Whenever I have a bad day, I try to remember my cousin Rupert.
In addition to being nerdy, desperately lonely, and in high school, he has parents who felt it appropriate to name him Rupert.
I will not reveal his middle name, except to say it starts with a ‘T’ and ends with an ‘iberius.’
Parents can be cruel idiots. Just like the jocks who beat Rupert up. A lot.
And it isn’t just the jocks whaling on him.
(Girls are cruel too, and holy crap, they fight dirty.)
Six months ago, things for Rupert took a turn for the worst. The star quarterback on the school’s football team convinced a bunch of linebackers that it would be a big boost to school spirit if they threw Rupert into the stadium during a game.
Rupert landed on his head. He was in a coma for a week.
When he woke up, Rupert had undergone a complete transformation.
Of his accent.
He went from his slightly nasally, West Coast dialect to having the accent of a man doing a presentable impression of Benedict Cumberbatch.
This did little for his health and well-being around the jocks who weren’t awaiting trial for felony assault and battery. Those footballers still at liberty had it in for him the moment the team’s best players were suspended and brought up on charges.
The accent was just a gift as far as they were concerned.
And who can blame them? First name Rupert, ponce British accent – even I felt an overwhelming urge to shove my fist into his gob-hole when I visited him at the hospital.
On the other hand, the accent has made him very popular with the ladies.
Which is a pity, since he’s gay.
I have to wonder what kind of impotent force in the Universe would take a young man, ensure his life involves beatings, humiliations, and hospitalizations, and then repays him for these indignities by making him irresistible to the gender he has absolutely no interest in.
I was thinking about this today as I surveyed my lawn and quietly wept.
I mowed it this morning. I hate mowing, as I’ve mentioned here before. But after mowing it, with the sun beating down, I spent forty-five minutes creeping up and down the length of the lawn, on hands and knees, carrying a large plastic bag and dumping every single dog turd I came across into that bag.
I don’t do this very often. The bag was very heavy when I was done.
I wanted to make the lawn safe for my kids to play on.
The same kids who, a few days earlier, had knocked a bunch of loquats out of the loquat tree with a broom.
Loquats the dog ate as I was cleaning up all the turds.
The dog that got the runs because he ate so many loquats.
And back to the kids who chased the dog with the runs because of the loquats up and down, back and forth across the lawn.
After I cleaned up all the turds.
A pointless, demeaning exercise in futility that makes me want to shove a gun in my mouth and spray my brains all over that damned dog.
This is exactly how I feel every time I try to use Smashwords to publish one of my books.
I’d been hoping to make an announcement here for about a month and a half about a free book, but in order to make it free on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I have to publish it through Smashwords and wait for it to go through the Premium Distribution channel.
Twice now, I’ve been told my cover’s aspect ratio is unacceptable.
It takes about three weeks for Smashwords to figure out there’s a problem with the aspect ratio. This in itself is very frustrating.
The cover must be a vertical rectangle with a height > (width +100).
My cover was 2580 pixels high and 2416 pixels wide. As an engineer, I took this to mean I met the requirements. I actually plugged the values into the formula, and 2580 is greater than (2416+100).
At least using real math. I don’t know what kind of math Smashwords uses.
Perhaps they employ a form of non-Euclidean geometry…
So imagine my surprise when, three weeks later, I got the same error.
I guess my mistake was thinking ‘high’ was equivalent to ‘height.’ Boy, is my face red.
I’ve cleaned the gun. I’ve got the dog chained to a post within what I calculate will be the spray zone. Now I just have to wait another three weeks to see what additional nonsense Smashwords will sprew at me to trigger the suicidal final gesture.
I have to admit to a certain amount of curiosity. I’m hoping for some new form of obscene illogic, rather than the same old same old.
But mostly I just want to mail all my lawn scrapings to Smashwords’ corporate office.
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