By: Jeff Herman
In case you don't know me yet, I'm a literary agent and I have ADD. Actually, it's never been diagnosed. Maybe my wife is right, I just don't pay attention. Or, maybe I just don't pay attention to . . .. Let's stop there and get back on point. In general, it's good for a writer to get an agent's focused attention, but sometimes it's not good.
Many years ago I was introduced to a goofy guy from Brooklyn. At the time, his being from Brooklyn made it organically OK for him to be goofy. Whereas if he was from, say New Jersey, his goofiness might have been repugnant. He claimed to be writing some kind of philosophical treatise related to Kaballah. I told him he was welcome to send it to me, and that he should include a note reminding me who he is. He did more than that. I received a small box from Brooklyn covered with weird illustrations that could have been made by extra-terrestrials under the influence of extra ripe Manischevitz Passover Wine. Of course, I had to cease whatever profoundly amazing task I was in the middle of to immediately open this weirdly seductive box. IT HAD MY FULL ATTENTION! I gently cut it open with scissors. What I remember seeing first was the small translucent baggy filled with white powder. The cover note commanded that I "enjoy" myself. Was I hearing a siren and was it getting closer? Was I hearing footsteps approaching my door? Why did I feel so guilty? I didn't do anything except open a box from Brooklyn, filled with white powder. Maybe it was baking soda, or talc powder, or a cremated small white animal.
One day I might reveal what happened next, and even after that. What's germane to this Blahhhg, however, is that I refused to read the enclosed manuscript. I thought it was uncool for him to potentially put me in harm's way. OK, this is an extreme example of how not to get an agent's attention. Correction: how not to get my attention; I can't speak for others. 99% of you wouldn't do something like that. It's like my telling you not to drive backwards on the Long Island Expressway during rush hour. So what? It's a true story.
OK:I flushed whatever it was down the toilet, and flushed a few extra times. For a while afterwards I had my dogs sniff all parcels before opening them. But that proved useless because they only got excited when something edible was enclosed. Yes, people send food to agents to get attention, and therein lies a slurry of other tales for another day.
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