"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for approval, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills -- skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my language alone right now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punctuate you."

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Sometimes my cable/internet provider sends messages to us via our cable box, which can be viewed right on our TV. This probably seems pretty banal to most of you, but in my childhood, TV was so very, very basic that some of today's innovations still seem pretty amazing to me. I remember when he we got our first color television. I was horrified when a black and white movie appearred on one of the three channels then available to us. I began frantically twisting random knobs in an attempt to add color to this abomination.

Later we got the new technology of cable, and I was no longer at the mercy of those paltry three channels. Remote controls existed, but the only people I knew who had one were our next door neighbors from Canada, so I thought they were some sort of exotic technology only available to the foreign-born.

So, being a child of the '60s, and something of a doof besides, I still get kind of excited when I see the little red light on the front of our cable box that indicates we have a message. I grab the remote (no doubt from Canada) and press the necessary sequence of buttons to view the missive.  And I'm usually disappointed because it's just an announcement of some upcoming pay-per-view cage fighting event or information about a channel line-up change.

On at least one occasion the information was personally relevant and actually useful. We had just moved into our apartment, and we were having a lot of First World problems trying to get all our wonderful technology up and running in the new domicile. We had the cable hooked up, but couldn't get any channels. Then a message appeared, informing us that Comcast was experiencing outages and giving an approximate time frame for a solution to the problem. We were relieved to know it wasn't just our own incompetence (of which there was plenty, let me tell you).

Today's message was a little different than most - a job offer. I photographed it because of the unnecessary apostrophe, but I couldn't help wondering about the message itself:  Did they just send one to all subscribers? If each of us who aren't going to attend were to email Mary, her server would probably blow up.

Was this some sort of targeted campaign? Did they analyze our viewing habits (which are 99.9% Mrs. Rimpington's choices - the remote is still an exotic object to me because I so seldom get to handle it) and conclude that someone at our house is unemployed and seeking work? I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that the TV is on all night, and sometimes it gets left on a channel after it starts showing hours of infomercials. It helps Mrs. R sleep (and me not so much). I suppose an unemployed person might stay up all night staring morosely at program-length ads for the P90X exercise program or the Little Giant ladder system.

I'm half-tempted to email Mary and ask her about this, but I think I'll let it remain a mystery.

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