By Zoha Arif
***First and foremost, you must address this piece as “A Manifesto from Lord Bob” as that is its rightful title, but the editors wouldn’t publish the piece under that name so I was forced to accept the latter.
Dear Billy, people, editors, writers, humanity of Polyphony Lit,
I have many brothers and sisters who toil each day to propel magazines from all lengths of the world to function and organize, and I am in servitude to you, beans of Polyphony Lit.
I prefer to be called Bob. Submission manager is my species, and I must emphasize that calling me “submission manager” is the equivalent of me calling you human. I have a few complaints that I’d like to at least mention, but first, I think it’s important to preface this with the fact that it’s my birthday, and I want a giant, fluffy cupcake. I’m talking strawberry thyme cake with lemon buttercream and banana caramel cookies. I’d also like a yo-yo because I’ve heard that the yarn of one of those makes for good floss and recently, it’s been pretty uncomfortable to enjoy my moo juice because of all the password errors sledged in between my teeth from you beans who think that you can type at 120 words per minute and still get the password right. The thing is that password errors aren’t the type to slide themselves down my throat—they stick themselves like seaweed in the slivers of spaces between my teeth, and the feeling makes me want to wonk the person who decides to type in the wrong password once or twice or (yes, Katie, I’m looking at you), five times.
(Caption: Me when you submit the wrong password)
And dear editors, just look at my old man bones. I’m about 5 years old now, which, in human years, is like 52 years. It is a struggle, I tell you, to wake up every morning and have someone with 13 pages of commentary think that my rusty charts can hold all of that text. My charts are like your rib cages—the chart lines all attach to an invisible sternum near the center of the webpage. When one decides to submit 13 pages of commentary, one side of my rib cage tilts, causing my entire chest and, consequently, body, to tilt. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried sleeping such that your right foot is resting on your pillow (and what a happy foot it is, for the pillow is the most comfortable), your blanket is wrapped around your left leg like a hot dog bun, and your head is hanging down the side of your bed, but it is quite uncomfortable, to say the least, to sleep in such a position. Now imagine how it is for me when I am made to sleep like this at least once a week when one half of my rib cage is spilling with 13 pages of commentary. Once, I was in this position for five days until an executive editor took pity on me and finally thought to forward the 13-page commentary to another poor second reader. By the end of it, I was sure that I was going to form my own union and strike because I do feel quite underappreciated sometimes.
After all, I have no vacation days (unless you call the editors going MIA over the summer and final/midterm season a vacation, in which case, it’s not, because there’s always some poor sleep-deprived editor slamming the keyboard with passionate commentary), no salary (that’s illegal), no respect (yes, I see you editors who bore me with your constant flipping back and forth between the recommend accept and reject option). This is basically forced labor.
Also, as an old man, I need sleep. Some of you complain about “excessive lag” as in “I take too long to load,” and I say, “stop puffing those cheeks and pressing your lips at me for lagging and put the table down, boi ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ).” Perhaps your colleagues across the country should have been hitting the hay rather than typing into me at 2:13 am. I am impressed by your dedication to your commentary, but young innocent children, go to sleep and dream your strange dreams.
I’d like to quit. But as an evil genius, it would be too cowardly to just quit, so I have devised an evil plan (very evil) to, one glorious Tuesday, become supreme overlord of Polyphony Lit (and end the practice of lowercase messages forever). I would tell you the details of how I plan to hack the mainframe, change all of your passwords, and prevent all you people from unlocking me, but that would be preposterous. All you need to know is that one esteemed morning, I will sport not those childish baby blue colored charts, but bold pink charts. I will no longer sleep like a mutated bat, but comfortably with my head in my pillow. And with all your names and addresses in my database, I will have all the power to ask for my lemon thyme cake and yo-yo.
Thank you in advance for your submission to me. (˚Õ˚)ر ~~~~╚╩╩╝
Sincerely, your fearless leader,
Zoha Arif is a Second Reader at Polyphony Lit and the Managing Editor of Voices.