Thank you. Thank you. [Pause]
You know, before we get started, I’d just like to say one thing: The truth is, I’ve been in a pretty dark space recently, and the encouragement and energy you guys are giving off tonight is starting to bring me around. So, thank you for that.
Now, that being said, I’m not suggesting in any way that winning this competition tonight would mean more to me than it would to my fellow contestants, because frankly, there’s just no way of knowing that. But I think what I am saying is, “Judges, my life is in your hands.”
You know, when my good friend and esteemed colleague, Jeff Martin, left me a voicemail earlier this morning asking me to be a part of the “Literary Death Match,” I thought to myself, “I’m gonna to have to google that.”
And then when he called again later in the day, I thought, “Damn, now I feel as though I have to say yes.”
Anyway, I read the press kit, and it said that there were free drinks so I thought, “Eh, what the Hell?”
Anyone who truly knows me knows that I’m a giver [That’s not one of the jokes, but thanks, anyway]. And tonight I’m here to give hope.
You know, people rarely ask me, “Beau, how did you do it? [Pause] How did you manage to take your dream of becoming a writer and will yourself into the hearts and minds of literally dozens of people in such tight geographical proximity to the place in which you live?” [Pause]
Well, I’ll tell ya, it hasn’t been easy.
But the good Lord has blessed me with an innate guidance system, a sort of internal GPS for success, if you will. And as it relates to my writing career, I’m going to share with you tonight the three keys to my success in a little essay I wrote a few hours ago called, “I’m a success and so… too… can you be… as well.”
Wow. [Act like your making notes] Now that I read it aloud it seems like it could be… longer.
Step 1. Be Mildly Talented.
When I was a freshman in college I had a Philosophy teacher that I respected a great deal and he said something to me that has stuck with me lo these great many years. He said: “Beau, there is no market for mediocre art.”
Sadly, I believed him, for I had not yet realized that the world of academia, in which he had so snuggly insulated himself, was lousy with faculty and students alike spouting platitudes of bullshit to whomever would listen. From their pristine, well-appointed snow globes of scholastic solitude, they had the luxury of making a career of studying completely worthless, arcane works, like The Canterbury Tales or Constitutional Law.
But once I grew up, I realized of course that there is most certainly a market for mediocre art. In fact, you might argue that mediocre art is the only art that’s marketable in today’s society. How else might one explain the success of “reality TV stars” or “stay-at-home bloggers?” [Pause] And the primary component of mediocre art is limited talent.
Look, it would be nice to be extremely talented, but who has the time for it? Between work, raising our children, and our crippling addiction to social media, developing talent seems to be a commodity we simply can’t afford. Besides, nobody likes a show-off.
Step 2. Be Attractive
Now, I’m not what Hollywood producers would call a “Pants Dropper.” I don’t have the leading man good looks of say, a Brando, or even the rough and tumble action star visage of a Claude Van-Damme — and I’ll admit, it has kept me from cashing in on a much more lucrative career in film or perhaps as the moderator of one of those Real Housewives season-ending recap specials.
No, my good looks are what those in the entertainment biz call, “non-traditional,” which slots me somewhere above “comedian”, but just slightly below “Food Network Superstar”. And I’m here to tell you — that’s enough.
Remember, the second key to success is not “underwear-moistening” good looks. It’s simply to have the kind of face that people, small children, and domesticated animals can be near without flinching in reflexive horror.
And now we come to step 3, easily the crown jewel in the tiara that is my three-step method for success.
It’s a well-worn trope, but one worth revisiting: If you are unable to follow any of the previous steps I’ve described here tonight — if I can only get you to remember this one thing — it will likely be enough to ensure your success in the future, and that is this:
Step 3. Be A Straight White American Male Born In The Latter Half of the 20th Century
It’s true. It’s true… [Pause]
Rarely in the history of all mankind has it been easier to be successful when you subscribe to this set of criteria. From standardized testing to loan applications, from college entrance exams to action-hero auditions, there is simply nothing that will cement your success quite like being A Straight White American Male Born In The Latter Half of the 20th Century.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: You’re thinking, “Well, yeah, it’d be great to be A Straight White American Male Born In The Latter Half of the 20th Century — but won’t everyone hate me?”
Of course they will! But trust me, you won’t care.
You might be surprised to find how difficult it is to hear the cries of oppression over the newfound clamor of your Straight White American Male Success.
In fact, you know, now that I think about, if you’re a Straight White American Male, you can forget about steps one and two. Being intelligent and good looking is only necessary for women, gays, foreigners, and people of color. Straight White American Males attain success just by showing up.
You know what? Now I’m kinda depressed again.
God, I hope someone else wins this thing…
Thank you and good night.