Aspen is 0.44% Black, so we figured we’d give everyone a chance to meet and greet with a real live black person. As skiers exited the mountain, Agent Dunn shouted, “What’s up everyone, I’m a black person.”
- “You’re not faking it?”
- “We’re from Atlanta. We’re very familiar [with black people].”
- “You’re the first one I’ve seen today.”
- Man: “I’ve met one before.” Agent Dunn: “Keep up the good work!”
by Tom O’Donnell– – – –
Thank you for taking the time to interview me for the junior analyst position at Rawles and Hilt. It was great to meet with you and learn more about the company. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any more questions for me.
Also, I just wanted to say I’m sorry I bit you during the interview.
Obviously, there is no excuse for biting anyone. But I feel the need to explain what I was thinking at the time, in the hope that it might mitigate my disappointing conduct.
The interview was going fine, until you threw me a curveball. “Could you talk about your previous work experience?” you asked. I panicked. It’s clear to me now that I should have just answered honestly (“No, I can’t.”) But instead I shrieked and bit you hard on the collarbone. The instant after I’d done it, I knew I’d messed up. It’s a testament to your professionalism that you were even willing to continue our interview after such a regrettable lack of judgment on my part.
The second time I bit you I think I was just hungry. Full disclosure: I hadn’t had any breakfast that morning (Okay. Full, full disclosure: I’d had a small breakfast.) When your fingers passed near my mouth, they actually did that cartoon desert-island thing where they seemed to morph into sausages.
I think I was still hungry for sausages after the sausages I had eaten right before the interview, so I bit you again. If I’d only stopped and taken a moment to assess the situation, I would have remembered: sausages don’t grow out of human hands. But unfortunately, I didn’t. The sad irony is that my briefcase was full of leftover sausages from breakfast. That’s why my résumé was so greasy.
The third time I bit you, it was supposed to be a joke. In retrospect, I’m not sure it came off that way. I was trying to break the tension created by me biting you and you being all weird about it. It was meant to be playful, like, “Ha ha. I’m biting you again, because I guess I’m ‘The Biting Guy’ now.” But after sinking my teeth into the tender flesh of your calf muscle and holding on for 30 seconds, it started to seem like you weren’t getting it. It’s obvious to me now that I was misinterpreting your screams of pain as screams of pained laughter.
The fourth time I bit you was honestly your fault. If someone who has already bitten you several times is standing on your desk, completely naked and snarling, don’t make any sudden movements! That’s practically a recipe for getting bitten. If this situation ever arises again, play dead. Lie on the ground in a fetal position. Curl your face toward your knees and make sure to protect your vulnerable neck area. This will tend to reduce the level of injury sustained in the event of an attack. Once I’ve realized you are not a threat I will generally show no further interest.
Frankly I think this all goes back to my childhood, when I would constantly bite people for no reason. I also did this as a teenager and an adult.
Regardless, I am extremely sorry for biting you. I hope you can look past this (not to mention my lack of experience with Excel macros) when making a final hiring decision. After all, who hasn’t freaked out and bitten someone during a job interview at some point in their life?
P.S. Please apologize to everyone I bit on my way out of your office.
pre-random walk: holy land. armed to the teeth. hummus & falafel. bombs. boundaries. beards. birth right.
all day // 37 degrees in celsius times 9/5+ 32 is… seven times 9 divided by five carry the one is uhhh f’king hot in fahrenheit. the most awkward moment in joke-telling history: M’s interjection of ‘I’M SO HORNY’ in the midst of his own. our petra guide takes a donkey ride back to the entrance while we sweat out the 40 minute stroll. found: worst job in the world — horse poop sweeper at petra. 40? 14. ONE FOUR. we are your allies; we give you weapons. it is what it is. since you made us late. thx. choiceless choice. what is your jerusalem? free shots, free hookah, free girls. hitching taxi rider. guns & moses. jesus christ…oh hey! trying on five outfits to find one that covers the knees yet maximizes ventilation…hey does amazon have four-hour shipping? two people per ATV? is this travelmba’s rogue operation? the ear-devouring couple couched at the toy club in jerusalem. uncomfortably warm dead sea float. is something burning? J said it is because you are dirty. this israeli kebab appears remarkably similar to your order of meatballs. stray skeletal cats. are you trying to pronounce something in hebrew or snotting /clearing your throat? wakey wakey. here’s the situation you know my motivation given my reputation. a canvas bag of hat and map: the gift that kept on giving (us fits). there’s wifi here? this conversation just ended. finding somewhere, anywhere to sit — be it planter, stray concrete block, window ledge — during the old city tour. airport security imagining a a sonicare toothbrush used to detonate a series of carefully placed iPads in plane cabins. the pat[&]down. would it be too nerdy to start a count off? mcshits and shoddy chinese mall food. who parks a massive bus in a winding mall parking lot? should i bring these chips? but then i have to share. no american rejects an offer of chex mix. < 25 hours of sleep (in beds, i.e. not counting that achieved on transportation or while standing with shades down as our guide spoke / insulted passersby). the couple that joined the holocaust museum tour and answered J’s questions. crying kids, thermostat at freezing plus one, and u cant touch this asymptotes on the plane ride back. lev said good morning?! he must be drunk. holy land. armed to the teeth. hummus & falafel. bombs. boundaries. beards. birth right // all night
below, better than ambien — the soundtrack that lulled me to sleep on every bus ride:
girl talk – triple double
radiohead – reckoner
the national – patterns of fairytales
the xx – intro
the velvet underground – all tomorrow’s parties
i wasted many minutes today on the DYAC site today.
the best part is that “Dadster” exists in someone’s contacts list.
and it was research, okay? support for this slightly more serious, yet still silly nytimes note:
Some readers like to see portraits of authors they admire, study their personal histories or hear them read aloud. I like to know whether an author can spell. Nabokov spelled beautifully. Fitzgerald was crummy at spelling, bedeviled by entry-level traps like “definate.” Bad spellers, of course, can be sublime writers and good spellers punctilious duds. But it’s still intriguing that Fitzgerald, for all his gifts, didn’t perceive the word “finite” in definite, the way good spellers automatically do. Did this oversight color his impression of infinity? Infinaty?
Bad spellers are a breed apart from good ones. A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters — straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast — the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” — tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.
For readers who find humanity in orthographic quirks, these are great times. Book publishers used to struggle mightily to conceal an author’s errors; publishers existed to hide those mistakes, some might say. But lately the vigilance of even the great houses has flagged, and typos are everywhere. Curious readers now get regular glimpses of raw and frank and interesting mistakes that give us access to unedited minds. Lately, in a big new memoir from a fancy imprint, I came across “peddle” for “pedal.” How did it happen?
Editors I spoke to confirmed my guesses. Before digital technology unsettled both the economics and the routines of book publishing, they explained, most publishers employed battalions of full-time copy editors and proofreaders to filter out an author’s mistakes. Now, they are gone.
There is also “pressure to publish more books more quickly than ever,” an editor at a major publishing house explained. Many publishers now skip steps. “In the past, you really readied the book in several discrete stages,” Paul Elie, a senior editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, explained. “Manuscript, galley proofs, revised proofs, blue lines. You marked your changes at each stage, and then the compositor incorporated them and sent you the next stage. Now there are intermediate stages; authors will e-mail in ‘one last correction,’ or we’ll produce intermediate stages of proof — the text is fluid, in motion, and this leads to typos.”
Authors, too, bear some blame for the typo explosion. As Geoff Shandler, the editor in chief of Little, Brown and Company, told me, “Use of the word processor has resulted in a substantial decline in author discipline and attention. Manuscripts are much longer than they were 25 years ago, much more casually assembled, and beyond spell check (and not even then; and of course it will miss typos if the word is a word) it is amazing how little review seems to have occurred before the text is sent to the editor. Seriously, you have no idea how sloppy some of these things are.”
Craig Silverman, a Canadian journalist with a book and a Web site about corrections called “Regret the Error,” expressed chagrin. “We seem to keep removing steps that involve editing and checking and don’t bother to think about how we replace them with something better,” he told me. At the same time, as a connoisseur of errors, he praised the “wonderfully human experience of being wrong.”
The Pollyannaish upside to writerly inattention and cutbacks in publishing, then, is that readers sometimes see more of the human writer, and less buff and polish.
Rushing to publish and overlooking glaring typos may have become part of the new economics of traditional publishing. But on the Web, typos sometimes come with a price. “Spelling mistakes ‘cost millions’ in lost online sales,” said a BBC headline last week. The article cited an analysis of British Web figures that suggested that a single spelling mistake on an e-commerce site can hurt credibility so much that online revenues fall by half.
While the idea that sloppy spelling can sink whole businesses seems far-fetched, even casual bloggers recognize the imperative to spell well online. This is because search engines look for strings of characters in sequence, and if your site has misspellings, Google is less likely to list it at the top of search results. With misspellings, according to the tech site Geekosystem, “You aren’t going to get nearly as many hits as you deserve.” The imperative to spell correctly on the Web, and attract Google attention, means that even the lowliest content farmer will know that it’s i-before-e in “Bieber.”
When I asked around on Twitter for examples of rich typos in books, Lisa Hendrix, a romance writer, directed me to the Library of Congress — a giant archive of errors by our nation’s scribbling millions. I suddenly imagined a new library, made up exclusively of human mistakes. It sounded like a gold mine.
lotions, bomb juices, “I silently name the big one Pat and the even bigger one Down”, shimmy, shimmy shitballs, i’m calling it early: this is the greatest email ever.
unfortunately for you, reader, i’ve been listening to shitballs sand shit tons of the dropkick murphys lately (not surprising, given my ability to time travel at the moment). so because i imagined the entire debacle happening to this beantown soundtrack, i interrupt your reading beat with the songs in my head as suggested below.
From: CL (via MR)
Date: Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Subject: The Female
Taking a cab to O’Hare airport worked surprisingly well this morning. However…
Good thing I got here early!
After waiting in the I-need-some-free-bread-in-the-depression-era length security line, I get to stand in the 3-D xray photobooth of awesomeness and Assume The Position. Fun! Well, a little too fun because the second they are done scanning me an entire security SQUAD descends upon me.
“I’m sorry ma’am but we need to have you step aside here while we call the female manager for your pat down.”
When the special women finally arrive I REALLY have to try not to look gleeful. They are massive. Huge. They must bench press sides of beef back there while they wait for pierced Females with moisturized hands to wander unsuspectingly through security. I silently name the big one Pat and the even bigger one Down.
A member of my security squad (we’ll call him Security Sam) heaps my things into his arms (“DO NOT touch your belongings ma’am”) and we trundle off like baby ducks who have been imprinted on two Texas steers.
The small rooms are made of some kind of industrial plexi and the whole section shakes when Pat throws open the door to Room #1 and performs a surprisingly dainty side stepping maneuver through the tiny entrance. I scooch inside after her and Sam follows, placing my things on a mini metal operating table. At this point Down wedges herself partially into the doorway and stops.
“Shitballs” she mumbles, lifting one arm and shimmying a little.
Can we just take a moment here to review the required official procedure for a full private pat-down? Apparently for The Female security risk there must be two female agents in the room, one to do the actual patting and the other to swab the belongings for more bomb juices. There cannot be a male security official in the room.
At least I am assuming this because Sam wants OUT. But it’s clear that he doesn’t know what to do now since Down seems to be really quite well stuck in the little plexi doorway. Sam hasn’t quite caught on to the fact that she’s immobile though, so he makes an ‘oh no, after YOU’ motion towards the inside of The Room. His gesture is pretty futile though as it has become apparent to everyone that all four of us will NOT fit into a cube of this volume at the same time. Down rearranges some guns or flashlights on her massive security belt and finally rockets herself back out into the world. Sam, mortified and relieved, escapes at high velocity as well.
It takes Down the ENTIRE time that Pat is explaining every little detail of the procedure to noisily smash herself all the way in through the tiny opening.
“…on the sensitive areas I will use the backs of my hands…”
She’s in folks! Procedure time! After all that the pat-down goes quickly and smoothly and I take my things and book it out of there. I made it to my gate just in time and I am now on the Tarmac in Boston. Mission accomplished.
I just hope that Pat and Down are not still stuck in that tiny plexi room.
Pierced, moisturized, and fully searched,
Sent from my iPhone.