Does your writing Suck?"

Mrs Muckenfuss used to think so, back in the days when I was studying English As A First Language, but then her standards were high, being as how she was old enough to have actually dated the Vicar of Wakefield. Certainly she would never have forgiven me for splitting the infinitive in the preceding sentence, and she would never have countenanced using "suck" as an intransitive verb.

But that was then, and this is the Web, and the merry pranksters at are apparently soliciting literary contributions to their daily heaping of scorn and abuse. These being a couple of my specialties, I was more than happy to read their submission guidelines, which arrived here recently courtesy of Suck Promotions And Marketing.

"Writing for Suck," says the flyer, "requires a working knowledge of the net and the ability to arrange the standard 26 letters into as many weak puns, scatological gags and knowing japes as possible." The last month's worth of Suck suggests that a passing familiarity with crack, in the pharmaceutical sense, might also be useful.

The solicitation gets slightly more serious after that, particularly when offering Actual Cash®, although one might wonder as to what other incentives might accrue to the first-time Sucker. Polly Esther's phone number is probably not one of them. Just as well; I can get lacerated by the lawn equipment just as quickly, and it will be easier to explain to the bored intake clerk at the HMO.

No way, however, could I ever explain any of this to Mrs Muckenfuss. And perhaps it's just as well. Even if we could rouse her drowsy shade and shove Netscape under her ectoplasmic nose, she'd still never see any point to starting her day with a Spanq, let alone a Suck. Perhaps this is how she survived for those hundred years, knowing she'd be remembered in places like this, even as the rest of us poor players strut and fret our quarter-hour on the stage.

The Vent

7 December 1996

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 Copyright © 1996 by Charles G. Hill