Open Letter to The Executives
Dear The Executives,
Recently, a small parcel arrived at my doorstep. Within the parcel, (I’ll make this brief as I’m sure you’re all very busy, planning visions & executing work plans for your organizations.), there was a 3”X5”, 2014 calendar.
The cover page of the calendar read “From your friends at:” Then, printed far off to the right, was a non-profit organization’s corporate logo. I cannot release the name of the organization; for fear that it might black-ball me (What exactly did that term actually mean anyway – “Black Ball”? I assume it has something to do with billiards? The internets told me it meant something far more colorful… (And by the way, it seems like every time I think I know what a well-known term must’ve meant in the past, I’ve been horribly wrong.
Like ‘gift horse in the mouth’ for instance. Believe it or not, the term actually refers to a time when ponies were the preferred animal to practice dentistry on. Those lucky enough to receive a “gift” horse to work on, went on to become high-paid practicing dentists. Those who did not receive a pony, usually had to resort to practicing on large dogs, pigs and the rare monkey. And even then, they could only find work in prisons, cruise ships or Tijuana), from ever again giving bloo- I mean… ever working with them again. For that reason, I’ve one-by-one, painstakingly photoshopp’d their organizational name out of each calendar picture.
I’ll simply refer to them as “Bank of Protein”.
It would be tooting my own horn, raising my own flag, blowing my own nose to share with you how much ‘work’ I’ve done with this organization over the last 30 years. It suffices to say that these people always wanted blood from me… and I willingly gave it to them – And No, it’s not an association founded by all my ex-wives. Let’s just say that if my meetings with them were measured in amounts of liquid, I’d have met with them for a total of 8 or so gallons.
But what this phantom organization’s mission is, is irrelevant to my objective for this paper. It’s a large multi-million dollar, American, corporate-modeled machine that of course, is being run by The Executives. That’s all you need to know about it. Now stop asking or I won’t continue!
That’s all the detail that’s needed to be known as this organization is no different than a gazillion other American organizations of similar size and stature. What they all have in common is that all of them have a common denominator standing stoically in their wheelhouses, ready to take their behemoth ships into the wild open capitalistic waters -and sometimes scurrilous headwinds. This group of older white men and a few token women tossed in for appearances, bravely make decisions about how the organization is run and what kind of coffee will be in the break room (Red Costco barrels of Folger’s or Seattle’s Best?)
I don’t remember what my initial expectation was of the contents of the package. Movie tickets, Yay? Another Togo’s gift cert that I’ll forget about until after it expires? But, when I saw that it was a calendar, I thought, ‘Well now here’s something I can never have enough of.’
Why with only having one on my pc’s OS, one on my phone, one on my ipod, my ipad, my work phone, my work email, my home email, my checkbook, (Yes, I still have one…), my work’s old-fashioned paper calendar that they still distribute to us every year and one calendar even embedded into my refrigerator, I still always look forward to having just one more.
Then I saw the words: “2014 Personalized Calendar”.
Wait a second, they somehow made it personal to Me!? Now this I gotta’ see!
Did they grab pictures that I thought I’d deleted from Facebook, where I was inebriated and ringing in the 2000 new year naked and humping a dolphin-shaped fountain at Sea World? Deer Lord I hope not.
Was it when I had my right foot partially chewed off by a bear in Yosemite, because my hiking partner thought it would be funny to put a Snickers bar in my sock? That actually wouldn’t bother me as I’ve forgiven the bear – just not my hiking buddy. Incidentally, they had to euthanize the bear. It was of great comfort to know that I may have provided its last living meal. What did my foot taste like raw, to a starving Black Bear expecting a Snickers bar?
The point is, I was curious and excited to see what this personalized calendar looked like. I eagerly began flipping the months.
January – A picture of a red ski gondola, photoshopp’d to have my first name on the side. ‘Okay, that’s clever. What’s next?’
February – An overhead of dirt in a garden, with amazingly clean garden utensils at the perimeter. ‘Ummm… okay… that one’s got my name photoshopp’d to look like someone’s arranged my name in planted pink flowers. I’m not sure how I feel about this one but it’s February, my expectations are low’.
March – March kinda’ weirded’ me out. Was it because my name was spelled out in chopped carrots displayed on an old table? Or, was it the fact that the carrots were seconds away from being devoured by beautifully maintained blonde ponies, whom some idiot had left a gate open for, only so they could come and symbolically eat me in pieces?
April – Ah but April made me feel loved again as it was symbolically a jar of honey – cause I’m so sweet. Holy shit! There’s bees winging at me from 2’ O’clock! Like drones high above Pakistan, launching an aerial assault on my sweet honey-soaked terrorist ass, I’ll be a goner’ soon!
May – Nothing says I am someone to admire, like receiving a photoshopp’d arrangement of sea shells in my name. I cried intensely over May as it reminded me of how my Mom’s bathroom always looked. Seriously. She glued seashells to damn near anything that wasn’t a towel or toilet paper. And even those were printed with seashells.
Rest of the Months – I’m withholding all other months because I said I’d make this brief (even though I didn’t actually fulfill that promise, or I wouldn’t have included the sentence I’m writing now). They didn’t make the cut as they were just… well… stupid. Pumpkin pie with – you guessed it – my name on top of it, you all probably smoke what I’m chillzin’ up in here.
But August – That month stood apart from the balance of other months. It’s a beautiful sunset over the ocean and there are seagulls flying over the remnants of an old pier. Centering the orange burning sky, ‘wait… is it?… omg! RTFO! How’d they get those birds to fly in the shape of my name?!’
They must have implanted remote controlling microchips into the brains of all those gulls, so that they could program them all to fly in the shape of “DANNY”! How awesome is that? That had to cost some buckage.
Still, something made me feel odd about seeing my name up in… BIRDS.
It was then that I figured out why I felt so funny inside after leafing through this wonderful 4-color, gifted calendar. It wasn’t the calendar itself that was causing these emotions. It was becoming clear that the twisting of angst within my upper and lower duodenum, was due to knowing that behind the complex process of having an intern or clerical staff person go to a Café Press-like site and enter my name in the field that reads “Enter Subject’s Name Here”, was an Executive that either approved the idea or… Deer Lord… thought of the promotion themselves!
I could vividly imagine how this may have occurred. They were on a flight from Chicago to L.A. and had just finished reading a Sky Mall article on tricks to protect your new ipad from being stolen while in airports. “Never leave your ipad out of sight!” There, in the back of the frequent flyer’s club magazine, where other offers like “The Flex Belt Ab Toner, $199” were all competing for readership, there was an ad that showed the ponies eating “Barbara Simmons”, spelled in chopped carrots. The ad (In fact the entire page, as Executives don’t have time to copy the information or just take the ad) gets ripped out of the magazine and stowed in a briefcase.
Promptly, upon returning to the office the next week, The Executive orders their staff to break ground on the newest of promotional, Thank You gifts. Now, not just anybody got these. I’m the lead Protein Bank representative for my organization. So I’m kinda’ a Somebody there. Regular people didn’t get these calendars. My initial guess was they cost about $3 or $4 each. After extensive internet research, I found the exact style for $3.73 if you bought 500-999 quantity.
I’m sure many of you (Though I highly doubt there are ‘many of you’ reading this), are thinking: “Gee Willickers Danny – can’t you just be thankful for the gift? Yer’ so ungrateful!”
Well, I am and I’m not. I’m grateful that things like this are so affordable now that anybody can buy them if they have the desire to. I’m thankful that Photoshopping has become so easy, a web site can do it.
However if I must be frank, what gives me the heebeegeebees is that somewhere there’s an Executive that works at the Protein Bank, who though that this was a really awesome gift to send their star players. By that thought, I immediately infer that The Executive would most likely LOVE to receive something like this. I found this sweetly disturbing.
I know people like to see their names on credits, lights, bathroom walls, large painted rocks, wooden signs over their porch and license plates. But this… this was something far more whack. Was it the seagulls that sold them on the idea? Were they helplessly kitsch in their own home’s decorations and the ponies drew them in and sealed the deal?
It’s like my Mom’s Christmas presents every year. They were always something that she wanted us to want, rarely things we actually wanted. A marble chess set Mom? Are you truly gone mashugana? When did you ever see any of our family playing chess? Sorry Ma but newsflash: Mexican-Americans generally only play games that involve wagering… or sex.
This Executive wants us A-Teamers to want what they want – which is our own names, made to look like the answer to a crossword puzzle.
All seriousness aside, I would much rather that the “Protein Bank” use “The Money” for this promotion on more valued and treasured purchases. Like, maybe take your staff out to pizza or give them all Starbuck’s cards (with $3.73 as the balance) or, if you really want to impress me, find the bio-scientists that implanted the microchips into those bird’s brains and hire them to program them to fly over Israel, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, so they can beautifully spell out the words:
“Stop Fucking Fighting Already! Share the Land! Be Nice To Each Other God Damnit! And Above All, Forget the Crap That Happened Hundreds…No Thousands of Years Ago and Move Past It!”
Now that… that would be money well spent! (Providing you’re okay with a small number of birds having chips forcibly implanted into their brains, then dying shortly after the event. Peace unfortunately, has its collateral damages).
And without further explanation, here are a few months to quell your curiosity & to hopefully, make your Christian-based, guaranteed by our Constitution, American Holidays just a little brighter!
Merry Christmas, Happy Honda Days & To All Executives, a Good Night!