  I managed to spread my yearly expenses based on these gifts money. My pride forbade me to demand weekly allowances, and dad could afford hefty allowances if he wished or if a asked

I am not a demanding person or that’s how I became with practice, and I learned never to contemplate raising my hopes for any luxury tendencies; I toned down dreams for any luxury life style; my hopes were reduced to those of the poorest of the poor, though my folks were well off and could afford to give me many things if I asked.

All that I received was $5,000 in 1975 to continue higher education in the USA.  At that time, the dollar was worth two Lebanese pounds. Currently, our government fixed the exchange rate for 1,500 Lebanese pounds just because our successive government decided to be slave to the US policies at the expense of the prosperity and well being of its citizens.

Since 1975, I didn’t ask for a nickel: there was a civil war raging on and my folks went bankrupt.  I survived 20 years in the US; I paid for my education and my PhD program on minimum wage jobs.  I occasionally purchased second hand cars from my own savings because I could never afford new cars that would have saved me plenty of money, time, and worries.

I survived with my own labor and without any family support for 20 years abroad and when I used to return to Lebanon for a few years. I never inherited a dime.

“You are a thief” mother repeated thrice.  I wish I was: I would have been much smarter learning to kiss asses for better opportunities.

Pride is the liability of the poor person that gets him poorer and poorer with age. Only love of money and learning to spend lavishly can open up better opportunities: acquired archaic moral attitudes must be thrown out the windows to making headway in this savage world.




May 2010

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