A Real Writer

Pri Diddy hooked me up with a friend who’s looking for content writers in Health and Human Services. Basically, it entails reading long reports and bills and synthesizing information so that the public will understand it. This job is so me that I cannot even. I mean, I’ve worked as a medical assistant, so I don’t have a problem with jargon, and anything I don’t understand about health care is probably an Atul Gawande article somewhere. I have read everything he’s ever written in print, and most of the articles he writes for the New Yorker and Salon. If Dr. Gawande hasn’t written about it, it’s probably not important.

But back to the topic at hand. This is kind of a throwback job for me, because when I was in my early 20s, I was the content editor for UH’s Information Technology News. I am so thankful for that job, because with press credentials, I was able to weasel my way into the law school for a CLE starring……….. wait for it……………………. Helen Thomas. It was a total Wayne’s World, “I’m not worthy” kind of moment. I think I had tears in the corner of my eyes the whole time, because I was sitting 30 feet from the dean of the White House press corps. She was there when Patrick Kennedy died at less than a year old. She was there during Watergate. She nearly beat Sam Donaldson down to get to the phones for UPI on several occasions. It was humbling to a tremendous degree, just to sit in the presence of true greatness.

I am hoping that her greatness will live in me.

When I was living in Portland, Oregon, I worked in a pub called Biddy McGraw’s. My legacy there is secure, because I created their chili recipe. It is still listed as Lanagan’s Pub Chili. #humblebrag Anyway, when I was working there, we had a customer we nicknamed “Bourbon Bill,” because, oneeightythreewell, do the math.

Bill asked me about my writing, loudly and drunkenly where the whole bar could hear. “HOW MUSH HAB YOU MABE AS A WRITER?”

I said, “nothing.”

He took all the change out of his pockets and dumped it into my hands. “There,” he said. “Now you’re a real writer.” I cried like a baby, and told him “I will remember this moment every day of my life.”

And I will. The numbers are skewed on purpose, because the plan is to add a fountain pen. The tattoo artist I’m working with gives me my tattoos for free, because I agreed to promote his ink shop as an extra social media job, especially since what I wanted was so small. One of the other artists said that I was unique because he’d never seen anyone get just a price tattooed on them. I told him it wasn’t a price, and told him the story. As a creative artist type, tears came to his eyes, too.

Because he realized that I was real, too.



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