Sycophant for Hire

Do you need to be coddled and stroked daily, hourly, minute-ly? Are you a writer, painter, or musician, but not really? Have you worn out your spouse, siblings, and former friends with what you willfully mistook for their interest in reading, listening, or looking at your shit?

Well, this is your lucky day!

Because for a small fee and a variable surcharge, I will shower your fragile ego with the praise it doesn’t, and will likely never, deserve. And you may ask me, “What exactly do you know about literature, or art, or music?” but you won’t like the answer, so don’t ask.

The beauty of my service is that together, we can live in a world of make-believe, where you envision yourself as the rare talent who simply can’t catch a break, and I’ll be right there by your side, cursing and wishing dead the multitudes who refuse to see what you’re paying me to pretend to see.

That friend of a friend of yours whose brother was a grip on that David Fincher film eighteen years ago? Absolutely, that’s the foot in the door you need! Hell, David will be lucky and certainly grateful for your opportunistic persistence.

Or how about that self-deprecating humor piece you wrote that’s just perfect for The New Yorker? There’s no doubt in my mind they’ll one day let go of the intern who sent you that form rejection email. In fact, I’ll guarantee it.

And if your chord changes are sloppy and you should never be heard without autotune, you may be unbearable to every other animal on the planet, but I’m not just any other animal. I’m the fiercely loyal pet trained to sit, smile, clap, and cheer for you no matter what.

Or perhaps you like to paint like a high school freshman! Trees, mountains, and birds in tempera paint applied right out of the bottle onto photocopy paper, with the pencil lines still showing through! I bet Picasso was a high school freshman at some point too.

And when you want to post your work, or better yet, your work-in-progress every step of the way to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, I’ll be right there nodding with a grin frozen to my face.

And then when you think it’s a good idea to send your stuff to people whose contact information you only have because of work, or PTA, or that charity you joined to get their list, you won’t catch me judging your choice to obnoxiously exploit every opportunity.

But don’t answer yet, because for a limited time, I’m offering my Super Supreme Suck-up Services for half-off the regular price (regular price not listed). Not only will I feign excitement for your inflated delusions, but I’ll also laugh at your jokes, compliment your appearance, and remark at that old soul wisdom of yours!

However, if you think you can get what you’re looking for from friends instead, you may be right—for a bit. It’s true they might support your dreams over a casual lunch or when sitting by the pool, and they may applaud your efforts and express a wish for your talent and ambition. But, and trust me here, if you aren’t published, produced, or sold out within the year, they’ll suddenly have a call or a bowel movement they have to make, again, every time you try bringing them up to date.

And remember—with me, there’s no risk of reciprocity. No quid pro quo where in return for my patience I pull out my scrapbook, or my journal that could be a memoir, or a trio of scented soaps you get for free if you buy twenty and sell the other nineteen.

Sidebar: If we can be honest for just a second, your significant other requires some special consideration. They’ve surely contemplated divorce, or worse, when you repeatedly ignored their polite dismissiveness, and then they were forced to grab your shoulders and scream, “That’s enough! You have to stop now! I’m worried you’ve gone crazy!” And yet you persisted in shirking chores, using up evenings and weekends, and imposing staycations, under the guise that it would all pay off big time in the end. I don’t want to see you get hurt.

So, say goodbye to the days when you had to trick people into paying attention to your hobbies disguised as art and a burgeoning career. Your mom and dad aren’t around anymore to hear you whine, “Look, look, watch this, no wait, that wasn’t good, watch this, are you watching? Watch, watch, did you see? Wait, I can do it better, keep watching!”

But I am here, and will always be here, as long as you keep paying me. I’ll drown you in so much encouragement and sugar-sweet affirmation, you’re bound to sour on all of your so-called “real relationships.” And perhaps that’s exactly as it should be, because, let’s face it, the real world sucks.

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