Coincidence or Curse?
Because I am quite arrogant, I like to think that I am the center of the universe. Following that theory, it could perhaps be said that I have inherited a curse that is not as disastrous to me as it is to my employers. Or maybe it's just a series of coincidences that God sent me so that I can write something in my journal.
The first mishap was in 1999. It was my fourth year in high school and I was balancing my two hobbies: anime and Magic: The Gathering (a collectible card game or CCG). I was yearning for a local magazine that would tackle my hobbies. My prayers were answered when Philippine Hobbyist was published. It was a publication spearheaded by Titus Zapanta and it featured articles about a lot of hobbies, mine included: CCGs, collectables like Coke bottles, model kits, comics, paintball, etc.... I bought their first issue and was thrilled to find out that they were going to do a feature on Magic: The Gathering for their next issue. Me being the budding writer (and student in dire need of publicity and finances) that I am, I sent them an email containing some not-so-common info about Magic: The Gathering.
They replied and the writer doing the article on the topic thanked me for it. Actually, he was quite impressed and thought I did a thesis paper on it (which I didn't since I was just a high school student at the time). I offered to write an article for them and they gave me an assignment on the Pokemon card game. I did my research and sent them the email.
The second issue came out a few months later and I saw my name in fine print in the article regarding Magic: The Gathering. I didn't mind, thinking that when the third issue comes out, my name will be seen in the byline.
After a few months of waiting, the third issue never came out. Philippine Hobbyist stopped publication and I presume this is because they did not get enough subscribers. I mean when I look at the ads in the magazine, there are a few sponsors and I suspect some of those who sponsored are relatives of the editorial staff. The only other way for the magazine to profit is if there were enough subscribers.
I was disheartened but I still clung to my dream of being a writer. I would later get an email regarding a comic that would feature articles in it. Again, I offered my expertise. I sent them a short article and they liked it. Unfortunately, the comic never went past the pre-production stage. It didn't even see the light of day. It was then that I started joking about the idea that the publications I write for are doomed to fail.
Since I was a person "in dire need" of money, I worked at Comic Alley during the summer of 1999 and 2000. Learned the tricks of the trade, met new people, got my salary. Nothing too spectacular (I'll write the interesting events that did happen as a separate journal entry) occurred.
During the summer of 2001, I badly wanted a job and I promised myself not to work at Comic Alley again. It's not because I have anything against them. It's just that my summers have been getting stagnant, doing the same things all over again. I need something new, something related to my course (Creative Writing).
I asked mom if she could get me a summer job. Philippine Star was unavailable because according to mother, they had printed several errors in the past and wanted to minimize future mistakes. That also meant not hiring new staff. That left Pulp Magazine. The son of mom's close friend was the editor-in-chief of the publication. She offered it to me the year before except I refused, mainly because I didn't really listen to music so I felt inadequate working for a music magazine. Of course the scenario that year was different. I needed a job that paid so I settled for Pulp.
I went through a screening by the manager, Annie Alejo. I passed it and started working the next day. Working at Pulp enlightened me. Apparently, my mom's close friend was the publisher of Pulp Magazine and Philippines Yearbook, in addition to holding a high position in the Philippine Star. It also turned out that I was not just working for Pulp. I was working for Pulp/Philippines Yearbook/MTV Ink. Oh wow. Wacky exploits and the zany events that happened during that summer will be saved for a future journal entry.
Suffice to say, I got to write an article for MTV Ink, got my name printed on the credits of Pulp, and I was "scanner-boy" for Philippines Yearbook. During that time, I learned that the third floor of Virramall got burned. Among the shops that were consumed in the flames was the Comic Alley branch I used to work with. I was laughing at the coincidence, and crying inside at the unfortunate series of events.
Of course one week after quitting the publication, the Pulp/Philippines Yearbook/MTV Ink workplace burned down. It's not as difficult as it sounds considering the office wasn't really an office but the house of the publisher. A good chunk of the architecture was also made out of wood. It was June 9, 2001, I think, when the house caught on fire. It was a Sunday and when the maids told me about it, I thought they were joking. And then mom and dad came home, carrying with them recovered paintings from the burnt house. I started believing.
It's really strange how my last two work places got swallowed up in flames. My "jobs" before that weren't able to release the issue I was supposed to debut in. It's a great anecdote to tell, especially to prospective hirers. They don't know whether to take the story seriously or not.