Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Open Letters: The Taylor Swift Conundrum

There has been an upswing in “open letters” online, and I think it’s become a problem.

Wikipedia, the all knowing, all seeing, online dictionary of everything, defines open letter as “a letter that is intended to be read by a wide audience, or a letter intended for an individual, but that is nonetheless widely distributed intentionally.” While it seems like a fairly accurate statement, I’d like to modify it a little to set it more in line with what we’re talking about today. Glossing over letters addressed to a wide audience (you mean a blog?), I’d say that an open letter on the Internet addressed to an individual is “the most passive aggressive way of communicating your ideas to said individual. It’s one step below tweeting your beefs, and a far cry from a coffee shop intervention.”

In fact it’s so passive, there is a chance that the person it’s addressed to won’t even see it, and that sounds like a waste of time to me. But maybe that’s what it’s about; talking at the person in a public setting so that everyone can see how awesome you are. Though unlike Twitter, you aren’t really expecting an answer.

Researching the topic extensively, I came upon a letter from Sinead O’Conner to Miley Cyrus. In it, she basically tells Miley that she is waiting on the tracks for her own train wreck(ing ball), and that is something I think we can all agree with, but it just seems like maybe the wrong way to go about it. To me, if you really had the person’s best interests at heart, you would find a way to close that open letter and put it in the mailbox.

The only time an open letter is warranted is if you’re attacking someone’s idiotic beliefs and you want to be super condescending and sarcastic:

Dear Dick (Cheney),
I’m really happy that you’re such a staunch supporter of the 2nd amendment. Obviously there is no other way to interpret it than the ability to own whatever form of firepower we want without restriction. I also notice that you support guns in schools, and I think that maybe we should take it a step further and arm the children, since it’s clear that we all just have to start looking after ourselves. Oh, really good job shooting your friend inthe face, btw. That shot was one in a million. If you’re ever in the area, I’d love to take some pointers from a professional marksman like yourself.

Anyway, so here is the conundrum that I’ve been thinking about. In this conundrum, I will refer to this person as my friend, but we all know that I’m talking about myself, however I would just feel more comfortable talking about this as if it were someone else. So, my friend has recently found himself kind of sort of enjoying Taylor Swift’s song “Shake it Off”. It’s catchy, she has a pretty good voice, etc. . . But what would happen if my friend wanted to write her a letter telling her that he appreciated her talents.

Obviously, he can’t write an open letter because that’s bizarre, so he has to stick to snail mail, and even then I would also argue that it is impossible for a grown-ass man to write any sort of letter to any sort of celebrity, telling them he appreciates their talents without sounding like an absolute crazy person. By putting pen to paper, my friend has crossed a line. I’m not sure where that line is, but I feel like it lies somewhere in between awkwardly funny and creepy, but probably closer to creepy.

I’ve been running it over in my head and I can’t even get past the first line.

You write, “Hey, I know this is weird, but. . .“ – They read, “Hey, I am insane.”
You write, “I swear I’m not crazy, but. . .“ – They read, “I am crazy”
You write, “I hope this letter finds you well. . .“ – They read, “I hope this letter finds you in a dumpster”.
You write, “Dear Celebrity. . .” – They read, “Dear future skin suit”.

My answer to my friend would be that maybe he just doesn’t write it and goes on appreciating it in secret.

Also, as I’m looking over this post, I’m not only noticing that I technically have written an open letter, but I’ve also kind of addressed it to Taylor Swift. . . so there’s that I guess.

In summary. Open letters are dumb. Knock it off.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Eye Contact at the OR Show: Less Common Than a High School Diploma at a Nickelback Concert

Pull out your flannel and trim your beard pubes, It’s time for the thirdª greatest show on earth. Yes, the Winter OR show; A magical STD-filled event, where everyone tries really hard and no one really cares.

For those that don’t know what the OR show is, just stop reading because, like, ug. . . you just don’t get it.

Just kidding. But seriously, stop.

For those that are already in the know, let’s recap.

The OR show is a gathering of tens of people trying to create successful businesses, and tens of thousands of people trying to create successful tinder profiles. Sprinkled in are a few confused individuals who accidentally set up their booth at the wrong convention and even a few more that are probably just lost. Regardless of why anyone is there, one thing is certain; Nobody will be making any attempt at eye contact during any conversation.

This is a huge pet peeve of mine, one that not only am I insanely annoyed by, but one that I’m also guilty of.

Here’s the scenario:

You run into Brohbrah McFlannelstien over near the leather goods. He’s creeping from behind the homemade running sandals at the women over in the GoPro booth and you accidentally get caught in the cross pervs. You haven’t seen him since the summer show and you seriously rack your brain, trying to remember where you first met him but to no avail.

So what do you do, ignore him? Hell no. You want to be seen talking to as many people as possible, so you get in there and you do your bi-yearly dick measuring, making a point to forget everything he’s saying, while scanning the surrounding area for people that you know, hoping that they see you talking to someone.

The guys that are really good at this have trained their eyes to look straight at you, while their brain is processing everything in their peripherals. It looks as if they’re really interested in what you’re saying, but 9 times out of 10, they’re just looking at boobs.

Now, despite having zero interest in actually doing any of this, here are some ideas that might be able to help you focus on all the compelling conversations you are about to have.
  1. Adderall – despite being a prescription drug, I’m sure that 90% of the people working at Jimmy Johns have at least a couple days worth of Adderall, so next time you see one of them track-standing at a stoplight, don’t be afraid to compliment him on his balance and ask him for some.
  2. Cocaine – I had to google this one, because I’m about as illicit as Whoopee Goldburg in Sister Act I (not II), but according to the Thought Catalog, you can just do cocaine and it’ll help you focus. I’m not actually sure if the article says that. I read the title, started reading the first paragraph, then got distracted writing this incredibly cliché joke about having no attention span.
  3. Penis – Upon meeting, quickly draw a penis in between the eyes of the person you’re talking at. This isn’t so much a cure as it is a cover. Yes, you won’t be able to look away, but your conversation will also probably not venture far from the fact that you just drew a penis on their forehead. It’s a catch 22.
  4. Glasses –You could just wear those glasses that have a picture of your eyes open (make sure to not get the ones that are on the slinky’s), This is also not a solution, but at least they wouldn’t see you looking around like a kid in a candy store. *side note* I had initially written “looking around like a pedophile in a Chuck E. Cheese’s”, but thought it was less relevant, since nobody goes to Chuck E. Cheese’s.
  5. GAS – Short for Giving A Shit. This is by far the hardest of all the ideas, and I would say that the majority of readers (6/10) won’t be able to do this. The problem with GAS is that it has to be genuine, and that pretty much goes against everything that the OR show stands for.

So, unless you have a lazy eye, don't expect people to stick around when they notice you're more interested in what free item they're giving away at the barefoot running booth.

I don’t know why it really bothers me that much. Uhhhh, maybe because It's rude. 

ª The first obviously being Barnum and Bailey’s and the second being any Def Leppard show taking place at a county fair.