We Ran EWR as a Corporation
by Lael Ewy, sometime Editor,
When I took up the helm of this organization in 1998, the place was
a shambles. Mop buckets filled with fetid, filthy water were left all
over the office; there was an inch of dust on the bookshelves; and the
backlog of unread submissions was as high as my prize rhododendrons.
So I fired everybody. Even myself.
Then I made everybody re-apply for their jobs.
This was kind of tricky, because I’d just fired myself, so I
had no authority to hire anyone. And hiring myself wouldn’t have
helped because of the Catch-22: I couldn’t hire anyone, not even
myself. So I appointed myself retroactive cofounder with myself, then
refounded the journal, this time with Ms.
Jennifer in order to prevent these problems in the future. Then
I hired myself back.
Then the real work began.
First of all, there was the problem of the buckets. These were drained
and put away, the mops rinsed clean, and the mopping schedule worked
up with the potential new employees: it was to be on a rotating basis,
except for me, of course, since my position of co-re-founder supercedes
my position of employee, thereby exempting me from any and all potential
actual duties, unless I were to take these up voluntarily, for which
I would then have the option of reimbursing myself.
After an announcement of the schedule (some noticed my name was absent
from it) half of the former and now prospective employees pulled their
names from consideration.
So, we hired a Mexican woman to do the floors and take out the trash.
It seemed the most humane thing to do.
After some animated negotiation in broken Spanish (ours, not hers),
and one veiled threat that involved the INS, we got her to do the dusting
too at no extra cost to us.
That was two down, and one to go.
We thought at first that dealing with the submissions would go quickly
once we hired some staff, especially more editors. This proved not to
be the case, as editors, it seems, consider it their sole duty to play
computer solitaire all day instead of actually working (this is, as
we all know, a privilege reserved for editors-in-chief, for they’ve
earned it through all their years of hard work and devotion to the institution).
So we took radical measures and had a meeting.
Assistant to the Co-Associate Editor Gibb M. D. Dickens suggested we
burn all the backlog of submissions in a “Great pagan purification
ritual” and start from scratch with a call for papers. This seemed
reasonable, and was quickly decided upon as the proper course of action.
Dickens was immediately promoted to Senior Assistant to the Co-Associate
Editor, and we all gathered up the backlog and headed out to the parking
lot with our matches and gasoline.
The conflagration was enormous - awe-inspiring, even. We started our
blaze at about 3:00 in the afternoon, but had to flee about 3:20 after
sirens were heard.
It’s not as if we didn’t have it completely under control,
of course, except for the minor incident with Features and Religion
Contributing Editor P.B. Wombat’s
Toyota. But, he told us, it was ok because he had full coverage.
This, however, put us in the awkward position of having to bribe our
Mexican to clean the ashes and melted Toyota parts off the parking lot.
We succeeded only after agreeing to a Christmas bonus equal to but not
exceeding the fee of someone she just called “Mr. Coyote.”
I’m still not sure what all this means, but I’m assured
by Associate Poetry Editor Chloe Rodriguez-Jones that it’s all
on the level.
The Ritual of Purification and its resultant burns, however, have left
us with a slight monetary deficit and a lack of current product to market.
Therefore, we’ve decided to do what all self-respecting companies
do when they’re foundering.
We’re going public.
Shares start at $10.00 each - priced for any pocketbook - and while
past performance isn’t a guarantee of future success, rest assured
that your money will be well taken care of.