It is discouraging, if you are a member of the Nation of the Undiscovered, to find ANYTHING AT ALL resembling your work under somebody else's name. The name of this blog, for instance, a slogan of mine since 2003 or so, was very nearly independently stumbled upon by Tom Tomorrow on his (vastly more read) blog earlier this month. I like Tom Tomorrow very much. It would have pained me no end to wish that he meet his end at the hands and teeth of a pack of rabid, chainsaw wielding raccoons (don't let the washing thing fool you-- they fight dirty because they are dirty)-- but wish it I would, because , dammit, Faster than the Sped of satire is MINE, and you can have it when you can pry it from my cold dead career. Wait a minute, no, you can't have it, not then, not ever.
One of the things that keeps me pumping out all of this black gold, this Texas tea, is not swimming pools and movie stars, but a kind of wanna-be starlet's belief that success is just around the corner. Someday, I will walk into some lousy coffee house, and the performers will be all abuzz. What's happening, I will ask. Flo Ziegfeld is in the audience, they'll say, looking for a star for his new revue, here to find the leggiest comic mind with the pearliest smile, and I will open my notebook confidently, and drape myself in its sexy-makingest little number, and blow Flo away with my wit and crack timing and something that may even be called wisdom, and ride off to fame and fortune in his Pierce-Arrow touring car while my contemporaries rend their garments in that mixture of joy and despair so particular to the aspirants of show bidness.
Notice first, how this fantasy unfolds in some out of the way Mustache Pete, and not in any well-known venue (no triumph at the Palladium for me, that's too easy. Any man-Jack can get discovered at the Palladium). Note second how I go with Florenz Ziegfeld instead of, say, Simon Cowell, which by itself probably explains why I am not headlining the Palladium. Which by the way is closed for two years worth of renovations. But i'm getting ahead of myself again.
What I'm saying is, it is difficult to keep up an empire when these latecomers keep planting their flags in territory I've already claimed for myself. Their fame indemnifies them against any charge of plagiarism, and while I could mount a defense, complete with documentation, I would come over like Lenny Bruce reading his court transcripts, without ever coming over (as far as the general public is concerned) like Lenny Bruce not reading his court transcripts. The thought of being the Elisha Gray of the satiric American community has very little attraction.
But wait, why settle for being like unto the man who almost patented the telephone? Dammit, maybe I'm the Leonardo daVinci of this here age. Maybe hundreds of years from now, people will be decoding the impenetrable scrawl in MY notebooks, realizing that here was a meditation on race done with paint swatches that was YEARS ahead of The Daily Show's, and that somehow I, Nosmo King, had drawn skeletal diagrams of jokes uniting quantum hydrodynamics, Britney Spears (some things will never go out of style) and the male glans (ditto) IN WAYS THAT WERE STUPEFYINGLY AHEAD OF THEIR TIME EXCLAMATION POINT TIMES THREE. I mean, if you're going to dream of failure, then dream big. And if you're going to fail, fail big. It's probably time to start mailing stuff out to agents and publishers, instead of in self-addressed stamped envelopes. What happens to me is probably not so much plagiarism as eminent domain. Even if I get a stack of rejection letters as long as my sad-sackiest face, my notebooks could still be like those of daVinci. Who, it should be pointed out, never finished most of his projects either. The comparison holds, or will once I've finished this portrait of my friend Mona. Lady, I don't know what that ***t-eating grin means, but I like it.