Publisher, Rolling Stone
Dear Mr. Wenner,
My name is Keith Pille. I am here to rescue you. Your magazine has become an atrocious ball of doo-doo, and I believe that nothing short of a top-to-bottom overhaul can restore it to its former glory. Please let me know a good time for me to show up at your offices and assume complete editorial control of Rolling Stone. It might be a good idea to tell your staff that whoever has been responsible for the past five years of Britney/Christina cover stories might as well start looking for other work immediately. Everyone else will greatly enhance their chances of surviving the impending purge if they clear their files of materials saying anything positive about Korn or Creed. Dashboard Confessional boosters are on thin ice as well.
My vengeance shall be swift and severe but, in the end, all for the best.
You should find enclosed a copy of my résumé. I look forward to working with you. Please reply at your earliest convenience.
The Gibson Guitar Corporation
To Whom It May Concern,
You make guitars. I play guitars. We have a natural symbiotic relationship, and I feel that it is nothing less than a crime that we have not yet found a way to capitalize on this. Please let me know immediately if you are interested in retaining my services as a guy who sits around and plays guitar. Perhaps we could explore an exclusive contract wherein I would agree to use nothing but Gibson products while sitting around and playing guitar. Or, if you would like to take things a step further, I would gladly license my image for your use if you wished to show me sitting on a couch playing a Gibson while watching syndicated episodes of, say, Seinfeld with the sound turned off. Along the same lines, I would be happy to provide you with laudatory remarks that you could quote in your promotional materials (an example: “The SG Deluxe that Gibson sent me, along with $35,000, was absolutely the nicest guitar I have ever been paid to sit around and play”).
I am told that Gibson has a flexible vacation and benefits package. I would like very much to hear more about this.
Mr. William McManus
Chief, Minneapolis Police Department
Dear Chief McManus,
I am writing to you to offer my services as a driving instructor. I feel that your department would benefit from my expertise, because I possess many skills that your officers seem, as a body, to lack. I am quite confident that we could negotiate a salary and benefits package that would leave both of us feeling satisfied.
There are several areas in which I feel that your officers would profit immeasurably from my instruction. For example, it appears that one gap in your current training program is in the area of the turn signal. I have lived in Minneapolis for six years without once seeing a cop signal before turning. I would be delighted to explain this device to your men and women in blue, beginning with the basic nuts-and-bolts operation of a turn signal and moving on through higher turn-signal theory (why we signal, the erosion of public faith in traffic laws when they are flouted by authority figures, and so on). Other topics I would cover would include creating a “paradigm shift” in police stereotypes by, for example, not flipping on your rollers just so that you can run a red light, or refraining from parking illegally outside of South Minneapolis coffee shops. I feel obliged to point out that this could become a real win-win situation; law enforcement’s big stuff these days, and the sort of improvements that my presence would induce could result in a cushy Homeland Security position for one lucky police chief.
The Fender Guitar Corporation
Dear Fender Guitar Corporation,
As you may or may not have heard, I am currently in negotiations with your rival, Gibson, to enter into an exclusive Sitting Around and Playing Guitar contract. Before sealing the deal, however, I feel it is only fair to offer you a crack at my services.
For a suitable sum of money, I would be willing to use nothing but Fender products while sitting around and playing guitar. (Although I have to be honest with you: I’m not very impressed with any of your acoustic models; we would have to discuss either the construction of a special one just for me, or some kind of arrangement where we took a Martin and covered up the logo with a Fender sticker.) For a more substantial compensation package, I would license my image to you for use, and/or provide you with praise-filled statements that you would be free to quote in your promotional materials (example: “This…er, Fender acoustic sure is one nice acoustic. Easily the equivalent of any high-end Martin”). Please send your bid in a sealed envelope, keeping in mind that Gibson is doing the same and the clock is ticking.
Dear Cable News Network,
I have noticed that CNN has more or less ceased to be a channel that reports the news, becoming instead a constant stream of shows in which people who have no idea what they’re talking about argue about current events. I would be gratified if you would consider giving me such a show. I do a pretty good job of keeping up on current events. (I’ve heard, for example, that shark attacks are way down this year.) And I have immense experience arguing over things about which I know nothing. I realize that in order to maximize conflict, your shows tend toward a format where two adversaries share the billing. I’m not sure if anyone in your current stable would work very well as an adversary for me. For one thing, they all seem to be pretty well matched already, and I would hate to split up any of the successful partnerships. Wolf Blitzer doesn’t seem to be taken yet. Otherwise, I have several telegenic friends with at least as much experience as I have in arguing from a point of complete ignorance.
Keith Pille is a Minneapolis writer whose work has appeared in McSweeney’s.