Sometimes when you write, the words float from your pen like a perfect curve ball on a summer day. You could pitch a perfect game without ever leaving your desk. But even All Stars have a little trouble from time to time getting the ball to the plate, the pen to the page. Don’t let the secret out—not for free, anyway—but there are ways to help yourself out of a jam when the count is high and you don’t really have your stuff.
In view of present-day performance enhancement and past Congressional proceedings concerning America’s Past Time, though, I’ll be sure to keep my stuff source confidential. I’m dreading the day some Government Honcho asks me to tell the truth, not miniscule portions of the truth, so help me Erma:
Honcho: On Monday morning did you intentionally partake of a foreign substance to enhance your writing ability?
Me: Yes, sir.
Honcho: And could you tell us the name of this substance?
Me: It was. . .coffee.
Honcho: I see. Is this coffee the only performance-altering substance that you ingested?
Me: Well, I added sugar. A lot of sugar.
Honcho: What did you hope to accomplish by this act?
Me: I hoped to remember how to turn on the computer and to be able to spell my name correctly.
Honcho: And were these actions made possible when you ingested this substance?
Me: Well, I had to wait a few minutes for the caffeine to take effect and the sugar to shift into gear, but yes. I was even able to find my files and tell the difference between an adjective and an adverb.
Honcho: I see. Was this your first experience with this substance?
Me: No, sir. My Dad drank it every day when I was growing up. My husband drinks it now. He uses a personal-sized drip coffee maker.
Honcho: You have coffee paraphernalia in the house? Did your husband coerce you into using this substance?
Me: (sensing a scapegoat): Well he did bring me a cup and tell me it might help. It looked so warm and rich, I couldn’t resist.
Honcho: Are you willing to supply any more names in connection with this substance?
Me: Well there’s Juan Valdez. . .
Honcho: We’ll make a note. Now, do you use any more substances that enhance your abilities?
Me: Well, there’s a substance writers like to call chair glue.
Honcho: You inhaled glue?
Me: No sir. Chair glue is what writers use to stay in their chair long enough to accomplish their goals. It’s not something anyone else knows is there.
Honcho: So it’s odorless and tasteless?
Me: It’s more a state of mind. It helps you make your dreams come true.
Honcho: So it’s hallucinogenic.
Me: Well, it makes all things seem possible.
Honcho: I see--it’s mind altering. Why do you apply it to your chair?
Me: You don’t really apply it. It sort of comes from within.
Honcho: I see. We’ll list that as an undesirable side effect. Do you feel that these substances advanced your abilities in any way?
Me: Well, I’ve had several essays published.
Honcho: You’re a published writer.
Me: Yes, sir.
Honcho: Well, let me tell you about this novel I’ve been working on. Perhaps you could take a look at it. There’s this one part where the hero just doesn’t have any motivation, and. . .
Me: You might try some of that coffee sir. And the chair glue.
Honcho: Where do you procure these substances?
Me: Well, I can hook you up with some coffee, no problem. As for the other thing, see me after the hearings and I’ll point you toward some websites with good tips.
Honcho: You’re free to go.
Me: Thank you, sir. I’ll meet you at Starbucks in half an hour. The first one's free.