On an episode of Super Fun Night, (and Rebel Wilson is adorable in this–funny and endearing) the Marika character stands in line for hours just to see the woman who played a “superhero” character on television. Marika wants to tell the woman how much her work means to her, how she admires her—she’s even dressed like the “superhero” character. However, when Marika steps up to have her memento signed, the woman is rude to her. Later, Marika sees her alone and tries again to tell her what her work meant—this time, the “superhero” woman is even ruder, and Marika, disillusioned, goes home and packs away all those mementos. The woman Marika thought she would meet was not the kickass superhero, but instead a bitter shitass of an asshole.
And I, too, was that bitter shitass of an asshole. Yeah. Me. Sweet lil ole kickass Kat.
Only a few months after I’d spent weeks by my father’s side, and then still had to bear his (unexpected) death, I traveled to a conference. I was exhausted, still grieving, but thought the time away would be therapeutic—especially since I’d see my good friends there. Most of the eight hour drive was easy enough, until the last hour when, with growing horror, I realized I had a UTI heading my way—folks who have never had one, well you won’t understand how the very thought of this happening at home is bad enough, but on the road? Oh fuck.
By time I arrive where we are to stay, I’m frantic, calling my doctor, calling the pharmacy at home. I finally find the “emergency” kit with a few days worth of antibiotics inside and gobble two down, hoping that’ll get me started, knowing, too, those antibiotics are going to make me ill–didn’t care–I know the chills and pain will soon start and am hoping to head them off. When I pull into where we are to stay—a group of little “bungalows—“ my phone rings. My friend: the “bungalows” are horrible. Nasty. In the midst of renovations so weird that nothing makes a lick of sense. We’d have to find someplace else to stay. During a peak tourist season. Eight hours drive. UTI. Grief. Exhaustion. No rooms. Oh, fuck, redux.
Ended up five of us had to share a small hotel room. Of the four women I’d be sharing with, one I had never met, and that’s where the asshole author comes in. Eight hour drive. UTI. Grief. Exhaustion. Five women in one little room. Fuck, fuck, and fuck.
I was barely holding onto my Assholeyness, when during the panel I was on the next day, the panel moderator introduced me thusly: “And now, former Playboy Playmate model Kat Magendie!” When I tell you the top of my head blew off, it did, for it was bad enough he’d earlier said to me something to this effect, but now on a panel?, in front of other writers and writer-hopefuls? Ka-BOOM! It seems in slow motion now, the way my head turned to him ooooh-soooo-slooowwwly, and it seems the words spewing from my mouth fling and slap him upside his head: “You fucking call me that again and I’m gonna Kick.Your.Fucking.Ass.” Yeah. I said that. On the panel. With wide eyes staring at me from the audience—although I’d like to think most of them thought, “Hey, he deserved it. You go girl.” Lawd.
The logistics of the crowded hotel room I won’t even relay. I will say that the next few days are a blur of me feeling ill, angry, pissy, crowded, annoyed, exhausted, sleepless, and generally hating everyone on the planet and then some.
And in this state is how the woman I’d never met—a woman who’d read my books and was looking forward to meeting the author behind the words—came to know The Asshole Author. (She was also in the audience of that panel that day, too. Yeah. Oops. Huhn. Lawd.)
While we can tell ourselves we must always be on our best behavior. While we tell ourselves that our face out to the world should be one of cheerful appreciation for our readers and always to be professional and courteous and kind, honestly, there are times when we just feel like shit, or bat-shit cray-cray. When we are assholes. When we want to bury our heads under the covers and shout: GO AWAY!
We’re human. We’re fallible.
After the conference was over, and once I was home and rested, I contacted the woman, and without giving up excuses (I hate excuses), I apologized to her for being an asshole. Would it have been better for me to keep a happy face and never let that Ass side of me to show? Yup. But was there any possible way that was going to happen during that time? Nope. Probably not.
Next time you meet an author, actor, singer, artist, why, anyone at all, really—whatever/whomever—and they are the Asshole from Hell, maybe, just maybe, give them a little bit of a break. Maybe, just maybe, they are having a hard time, are exhausted, are feeling stretched too thin, are feeling vulnerable and scared. Have nothing nothing not a danged ole thing left to give.
The words and worlds we authors create, the face we show on social networking, really IS us, but only a part of us. The part we try not to let you see is the fearful, anxiety-ridden, damaged, fallible, child-like innocence that’s been rattled, hopeful, rageful, Asshole, part of us. But oh, it’s there. Yeah. It’s there all right, and if the conditions are just right, you just may have met that Asshole instead of the person you so hoped to meet.
And for that, we give our most sincere apologies. Except for the Real Assholes—they don’t give a flying fuck one way or another.