Pharmaceutical Chainsaws and Angry Young Men


Checking one of the blogs I follow, I noticed the Bad Parenting 101 blog contained a tribute to its writer’s deceased father.  It reminded me of times in my life where I lost loved ones.  Then a broader concept took hold; loss is not confined to death.  As I mentioned in my author interview, I am pretty much out of relatives past my parents’ generation (and that generation is dwindling, as well), and my Portuguese language skills are suffering for it.  Loss can be less life altering, but significant nonetheless.

Combing the files of my previous work I have available to me out here in the middle of nowhere, I found a very old piece of mine.  It is one of my very first sales.

For the life of me, I cannot remember which publication purchased it.  The only detail I remember is the editor required I change a turn of phrase I used.  I was annoyed at first, but as soon as I made the edit, I was thrilled with the result and how it changed the whole tone of the piece.  Or rather, how it maintained the tone.  The replacement phrase was “pharmaceutical chainsaw.”  I thought then and still think today, the phrase is unique.  I do not recall having heard it before or since, so I want to add it to the list of words and phrases I lay claim to inventing.  The two most recent being “wallet vacuums” to describe children, and their chronic conditions of “oblivia.”

I am not terribly thrilled with the story, both on a technical level and the sort of man I was when I wrote it.  Like a lot of my early work, I was a very bitter, angry man fifteen years ago.  I see so many changes for the better I could make to the story.  Putting the story out of its misery and junking it entirely might be the kindest thing to do to it.  However, I resisted the urge and published it in the Pages section the way it was accepted for publication all those many years ago.

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