Jersey the Journalist
By Mike Stevens
A Jersey Shorr Tale
What to write, what to write? That was the question that faced art critic Jersey Shorr, as the blank computer screen staring back at him almost seemed to taunt him. He was looking at a painting, which he couldn't see, but that didn't matter. The ideas swarming through his mind were all about how he could skewer the artist in a unique fashion. As the main art critic for "Art from around the Globe" monthly magazine, he had to critique a painting, of what? His eyesight was non-existent, but he was expected to write something. He was still too proud to use his magnifier in public, but like he had thought before, it really didn't matter what the painting was; he knew now that his job was to entertain the readers with a hopefully-funny rank. But, how many ways could you say something sucked? He gazed forlornly at the vague outline of a rectangle, and sighed. Oh well, he might as well start in and see if an idea came from it.
"The only thing I can think of when I think of the reasons the artist, and I use that term very loosely, painted this bad joke of a painting, is he'd had a cold, and had too much cough syrup with codeine, and then unwisely mixed 27 beers with it; I mean, look at it! It looks like he accidently knocked over one color of paint, was too damn lazy to get a fresh canvas, added several more colors, and then ran the paintbrush back and forth. I only have one question or the artist; what the hell is it supposed to be?"
A few days later, Jersey took one more look at the vague rectangle he had skewered; in reality it was a winter scene of the artist's very favorite place to go, and shrugged. That would have to do. This months' issue had just came out today, and Jersey Shorr was trying to think of ways to fill his days until his next column of ranks was due. He had a whole month, because typing the reviews took him, maybe, 10 minutes apiece. He had to write his column, sure, but that didn't take anywhere near a month. He had to make it look like he was staying busy. He was kicking around some new put-downs, when his phone rang. He made a face, as a phone call might mean he had something else to do, and said sullenly,
"This is Jersey Shorr, how may I help you?"
"Oh, is this the Jersey Shorr who can take a flying fu--"
"Whoa, that kind of language has no place here! Now, if you'd be so kind as to clean it up a lot, what seems to be the trouble?"
"Who do you think you are? An artists puts his heart and soul into a painting, and big Mr. High and Mighty craps all over his dreams, by not only not liking it, but going out of his way to be vicious!"
"Oh, you must be the loser who scribbled like a 2-yr. old trying to use finger paints for the first time. In fact, the 2-year old probably would have better brush control than you!"
"Well, you're the rudest son of a bit--"
"Thanks for calling, and have a nice day!" he shouted into the receiver and slammed the phone down.
A month had gone by, and Jersey Shorr was once again faced with critiquing a painting. He thought it was a picture of some old lady just sitting there, but he was going by what others had said, because of coarse he couldn't see it. Oh boy!
"...the old lady's just sitting there; I mean, you might as well have painted a rock, for that would be about as exciting!"
There, he had finished with another critique, and now he could screw around for a month.
It was the next day, and Jersey Shorr was interrupted from reading the daily racing form from his paper by the ringing phone. Son of a b***h! He picked up the phone and snarled,
"Jersey Shorr, how may I help you?"
"Yes, this is David Rappaport, and I'm calling to tell you that I've got you, you fraud! I submitted a winter scene for you to critique last month, and wasn't happy with your comments, so this month I submitted a copy of 'Whistler's Mother' for you to critique, with my name as the artist, and you not only didn't notice, but your ranked on a masterpiece!"
Oops! "Well, I tell you, I not only noticed, but I've always thought 'Whistler's Mother' was crap too! Why, it looked like a regurgitated... Hello?"
One week later, Jersey was half-heartedly reading his mail, when he opened a letter with no return address, and a white powder fell out and onto his desk. Even though he couldn't see very well, he knew what white powder meant. A sense of dread ran through his mind, anthrax!
Another week had gone by, and the powder had proven to be nothing more than baby powder. He was going through his mail again, and came to a letter from a David Rappaport. I know that name, but from where? He opened it, and read,
"Did that white powder scare you? I hope it did; going to prison will be well worth the thought of you crapping your drawers!"
Now, how in the hell did he know that?