Friday, September 18

I've Never Heard of It, Thus It Does Not Exist

A funny thing happened in one of those long meetings I have to attend every week. This time, they were discussing one of those copies I'd written for a conference. It was something I'd been working on for a long time--a couple of weeks to be exact--and I was pretty excited to present it to the board. The board, meaning the marketing heads, communication tails, and our notorious ring leader, the VP. Now, having a VP in a meeting is already a dreadful thing (I understand), but having OUR VP is a whole different story. A bit of history: this guy is . . . well, you'll find out at the end of this entry.

And so my story continues . . . So there I was, sitting in my chair at the end of the oblong conference table opposite the VP, trying to remain seated and contain myself (I have the tendency to bounce around in my seat when meetings go too long; it's called slight autism and mental retardation) while everyone pretended to peruse the copy with ease. I know these people; they had no idea what I was writing about. But for the sake of securing their day jobs, they had to nod and make smart comments after every line). But that was okay. I didn't mind. After all, a writer must face all kinds of criticism, good and bad.

And then it was the VP's turn to comment on a certain paragraph on the copy. He paused, made a face, paused longer, pursed his lips, stared at the ceiling for a while, and then back at the copy. "Are you a writer?" he asked.

My initial response would be: "Duh, haven't I written for your company for years already? Wasn't I hired as a 'writer'????" Instead, I said, "Yes."

"Then what is this word doing on this line?"

"Which word?"

At this point, all eyes were on the VP and me, moving from side to side like watching a Wimbledon match. "Beneficial. This word does not exist, does it?" my VP said.

Straightaway, my manager interrupted. "Yes it does. Beneficial is a word, and it is appropriately used in that paragraph."

The VP shook his head and frowned. "I've never heard of it. It does not exist. Use another word. Replace it with another word. I can't believe you make up your own word here."

At this, I was speechless. My throat just started to tickle. I had to laugh, but I realized I was in an austere meeting with our VP and must maintain some kind of corporate decorum, which I did with difficulty. It was a challenge. I looked around and noticed that I was the only one with a smirk on my face. Everyone else was as serious as prisoners on death row. So I quickly cleared my throat and said, "Yes, I'll change it to a word that exists."

"Good. Meeting adjourn. Everything else looks good. Gotta tighten the copy a bit next time."

"Aye, aye, sir!" I made my silly salute and winked. But that was, of course, after he left the room.

All I'm saying is, go figure.