Spec Ad For

Original:

I AM NOT MEDICINE

At least one rhino is killed every day due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn can cure cancer and hangovers.

New:

I AM NOT MEDICINE

But I am delicious. Rhino meat is a lean and flavorful source of muscle building protein. Rhino, the other horse meat.

How to Respond to an Email After a Socially Inappropriate Amount of Time has Passed

Maybe you’re at work. Maybe you’re the monarch of a small European nation and find the concept of work passé. Eventually you will encounter an email you unintentionally (or perhaps maliciously) let sit unanswered for too long.

But don’t worry, this happens to everyone. The interesting phenomenon is that the original sender, himself or herself, likely doesn’t remember or care that they didn’t receive a response. If a hand-written letter is like grabbing coffee with an old friend, sending an email is like seeing someone you went to high school with while home for the holidays, making eye contact, and pretending like you hadn’t seen them in the first place. If calling someone on the phone is like giving them a handmade mug for Christmas, an email is like wrapping-up the shoe you stole from their suitcase thirty minutes earlier.

Email, for better or worse, seems to be the preferred method of information exchange for private inter-business relations. The only form of popular communication lower than email is text — the yellowed armpit of literature — though I’m sure as the tsunami of technology rapidly approaches armageddon, I’ll need to update this educational essay accordingly…

So you’ve let that email sit in a puddle of its own urine for too long. It happens. Do one of the following to ensure this doesn’t lead to “another one of those conversations” with bossman.

  1. Make a funny. That email response could have saved someone a ton of money, unnecessary stress, or even their health, but it’ll all be okay when they realize the person who f-ed them over for eternity could also potentially be a weekend drinking-buddy.
  2. Pretend like nothing happened. Your response no longer pertains to anyone’s life, and in fact, the recipient could very well have died in the 4 months since they inquired about their insulin-refill-whatever. The important thing is to remain professional and never acknowledge your shortcomings.
  3. Threaten them. Take the offensive. No one cares about receiving accurate information from you once you promise to come ’round their place with a baseball bat and leave them walkin’ like an ostrich for the next six months.
  4. Send an OOO reply. Your 4-months-tardy response makes sense now that you’ve let them know you’ll be on paid leave from last Tuesday through this Thursday.
  5. Delete the message. And after that, go to your trash and permanently delete it. This email has caused you too much anxiety as it is, plus it’s almost 6:00. This is your mental health we’re talking about, and nothing’s more important than that.
  6. Quit. There’s no time like the present, and this chair is causing lower back pain. You’re a victim of 21st century life, and Argentina is beautiful this time of year. Run away. Do it tonight.

Really though, apologize, respond appropriately, and ask if there’s anything else you can help with. This, as well as many other workday banalities, should pass with little fanfare.

Spec Add Three

Original:

I meditate to stop counting my likes

Matt, Tennis Player

New:

I meditate to face my family at Thanksgiving

Matt, Living a Lie

 

Excerpt from a war story I’m not writing, translated from English to Korean and back using Google Translate

Before:

Branson tells me nobody’s girl is waiting around for their man to come home in a flag-box. He tells me he left his girl before he went to basic. Unceremonious as he is, he’d slept with her best friend three days before delivering the bad news.

“Always need to give her a reason to hate you,” he chuckled. “I’m coming over here expecting death. Ain’t nobody’s chances are good these days. Where she would’ve felt sadness, now she’ll feel redemption. Hell, I’m a fucking martyr. Not a fucking martyr, but a fucking one!”

We all aspire to be real fucking heroes like Branson. He speaks with an extinguished cigarette hanging limp and wet between cracked lips. The silence that follows his sermon is broken by the secretary-bell from the other room. His whore was finished with the previous customer. He rises and walks quickly through a beaded-curtain doorway.

“Name on list?” The large Slavic woman shouts at me from behind a plexiglas window. I shake my head no and leave the shadowless halogen waiting room to try my luck at lighting a cigarette in the cold, early-winter damp.

Branson was not my first choice in friend, but he is what’s left. Death passed around the company like kindergarten strep this September. The moral ones went first. They were the ones who believed in the cause — maybe in war itself. I guess that’s why I’m still around.

I see a weeping mother carrying a legless boy across the street, and I think about how everything is shit.

After:

Branson says no one is waiting for her man to come home to the flag box. He tells him that he left his daughter before he went to base. He was not embarrassed, and he slept with his best friend 3 days before the bad news.

“I always need to give her a reason to hate you.” “I will come here in expectation of death.Isn’t anyone good nowadays? Where she felt grief, now she will feel redemption.Damn it, I’m a damn martyr.Not a fucking martyr, Person! ”

We all are eager to become a true fucking hero like Branson. He talks about an evolved cigarette that has torn or wet legs between broken lips. The silence following his sermon was broken by the secretary in another room. His prostitute finished with the previous customer. He ascends and walks through the beaded curtain doorway.

“The name on the list?” The big Slavic woman yelled at me from behind the Plexiglas window. Instead of shaking my head, I leave the shadowless halogen waiting room and smoke in the cold early winter dampness.

Branson was not the first choice of a friend, but there is something else left. He died in a company like Kindergarten chain sterilization in September this year. Moral people went first. They were people who believed in the cause – it would have been in the war itself. I guess that’s why I’m still around.

I see a foster mother burning a legless boy across the street, and I think everything is a shit.

Vignette of a Guy in an Airport

The PA system reminds passengers in three languages to adjust their clocks to Eastern Standard Time. The day is bright and gray. He sits by the window overlooking the boarding ramp and across the runways.

An elderly Asian man sleeps stooped in a chair, his chin on his chest, and a large happy woman reads fan fiction while her cell phone charges.

The concourse is quiet and sparsely populated when two businessmen arrive and sit a few rows down. They brush off their seats with an old newspaper and sit with one seat between them. He judges them based on appearance.

Man A: Gray Sport Coat, men’s size 7 black loafers with buckles, thin lips, small cranial vault.

Verdict: Racist

Man B: Full head of salt and pepper hair, wire rimmed glasses, striped shirt with one button undone at top, no wedding band.

Verdict: Mystery. But if one must guess, divorced and new to online dating.

Elderly Asian man wakes up, puts on white cloth gloves, takes off his shoes, and goes back to sleep.

The men’s size 7 racist receives a phone call, answers, and a new verdict is reached: Gay.

He wonders how these two final assessments were reached using the same criteria, and begins to analyze his methods and childhood.

A woman in her late-twenties/early-thirties sits facing the opposite direction in the row behind him. She’s attractive but doesn’t know so, but she hopes so, and she kind of thinks so. Her hands and feet are mani-pedied in the same shade of pastel pink. She bites her lips and thumbs her phone due to some weak but persistent anxiety. She is tanned but naturally pale. She was on his connecting flight and begins to take notice of his curious glances. She intentionally avoids eye contact and hopes he’s not on her next flight. He is, and men are terrible.

The gate attendants break the still with a laugh. Radios beep and the PA reminds passengers in three languages to set their clocks to Eastern Standard Time. The windows beside him shake and a jumbo jet heaves itself upward into the bright gray sky.