Categorize Me

March 11, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen –

People are always trying to categorize each other into one group or another.

I hate that.

Take the U.S. Census Bureau for example. The whole three-page form they send you every ten years is mind numbing and intended to herd people into one category or another. Although I will admit, they probably got tired of my answers and marked me down as an “other.”

(Because I kept marking down “other” in the Race section and then wrote “100 yard dash”.)

Take that People Herders.

More recently, I met with a “prospective” publisher for this book because Jill, the world’s greatest literary agent, is also the world’s greatest hockey mom, and she and her husband and family were at a hockey tournament. So with Jill’s encouragement and unfounded faith in me, I went to meet with the prospective publisher.

Shortly after meeting him, he was on his personal electronic leash checking off a number of blocks on some form or another on his Blackberry, he said, “We are looking at potentially publishing your book as something along the lines as Southern humor or maybe since you mention God, something with Christian Bookstores, you know, THAT market.”

(He said “that” like it was some sort of a naughty word or something)

“I am those things you mentioned, Southerner, Christian, but I would like to think I am a lot more than that,” I said.

“Well like what?” the uninterested, prospective publisher asked.

“Let’s see, I am a Life Member of the NRA, retired United States Marine and University of Alabama Alumni . . . you know, we won another National Championship a year ago, right?”

“I don’t follow college football or any kind of football for that matter,” he said.

(This meeting is going to go great, just great, I chanted to myself.)

“Well let’s put this into another perspective, shall we?” I said.

I was just getting started . . .

“Everything today is about acronyms. Am I right, of course I’m right!”

(Buckle your safety belt this is going to be a bumpy ride.)

“So let’s see what we have so far, okay?”

“I am a white, Southern, Christian, heterosexual, male, over the age of fifty, life member of the NRA, retired United States Marine and University of Alabama alumnus, and that means I am a WSCHM+50LMNRAUSMCUAA (RTR), is there a category or a market for that?”

Mr. Totally Uninterested Prospective Publisher looked at me like I just said…..

“Hey how about tugging on my finger!”

There was no stopping me now, I was on a roll.

“Hell, I forgot something. I love my dogs. I am Doc and Sadie’s Daddy, and I own a farm, and I think the International Towing and Recovery Museum, Hall of Fame and Wall of the Fallen in Chattanooga Tennessee has the best coffee cups in the world, and although I have NEVER been to see Rock City, the first thing I do every morning is Remember the Alamo.”

Now I felt like I was filling out a profile for “Disharmony (dot) com.”

I could tell that Mr. Totally Uninterested Prospective Publisher was wondering if I had missed my “medication” that morning. I know that look because I have seen it before.

He said, “I have no idea what you are saying.”

“Well that’s because you are afraid of football. Listen let’s put this all together in an easy to use acronym for your form, what do you say?”

“I am from a VERY large publishing house. Believe me we know what we doing. We publish some VERY famous authors.”

I bet none of those “famous” authors like college football either, the heathens.

It was at that time that I attempted one more time to explain to Mr. Totally Uninterested Prospective Publisher that I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a category.

Then I got the real story.

“We, the publishing house, categorize the prospective author into a category, and then perform a market analysis of that category to determine which direction the publisher should go, in regards to signing the author.”

Translated: The publishing house compiles a bunch of numbers and figures on how much money a prospective author will make for them, before they commit to anything.

This information would have been helpful to know up front before I showed my butt.

I apologized to Mr. Prospective Publisher by explaining I was a slow learner, and that I could provide references to support that claim.

I am not sure if that satisfied his curiosity over what I am sure he perceived as my strange behavior, but I satisfied myself by thinking, “this guy is used to being around eccentric writers. He is probably just happy I kept my pants on and didn’t come to the meeting with a big foam rubber “Number One” finger and a cowboy hat with two beer cans on each side.“

But as we parted company, for what I am sure will be the last time, I couldn’t help but think, what the hell am I?

After just a few minutes I realized I am a proud . . .


Strangely enough, I am comfortable with that category.

And for those of you that think that is weird, just say it to yourself a couple of times. Before you know it, it will just roll off your tongue. And, before you ask, that acronym has gotten me two hits on Disharmony (dot) com within the last hour.

Both hits were from a pair of radical Muslim women. They probably thought that acronym was my last name.

Come to think of it, I am not really sure they were women.

It’s hard to tell what’s going on behind that black hood.



You have another story today on

I hope you all enjoy it….

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