Monthly Archives: May 2011

Dear People Who Use the Word “Epic”

Dear People Who Use the Word “Epic”,

I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Let’s review.  According to the Oxford World Dictionary, “epic” is defined as:

1 a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation.
[mass noun] the genre of epics:the romances display gentler emotions not found in Greek epic
a long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time:a Hollywood biblical epic
informal an exceptionally long and arduous task or activity:the business of getting hospital treatment soon became an epic
1 relating to or characteristic of an epic or epics:our national epic poem Beowulf
2 heroic or grand in scale or character:his epic journey around the worlda tragedy of epic proportions

So, in order for anything to be accurately described as “epic”, it must first either possess the characteristics of the literary genre of “epic” or have some sort of large and heroic impact.  I feel that, upon realizing this, many of you will need to revise the way you use this word.

For instance: the skateboard jump that your buddy performed: not epic.  The photo of your mom’s cat staring into the toilet: not epic.  The movie The Hangover: not epic.  No matter how good of a time you and your friends have hanging out, the fact remains: not epic.

Obviously there are exceptions.  If your mom’s cat was, in fact, three years into a ten-year journey across the continental United States and was only stopping at the toilet for a refreshing drink, his plight could possibly be described as “epic” (though the photo still isn’t).  And, if you and your friends are having a good time hanging out while battling Poseidon, your time hanging out could be called “epic”.  However, The Hangover is never, ever epic.

I’m glad we had a chance to clarify things on this pressing issue.  I hope you understand the importance of the matter.

Thanks for your time.


Dear Current Employer

Dear Current Employer,

You have on the walls of the breakroom a list of employees who are first aid and CPR certified.  I am appreciative of this list as it allows me and the rest of your employees to locate someone who might be able to revive a person in severe trouble.  I’m sure you are confident that this list is more or less complete.  You are wrong.

You see, I too am both first aid and CPR certified.  I occasionally work for a nanny agency, and it is required that I maintain certification in order to watch children.  However, I would ask that you not jump the gun and put my name on the list.  This may seem a puzzling request, but I assure you: letting others know that I’m certified would not be a wise move.

No, I’m not some sort of CPR ninja who is forced by oath to keep her secrets.  I am also not an overly modest, life-saving machine who rescues multiple people a week with her superb first aid skills.  In fact, the reason I have not offered my services to you or any of my fellow coworkers is far less glamorous: I am simply not confident that I could properly perform CPR on anyone. Ever.

The problem is this: the CPR class I took was a scattered and packed three-hour formality adhered to so I could start my then-assumed posh life as a nanny.  I was definitely more focused on the hopes of higher wages, a relaxed dress code, and flexible hours than I was on learning the ABCs of CPR.  Though I am truly concerned with the health and well-being of those around me, I do not feel this brief overview of techniques was sufficient to teach me to save another person’s life.

Yes, I worked for over an hour attempting to breathe life into a plastic dummy.  I absolutely followed all of the steps that were given to me, and probably could have passed a test on the subject later that day or even the following day.  However, this is the type of information that withers and dies when left to rot away without practice in the corners of the mind.  And, let’s face it: properly breathing into someone else’s mouth to revive them isn’t exactly something most people practice daily.

So, yes, I theoretically know how to perform CPR.  However, I have absolutely no confidence that any of my training will come back to me if someone were to have some sort of traumatic episode.  As a result of my own inadequacy in this area, I choose to politely decline any offered inclusion on the aforementioned list.

I also may begin declining jobs which entail watching children who have a large chance of ceasing to breathe.

Thank you for your time and understanding.  I wish you the best in finding people who have proper training.



Dear Anonymous Credit Card User

Dear Anonymous Credit Card User,

I’d like to congratulate you on your line of credit! However, I do have some rather bad news: you seem to have acquired this credit card by using my identity.

I’m not mad at you; I just find you puzzling. I ordered a credit report this morning and was surprised and perplexed to discover that I had had a valid credit card back in 2007. Now, the account was only open for three days, and it appears that nothing was spent. While this is a relief, it also makes the situation all the more confusing.

Who are you? Why would you open a credit card account for three days? How did you get my information? And, did I forget to ask who are you?

I will be awaiting your reply most eagerly. I am quite interested to know what caused you to act in this way.


Dear Car Owner/Apartment Resider

Dear Car Owner/Apartment Resider,

Your apartment complex is right beyond my backyard, so I feel I can make these allegations with confidence.

Every morning your car alarm goes off. Every. Single. Morning. The only reason for this that my roommate can come up with is that you forget where your car is every day, and therefore set off the panic button in order to find it. If this is indeed the case, I suggest buying a magnetic board, drawing your parking lot on it and placing a fun-shaped magnet of your choosing wherever you’ve parked your car at night.

I’m not entirely convinced that this is the case, however. I’ve come up with some alternative theories as to why this phenomenon occurs every morning, as well as some advice for how to solve your obvious problem.

1.) You’re actually a cloven-hooved creature.

Cloven-hooved creatures don’t have thumbs, so pressing the lock/unlock buttons on your car’s remote might end in you setting off the alarm. And, obviously just using the key isn’t really an option. In fact, I’m assuming you have to start your car by remote as well. My solution for this is to invent some sort of key-holding/key-turning claw that attaches above one of your hooves so you can open your car door manually. You’re clearly a smart cloven-hooved creature, as you have the means to buy a vehicle with an alarm system. Surely you can invent this device as well.

2.) You’re a secret spy sending secret messages to a secret agency.

Perhaps you are in trouble, or you’ve lost your secret spy signal, or your agency just doesn’t believe your messages, but I have to say, hearing the same message every morning is getting a bit tiresome.  You might try mixing it up a bit to get your agency’s attention.  For instance, instead of saying, “Help! I’m trapped and there’s no one here to rescue me! Also, I’m dangling over an octopus tank!” you could instead send out the message, “Free doughnuts to anyone who responds!” or “Who’s up for calamari?” You will probably get a better response that way.

3.) Your dog has ingested your car remote.

I understand this can be a sticky situation, both literally and figuratively.  I also realize that pressing blindly on your dog’s stomach in order to unlock your car every morning will probably result in you pressing the wrong button from time to time (and also possibly cause the occasional dog mauling).  However, I really think you should see either a veterinarian or a car-remote-removing specialist of sorts.  This is not a job for an amateur.

I hope my advice for the preceding situations is well-received.  If any of those situations applies to you, please take advantage of this consultation free of charge.

Also, please stop setting your car alarm off every morning.  It’s really annoying.



Dear Mr. Clark

Dear Mr. Clark,

I am writing to inform you of an unfortunate event.  This event will not involve orphaned children, eye-shaped tattoos or carnivorous leeches.  It will not end in you being chased by a mob of people with pitchforks and torches.  It will most likely not cause you to fall while ice skating, step on a Lego, get a paper cut or contract malaria.  In fact, this event occurred about nine years ago, so it probably won’t affect your day-to-day life in the least.

It all started with Six Flags Over Texas.  Actually, that’s not true at all.  It all started with a boring assignment given to me in boring World History class in the boring tenth grade.  I had to read a boring book about boring Athens and write a boring one-paragraph book report in order to complete the assignment.  In reality, all you really cared about was the book report, so I suppose you won’t be very concerned about what I am about to tell you.

I procrastinated reading A Day in Old Athens.  In fact, I think I only got about thirty pages into the book, which contained at least one hundred more pages. And then I went to Six Flags Over Texas, reasoning that I could read it that night.  I’m pretty sure by the time I made this decision, the paper was due the next day, so I had already procrastinated substantially.  What I’m about to admit really shouldn’t be surprising, all things considered.

Regardless, I do have a confession to make: funnel cakes and Six Flags’ signature Pink Things are both supremely delicious.

Also, I didn’t actually read A Day in Old Athens.

Yes, I turned in the assignment.  Yes, it was written based entirely off of the titles of the chapters of the books and a small amount of text skimming.  Yes, you barely noticed the lack of quality in my work and you gave me a B.  But, I felt guilty for years.

At first, I reasoned that I would read the book sometime that week to make up for the fact that I didn’t read it before writing the assignment.  Then I didn’t do that, but I decided I would read the book at some point.

I’m writing to you today, nine years after the fact, to tell you that I still haven’t read the book.

I’m sorry if this letter disappoints you in any way.  If it helps, I never pretended to read an assigned book again.

Until I got to college and realized my teachers didn’t really care.

But that’s another story.

I hope this letter doesn’t come as too much of a shock.  I’m glad to finally get this off of my chest.

Thank you for your patience as a teacher with a class full of students who hated Greco-Roman history as much as you loved it.



Dear Bees

Dear Bees,

I am typically fond of your species. I love honey for its many uses and health benefits and I simply find your bee societies interesting all around. A friend recently taught me a few things about you, and I was quite enthralled with how neat you are.

It saddens me that you are slowly disappearing from the planet. If you become all-together extinct, Earth will suffer immensely. Flowers will have a hard time being pollinated, I will no longer have honey to sweeten my tea and ~*decades-old spoiler alert*~ Macaulay Culkin will no longer die at the end of My Girl. You are irreplaceable in this world, Bees. I want you to continue to exist.

It is this desire to see you thrive that drives me to warn you that you have made a pretty dumb move. You have currently decided to place a hive in a tree quite literally in the middle of the parking lot of a busy store. You then went on to swarm around one of my coworkers, prompting me to warn my manager that you might be dangerous. I felt bad in doing so, as this means you will certainly be suffocated by insecticide. However the prospect of a human being suffocated by anaphylaxis is a little more traumatizing.

I have some advice for you, Bees: flee the region. Fly elsewhere. Don’t get too attached to that tree in the middle of the parking lot because doing so will mean certain death. Please migrate someplace where people won’t try to kill you by the thousands.

I wish you luck.


Dear Owner of the Car With the “Dog is my copilot” Bumper Sticker

Dear Owner of the Car With the “Dog is my copilot” Bumper Sticker,

I wish to congratulate you on owning such an impressive animal. The fact that your canine friend is able to act as a copilot is incredible.

I do have some concern for the safety of this, however. As you probably know, dogs lack opposable thumbs and are thusly unable to grasp the controls on an airplane. Also, I feel that whatever board regulates copilot certification might be alarmed upon hearing that your copilot is a dog.

I’m sure you have checked into the necessary regulations, but I still have concern for both the safety of you and those in vehicles around you. Please look into this pressing matter.