When you set out to write a book, as I did back in 2006, you go through a lot of highs and lows.
You finish a chapter and love it: high.
You reread it and determine it is unequivocally the worst thing you’ve ever read in your life: low. (All writers do this; we’re a neurotic bunch. That’s what makes us so endearing.)
You finish the whole thing and can actually say “I’ve written a book”: high.
You realize you not only have to convince someone to publish it but first have to convince a literary agent to represent you to said publisher: low.
Agents start requesting to see sample chapters based on your query letter: high.
You get rejections that ask if you’ve ever considered actuarial work or anything else as long as it, you know, doesn’t involve writing: low.
And so on.
Normally, these signposts on the path to a life of workdays spent either in the dining room office or at Barnes & Noble sort themselves into the “high” and “low” categories pretty easily. I’ve recently come across one, however, that is decidedly ambiguous:
The Situation’s book.
For those of you who don’t know who The Situation is, congratulations—you’ve clearly found something more purposeful to do with your life than I have. All you need to know is that he’s the star of a reality show on MTV called Jersey Shore, in which this group of exceedingly stereotypical people—I used to think the stereotype was Italian, but it may just be stupidity—get drunk, hook up, and engage in other forms of debauchery.
Anyway, The Situation (which, I have to admit, is a dope nickname) has written a book, and a humor book at that (not a joke). That means he’s my competition.
So what am I up against? The summary on the back of the aptly titled Here’s the Situation starts thusly:
Listen, dawg. You’re probably hitting the gym, doing your tanning, and picking up fresh laundry every day. And maybe you’ve had some success beating up the beat and creeping on chicks in the club. But do you really think your situation is where it needs to be? Be honest with yourself, bro.
Oh, it gets better:
This book here will take your game to a level thought unattainable, given your physical limitations (because we can’t all look like Rambo, pretty much, with our shirts off). We start with GTL—the bedrock of life itself. And then we hit the GTL Remix—the rules for getting your personal grooming did.
I’m confused. And a little bit scared.
I just don’t know what to make of Here’s the Situation. Should I view it as encouragement, as in: “Wow, you don’t have to be … uh … dedicated to the English language to get a book published.” Or is it a downer, as in: “Wow, I have to have my own reality show to get a book published.”
If it’s the latter, I’m in trouble. And it’s too bad. Because if I simply had to be like The Situation, I’d be set. You see, the similarities between us are striking.
Don’t believe me? Allow me to present Exhibit A:
Similarities Between The Situation and Ted Fox
–Both Italian (I’m not 100%, but I have relatives who were Faciones, so I’m cool)
–Both have washboard abs (you can’t prove I don’t … no calling Jenny, either)
–Both have dope nicknames (Bone, what up?)
–Both not suited for Dancing With the Stars (self-explanatory)
–Both been insulted by a guest on Jerry Springer (happened to me when I asked a question at a taping of the show; just guessing it’s happened to The Situation at some point in real life)
Whether Here’s the Situation represents a high or low in my own literary journey doesn’t really matter, I suppose. Either way, I’m going to keep pushing toward that goal of being one of those people whose books make you ask: “Someone got paid for writing this?”
And when that day comes, The Situation and I really will be indistinguishable.