Last Friday, I got an e-mail from MLB: “You’ve been chosen! Get a magazine, blanket & bonus gifts.” I don’t get chosen for things very often – or so I thought! A review of my e-mail shows that I’ve been chosen by MLB six times in the last 2 or so years. Always, they want to give me my free gifts. They apparently have a glut of blankets and magazines and assume (incorrectly) that I don’t have the same. Just look under my desk and you’ll see the pile of New Yorkers and Harpers I can’t get through, as well as pristine issues of Rolling Stone, thanks to a subscription I never asked for, which I am constantly threatened with losing if I don’t act now. As for blankets, I have retained several generations of these hand-me-downs in bins for when I one day paint the interior walls of my house and need drop cloths. But wait, MLB is offering unspecified “bonus gifts”? How do I not take that deal?
On a recent sunny Thursday, making use of a vacation day and finding myself out in the suburbs on a bicycle, the landscape morphs from village gridlock, to leafy suburbia, to pastoral countryside, all in the town of Wellesley. Horses in a nearby field canter along of their own volition, apparently as pleased by the mid-70 degree sunshine and dry air as my wife and I are. Soon, we come upon the Elm Bank Reservation, where the Massachusetts Horticultural Society claims its home. An investigation of the gardens leads us to a mansion at the far end, which is falling into a state of disrepair, its windows and dormers appearing not to have seen a scraper or paint brush in decades. No sign betrays a hint of the structure’s history or current occupants, not even something vaguely aloof, like “Private Property.” A compact car of some humble make sits out front, decidedly unstately and yet at home before the mansion’s peeling paint and crumbling brickwork. One assumes the interior is no less decrepit. The Massachusetts Horticultural Society's website reveals tidbits more of the property’s history, but doesn’t say if descendants of the Cheney-Baltzell family are to blame for the building’s decay, dressing in ghoulish outfits and haunting the place like so many evil Scooby-Doo characters in order to scare off nearby tradespeople, who might otherwise be hired to give it a proper facelift.
You may be surprised to learn that, as of the posting of this blog entry, this website still has no official vacuum cleaner. Have plenty of companies sent signals about wanting one of their models to have that designation? Maybe. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t yet taken a course in how to read signals from vacuum cleaner manufacturers, who are notorious for using complicated signals that no one can interpret. Another possibility is that my lawyers have set up lots of bizarre hurdles for vacuum cleaner manufacturers to jump through before one of their models can become the official vacuum cleaner of this website, so they don’t even bother to send signals. For example, my lawyers are unwilling to enter agreements with any manufacturer that has the letter E in its name. Why? Because my lawyers are people with a bizarre need to erect outlandish hoops for vacuum cleaner manufacturers to jump through, just to see if they really are committed to being on our team. My lead counsel has pointed out that if, say, Hoover really wanted one of their top-of-the-line models to become our official vacuum cleaner, the firm could remove the E in Hoover and end up with“Hoovr,” which is sounds exactly the same, so what’s the big deal? Meanwhile, I have noted that if you take the two E’s out of “Meile” you get “Mil”. And my lawyers are like, so what?
I've been told by several analysts (indirectly, by reading other people’s letters and saying, hey, that sounds like me!) that each of us is unique and has something deep inside us that separates us from the rest of humanity, like some expertise, or maybe just an annoying quirk. In my case, I believe that I have becoming something of an expert in the making of fish tacos (although some people who would see my reputation ruined have gone on record to say that they’ve eaten my fish tacos, and they’re only so-so). But this isn’t about me; it’s about the basic need for everyone to have access to information about how to make excellent fish tacos. Hence, my idea of founding the “Center of Excellence in the Making of Fish Tacos". Details and logo to follow, once I raise the necessary seed funding.