My Little Publishing Company decided to sneak into the Random Penguin Corporate Christmas Party so I was there when the big announcement was made: Everyone, schleppers included, was to get a $5,000 bonus to celebrate the publishing house's hugely profitable year.
As reported by the New York Times blogger Leslie Kaufman, the cheering went on for minutes. It's true. The crowd when crazy. Throwing their little plastic apple cider glasses into the air, they were so excited they couldn't finish their onion dip and Frito hors d'oeurves.
I turned to a few revelers standing next to me and said:
"You know, 35 million copies of 50 Shades of Grey were sold. Just figuring modestly at $15 a copy that's 525 million smackeroos that were raked in. So $5,000 is not a whole heck of a lot of money. Especially considering there's going to be another huge round of firings before the bonuses are handed out."
Their mouths fell open revealing unswallowed remnants of Fritos and onion dip. They were so upset they ripped their mistletoe party favors out of their lapels and threw them on the floor.
"That's not fair," they cried in unison.
"It is what it is. It's the new wave of publishing," I said.
"What are we going to do?"
"We've spent our whole lives in publishing."
"We love books. We don't know anything else."
"Don't despair. I've started my own little publishing company. It's called My Little Publishing Company. (MyLittlePubCo.com) And if everything goes as planned, I'll be hiring soon."
Before I knew it resumes were flying at me like... like the swallows back to Sorrento. O.K, not like that. But still, they showed a lot of interest in my new company.
In another part of the room. I noticed there was a long line of employees waiting to sit on Santa's lap. I suddenly recognized who Santa was. Oh my God! It was Herr Thomas Rabe, the CEO of Bertelsmann, the German conglomerate that glommed onto Random House who in turn glommed onto Penguin which is how we got Random Penguin or Penguin House and also where the word conglomerate came from.
I couldn't resist. I got in line to sit on Santa's lap. The following is our verbatim conversation:
Santa/TR: So my little strudel puss vot do you vant for Christmas?
LU: I've got everything I ever wanted, Santa. I have my own little publishing company. It's called My Little Publishing Company.
Santa/TR: Dots nice. Maybe I vill eat your company up like a bowl of spaetzel.
LU: Not so fast Santa or rather, Herr Rabe. I plan to stay small and independent. I will publish quality books by talented unknown authors. I'll pay them generous advances and resist takeovers at all costs. And Herr Rabe, mark my words, one day I will bring you and your rapacious conglomerate to your knees.
Santa/TR: Oh, you are quite the Falschirmjajergewehr. Vot is your name, schnookie?
LU: Linda Urbach.
Santa/TR: Dots a German name, yes?
LU: Actually, it's Jewish.
Santa/TR: Gett hoff of me! Someone get this Hanukakopf out of here! She's trying to sabotage our Christmas party!
As I was escorted out I experienced feelings of the true spirit Christmas. I even began singing: Jingle books, Jingle books...