Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Letter to a Product Developer

Phillip L. Noren
Product Development Manager, Target
1000 Nicollet Mall
MinneapolisMN 55403-2467

Dear Phil,

Excuse me while I put on my bathing suit, because I’m about to jump in the shark tank. I was in my bed last night, tossing and turning under the tyrannical memories of yesteryear, when the most brilliant product idea came upon me. As product development manager for Target, I know you’ve got both the means and the beans to push this idea to the top. Apologies if you have testicular cancer.

Now let me ask you a question, Phil. What’s the one thing everyone wants to do most with their pet cat? If you said, “Use their warm, sleeping body as a pillow,” then you are correct. Unfortunately, while the average feline chest cage can support up to 5 lbs., the average human head weighs 8 to 12 lbs. This leads to angry cats and clawed eyelids. So what’s the solution?

Introducing the Purr Pillow®! This unregulated, patent-free product starts with a simple cotton bag of rice shaped like a cat. Next, you take the skin of a dead cat and put a zipper on it. Do you see where this is going? Wow, you don’t? Ok, well, you heat the rice bag in the microwave and then zipper it up in the cat fur. Voila! The comfort of cuddling with a warm kitty without the fussy temperament.

Phil, I know you’ve got questions, and I’ve got answers. First of all, we’ll get the dead cats from shelters. If there’s one thing this country has plenty of, it’s dead cats. We’ll sell them in as many styles as there are breeds: calico, black, tabby, Maine Coon…you name it! If it’s dead and the owner signs the consent form, we can turn it into a pillow. Finally, how much does it cost and what’s your cut? I’m willing to give Target 45%, and the price is $9.95 per Purr Pillow® (low prices are key in this economy).

Alright, Phil, you’ve got a hard offer on the table. Think about it! Every cat owner in America will want a Purr Pillow® that looks like their favorite past pet. Plus it’s a really flexible item on your shelves; sell it in the pet aisle, with the bedroom stuff, or inside microwaves as an extra surprise. It’s purr-fect, so write me back pronto and we’ll John Hancock the shit out of some paperwork.

Not kitten around,

The Correspondent

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Letter to Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick

Jack Swarbrick, Esq.
University Vice President and Director of Athletics
University of Notre Dame
C113 Joyce Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Dear Mr. Swarbrick,

Top o’ the morning to you, laddy! It is my infinite pleasure to make your written acquaintance, sir, and may the (unremarkable) wind be at your back as you read this letter. You may not remember this, but we have met before. In fact, we’ve met every fall Saturday these 28 years past as our spirits rose together to cheer on the Fightin’ Irish of the gridiron! So I guess, no, we haven’t actually met. Sorry.

I am writing you today at the behest of my legal counsel, but please, unfurrow your brow! This is a letter of joy and friendship, you see, as the subject is my inevitable death. Regrettably, top men tell me that, as a human, I have but 40-60 more years of life coursing through my veins. As such, I have spent the last few months drafting my end-of-life wishes for my wife to execute, none of which are as vital to me as the fate of my mortal remains.

You see, sir, I am an Ultimate player. It is a rapidly growing sport, even played by a club at Notre Dame. As athletic director I am sure you are already familiar, but if not then simply imagine Frisbee Football. A sport disc is passed around like a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 at an Irish tailgater until the team has scored in the end zone. In my illustrious career I have played at the highest levels of Southwest-Central Ohio, but sadly I have never played on the biggest stage of all: Notre Dame Stadium.

That’s why in my will I have specified that my cremated ashes be poured into the mold of a regulation 175-gram Ultra-Star sport disc. This disc will be emblazoned with my death date and my infamous quote, “To be thought of and made infamous later in life.” Then, instead of a funeral, two teams will take the stadium field at sunset to play a final game of Ultimate with my plasticized body. The first will consist of my favorite teammates of bygone days. The second team will be a bunch of vaguely evil Russian guys. At the end of the game, my friends will light the disc on fire and launch it across the darkening field. Then, just like at the end of Ocean’s 11, they will watch it burn at midfield before walking away one by one. Finally, your groundskeeper will spray the fire with an extinguisher and use a shovel to stamp out any burning grass.

That’s it! This meager request is all I ask of you. A letter from your office granting Notre Dame’s blessing of this dream will be the cherry on top of a living will my lawyer describes as "the most Hobbesian document I've ever read." Will you consider it? Please, I beg of you, sir. Sometimes I think this death wish of mine is the only thing worth living for anymore. . .

Cheerily yours,

 The Correspondent