Arthur B. Praised endured many dry decades of little to no reaction on his essays and articles culled from his 40th birthday on. Except for the most perfunctory professional kind—from the dry and dull sources only read by people within his specific industry.
It should also be pointed out that Arthur was a writer in a very specific and competitive field. He wrote consumer reviews, advertising promos, and historical essays for TOP BEVERAGE magazine—a leading publication in the industry which was going on its 70th year.
Deep down Arthur knew his work was different but still the tepid response bothered him-even though he tried to convince himself that THAT was not why he wrote what he did. It was a calling.
Throughout every ebb and flow of his career, Arthur B. Praised knew that he had preserved a flicker of artistic integrity compared to so many of the more lucrative hacks around him who always seemed to garner much more attention.
Arthur didn’t just write practical information for professionals working in the field, his ambitions were much higher than that. In his mind he was a poet and philosopher—who used the generic topics that everyone else failed to see and turned them into vehicles for communicating deeper truths.
Arthur never immersed in Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms that increasingly were being used by beverage companies to communicate and connect with consumers in real time.
Instead, he related better to his writer heroes of the 19th century, William Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. All of whom had major love affairs with their own iconic alcoholic beverage of choice. In fact his favorite literary quote was tied in to this phenomenon: “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Truth be told, Arthur himself labored in obscurity late at night, long after his wife always told him to go to bed, while nursing his own drinks of choice to sooth the agony of writing for him.
Arthur knew he was special of course, and on a different plane than his contemporaries. While most authors wrote the usual fodder of mysteries or espionage novels or summer romance books, he had distinguished himself in a much more complicated and academic field: Quality control staff writer in the Beverage field.
But it had been a long drought that toughened Arthur and made him more resilient to the passing fads of the entertainment world.
But he was 65 now. And things were about to change.
First came his winning second place at the 2015 Beverage Industry Essay Contest” with his “Only in America: Nervous Breakdowns Resulting from Coca-Cola Freestyle touch screen soda fountain freedom,” piece.
Then came the first place prize he achieved on his rhapsodic take on slow fizz tonic drinks in his long form poem: “Slow Jazz Fuzz: Existential Dread Meets Jumbo Ice Trays!”
Suddenly his literary work was being discussed by not only BEVERAGE CONTROL executives around the world but also by hipster teenagers congregating at Starbucks and his words found their way in POETRY publications and literature compilations for college students.
And, while Arthur did experience some moments of ecstatic reverie deep down inside, and had rehearsed this eventual climb to fame in his head, he reacted far different when it was actually bestowed upon him.
Mostly, he just felt divorced from the whole thing and kind of let down. And a tad bit angry. “Where was all this acclaim when he REALLY was writing good stuff and deserved it most?”
And then came his BIG NIGHT for formal accolades. Arthur was flown on a company paid jet flight to Spokane, Washington where he was to receive his big prize.
When it was his time on the agenda, the convention audience was all a buzz as his old supervisor got up at the podium to say these words:
“Arthur B. Prazed work epitomizes the values that he has always stood for: compassion, honesty, courage in the face of impossible co-workers; and a heart for those on the margins of contemporary society. In compact prose, he tells powerful stories that move the heart and get results; he’s not just a knowledgeable scholar on the food and beverage industry, he is a chronicler of the human condition, he’s an advocate for those whose lives he touches.”
After a few more such speeches, the kind usually reserved for heads of state and potential busts to be erected of heroic deceased people, it was time for the man himself to rise up and receive his award.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the place. The entire food and beverage industry was in the palm of Arthur B. Prazed’s hands.
As Arthur gripped the podium and collected himself, the silence appeared, for a few seconds, to be so powerful as to render him ineffectively mute and unable to rise to the occasion.
But instead of being rendered small and nervous, deep down Arthur was summoning up strange, overwhelming waves of conflicting emotions that warred with against each other, as he waited to see which one would win out.
His first words were full of gratitude:
“I want to thank the academy of Food and Beverages and the trade magazine that I have been associated with for so long. Special thanks goes out to my Supervisor who kept on supervising me diligently me lo these many years……….”
Suddenly Arthur’s voice broke off. He was visibly struggling again.
And now, as his head raised, he had what appeared to be a defiant sneer on his continence.
“But beside all that….. What I really want to say is……”What the heck is wrong with you people? I mean what took you so long to notice what I was doing?
If you had half a brain you should have replied back to me when I was emailing you my stories 20 years ago with some of my best material.
Heck, you all act like I’m now so hip and cool because of my writing “Slow Jazz Fuzz: Existential Dread Meets Jumbo Ice Trays!” Why that’s nothing but hack work compared to my earlier stories like “Nobody throws a party for the Trash man anymore!” or “Consumer Packaged Goods—All that Glitters is Not Gold.”
By this point, as you can imagine, the throng of packed Food and Beverage glitterati were all shifting in their seats quite uncomfortably.
This was not how it was scripted to be. Arthur B. Prazed night of accolades had hit a sour note that only threatened to get worse.
He raged on—-‘Where were you people when I was writing my best stuff?”
Around this time, the award show organizers tried to drown him out with CLOSING MUSIC. His supervisor came out and attempted to put his arm around him as a means of redirecting him to the EXIT door.
But Arthur had one more closing shot. “I therefore have decided that I CANNOT, in good conscience, accept this distinguished award.”
With this Arthur dropped the gaudy trophy of a gigantic beverage goblet to the floor.
Within a day he was anonymously back on his computer writing new essays and stories—starting all over again with a clean slate.
His writer’s position resigned and his fame gone, Arthur plotted his next climb to the top again, with fresh dreams of new articles to be as whole heartedly appreciated as he felt they deserved.