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December 08, 2010

Peeing In The Orange Juice Glass

Peeing In The Orange Juice Glass

A friend dropped by my place the other night...and wanted to share a short story manuscript he had just completed.  I felt complimented that he would ask, and said: "OK, I'll try not to pee in the orange juice glass."

Most of us have a family member, colleague or friend who ALWAYS has to have the credit and the  last word. 

On the work site, we learn to give the boss credit for successes and to assume blame for failures. And to let the boss take ownership for the best ideas. (They usually do, anyway!)


Graphic artists intentionally make minor design mistakes or omissions so a client will catch them and feel an important partner in the creative process. 

 I   worked as a journalist and writer for years ā€“ and then in management ā€“  and tried to stay mindful of how good copy, a good idea, a good project or a good employee -- can be spoiled  by Alpha dog behavior of an enthusiastic supervisor.

   For example: writers of all sort  are a rather bilious lot, "full of envy, fear and self loathing" --  and  notoriously negative about ANY  blue edit marks, commonly referred to as "tweaks, " by  a book or copy editor.  

The old story goes like this:

 'A writer is left on a deserted island with his editor.  

The writer is starving.  

All that is left is a glass of orange juice.  

Days pass.

The writer is near death.  

He is about to drink the juice when the editor grabs the glass from his hand and pees into it.  

 The writer looks at him, stunned. 

 "There," the editor says, handing back the glass, "It just needed a little tweaking."  

Iā€™m not sure how all this hangs together.

Maybe, simply that there's  a difference between tweaking and peeing in the glass -- in most of our relationships; whether on the job, with the wife, teenage daughter/son, or friend.

And sometimes the best advice is no advice.  And no tweaking.

Or, maybe I just need a good copy editor for this blogsite.

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