Hornets made a nest in my car.
Called in sick.
Nothing short of a delicate haiku can express how royally ticked off I am right now. The accompanying rage comic (aptly named) is just icing on the cake.
* * *
Dressed for work.
Hornets made a nest in my car.
Called in sick.
Here's one for all you word mavens out there: bowdlerize. It's when you substitute an offensive expression for a family-friendly one. And I'll do better than just use it in a sentence, professor. I'll demonstrate its meaning in a poorly drawn comic strip about gender double standards.
The comic strip below got me an A- in English vocabulary, a B+ in sociology, a D in art, and a visit to the dean's office.
I most deserved the grade in art.
College education for the win!
Since opening our doors, we've culled through plenty of letters from job-seekers here at the Syndicate. Usually we forward them on to our Human Resources Department, which happens to share office space with our paper shredding vendor. On an unrelated point, we've not had any job candidate interviews since we relocated our HR department, but that's likely an unrelated point.
Some letters never make it out our door. Out of the reams of paper that cross our desks each day, we keep a select few in our main office. These get copied and circulated, posted up in break rooms and on cafeteria refrigerators us to laugh at.
If you're starting to think we're insensitive for making light of others' joblessness, we ask you to hold your judgment for a moment. You should keep in mind two things: (1) the authors of these letters wrote us inquiring about staff writer positions, and (2) these people write letters as well as we draw, and that's saying plenty.
We've reproduced one such job seeker's letter below. Line by line, we'll parse what it says to get at what it really means to say.
Dear Sir or Madam:
Right off the bat, this candidate gets it wrong because he doesn't know whether we're men or women. We'll forgive him (or her) this and move on, as there's still a chance to net an "A" for effort.
My objective is to secure a rewarding position at your company.
By which is meant: "Hey, hiring manager, you're so dumb that I have to tell you why I'm writing you, as if sending you my résumé weren't enough of a giveaway."
I am a very hardworking, dedicated, and motivated man. Just ask any of my references. I'm accomplished and results-driven.
Ah, so our candidate is male, as if that would influence our hiring decision any. The rest of this phrase means: "I have no skills applicable to your business but am desperate enough to cold call you on the off-chance you'll write back." And that bit about being accomplished and results-driven means he would punt his own mother in the teeth if enough money were offered.
As a team player, I work best in a collaborative environment.
That's a loaded statement. Saying you're a team player is shorthand for: "I don't know how to do anything, so I pass everything off to other people." And knowing how to work in a collaborative environment means he's good at blaming others for his failures while taking credit for their achievements.
In light of these, he does appear to have management potential.
I strive for challenging work.
"Please hire me, I'll do anything."
While I'm best suited for the senior supervisory analyst job, I'm also available for any other positions.
What the hell is a senior supervisory analyst? We're not sure there's such a position in our corporate structure. That aside, the sentence above parses out to: "While I would prefer the job that pays the most, I really am that hard-up for cash that I'll mop your floors if you let me."
Current market bellwethers indicate a clear paradigm shift in the global economy...
"I have no idea what I'm saying, so here are some big words."
...and I am uniquely positioned to leverage my individual attributes to our mutual benefit.
"I went to college. Hire me."
My primary motivator is the sense of satisfaction I get after a job well done.
Such a lie. Our accountants would go into ecstatic fits if everyone who worked here were paid in personal satisfaction and not money. Banks would sure have a hard time cashing those checks, but that's beside the point.
I invite you to briefly peruse my two-page resume. You will see that because of the fact that my accomplishments speak for themselves, I would make for a fine addition to your team.
Ugh. So many errors per square inch of page that someone ought to develop a specialized unit of measurement to track them. Something like:
Dunce Coefficient = (Errors / Surface Area of a Page) x Number of Pages
First, he uses the word "peruse" in a sense contrary to what the word means. To peruse means to perform an in-depth analysis of something. If we understand him correctly, he'd invite us to take a cursory yet thorough review of his materials? Unfortunately, his "invitation" did not come with an RSVP section where we could decline with regrets.
And his resume is two pages long -- that's twice as long as it needs to be, unless the three letters after his name are Ph.D.
Something else bears mentioning: "...because of the fact that my accomplishments..." We'd love to call this candidate in for an interview just to ask, "So, which of your accomplishments is because of the fiction?"
I would be happy to supply references upon your request.
Earlier in the letter he stressed how all his references would vouch for him, and yet he doesn't have the decency to identify those references for us. We understand discretion is the better part of valor, especially when your job references are CIA agents or international spies. Chances are his references are his parents, so why the secrecy?
That letter was painful. Our bosses sent us home with hazard pay after reading it. Thankfully, our nausea had passed in a few hours and we were back to work the following morning. To this day, the letter hangs on an office whiteboard. We use it to haze new employees.
We did eventually call this candidate in for an interview. It lasted all of three minutes. Check out the comic strip below to see how it went.
Some people lament giving up on pursuing their dream jobs. I don't. In fact, I'm glad I did. I was just barely out of kindergarten when I'd decided on my dream job. Here's how it happened.
1981. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg team up to make a film about a world-traveling, whip-snapping, fedora-wearing archaeologist.
1988. Yours truly, at seven years old, watches the aforesaid film for the first time on television. It, and its oft-maligned sequel instantly become my favorite movies.
1989. The intrepid archaeologist returns to the big screen to save his kidnapped father, and both team up to foil a nefarious plot.
I was among those lucky to catch the third film's theater premiere. As I watched the titular character's daring exploits on the big screen, my life plans cemented as quickly as they had formed, at the tender age of eight years old. My purpose in life was to become an archaeologist. I was so certain of this that one of my recurring nightmares at the time was of my adult self (decked out in a leather jacket and fedora, no less) falling prey to an ancient booby trap while plundering the contents of an Egyptian pyramid. It was scary because I knew it could happen, and probably would happen frequently, over the course of my treasure-hunting career.
Knowing that it would take many years of instruction and lots of money, I begged my parents for a hat. The whip and revolver could come later, I figured, once I was old enough to drive. For my purposes as an enterprising eight-year-old, a length of rope and cap-gun sufficed.
Throughout high school I clung to my childhood dream of looting the treasures of antiquity. Imagine how utterly my plans got turned upside down on learning that there were laws against just this sort of behavior. Things only got worse when I found out that most archaeologists spent their lives unearthing buried pottery shards with toothbrushes.
"Impossible!" I shouted, storming out of the Archaeology 101 lecture with my fists upraised. My handwritten notes whirled at my heels in the breeze of my passing.
Sadly, all that I had heard was true, but abandoning my childhood dream was among the best decisions I've ever made. A close second would be pursuing a degree in liberal arts, because, you know, those types make loads of money.
We call that sarcasm, kids. They don't teach you to use it as well as we do in any school. No, it's something you pick up after you've run through miles of irony.
Empirical studies have proven that with proper discipline, most fairly intelligent primates and even some children can be taught to behave.
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as time-out. Whenever I acted out of line, my parents smacked me in the jaw with a sandal, a ladle, or whatever else was at hand. Depending on what theories you adhere to, I turned out all right because of, or in spite of, timely application of corporal discipline.
After getting smacked enough times (I'm a slow learner), two truths dawned on me: (1) getting smacked in the mouth really hurts, and (2) behavior that results in my getting smacked in the mouth should be avoided.
Eventually, it came to be that force was no longer necessary, because the threat of getting smacked was enough. I'd get "The Look," that halting stare that my mother would level at me whenever I drew dangerously close to trying her patience.
This one's for you, mom.
The Atlantic is wet. If that's not enough of a surprise, then rage comics (see example) don't pass for fine art. Watch your step on that sarcasm, it's hidden in there, somewhere.
We know we're overthinking this, but just humor us a moment.
It goes without saying that rage comics are poorly drawn. Anyone can glean that from a cursory glance, and we don't dispute that. The point we'd like to make is that they are perfectly drawn.
That last line may have some of you scratching your heads, others of you readying to throw a brick through your computer monitors. We accept this. If you haven't already cracked your monitors, read on to see what we mean.
There is a difference between poorly rendered and perfectly rendered drawings. To say something is poorly rendered is to speak in terms of degrees, such as when discussing how true to life the drawing is to the subject. However, if the ultimate aim of art is to evoke sentiment, even the best-rendered (by these criteria) drawings can be flat and lifeless. You can only look at so many hyperrealistic still-lifes of fruit on a table before they cease to hold meaning.
For the purposes of our discussion, we propose that a drawing may be said to be perfectly rendered if its sole purpose and effect is to evoke a discrete sentiment or concept. A rage comic fits this description. The characters in these comics are not characters, per se. They do not have personalities that carry over or grow from comic to comic, as each comic typically is self-contained. The characters have no names other than the sentiment they represent. Indeed, each face is but a shorthand symbol for the sentiment it triggers. They are nothing more than what they make us feel, from the eponymous rage to quiet resignation.
That said, we posit that rage comics can be likened to visual poetry. We know that's one hell of a stretch, but regardless it serves our purposes. Likening these comics to poorly drawn poetry makes them doubly appropriate for inclusion here, because, as our motto dictates, you either get good writing or bad drawings or poetry.
Rage comics give you both of the latter.
From time to time, we here at Darkwater Syndicate will share with you the rage comics we draw up. And while a picture is worth a thousand words, we wouldn't want you to feel shortchanged, so we'll be sure to provide amusing stories to go along with our bad drawings.