I’m an organic writer; I don’t edit on the first pass. Not a bit. Not even if I’ve got a run of two, three or four sentence fragments. Or a string of double negatives. Not that I don’t pay attention to those later. And that doesn’t mean I don’t adore analyzing language and syntax.
Though I haven’t been editing my work lately, Providence provides. Each week brings a blessed writing sample to my inbox.
Last Tuesday I received this wonderful letter. Please be assured that I haven’t altered a single word or punctuation element; I wouldn’t dare . . .
I am Timothy F. Geithner. The Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States.”
Do you see what I mean? What’s not to love about this? First the personal greeting. And just in case I didn’t know who Mr. Geithner was, he spelled it out for me. Even if he hadn’t shown such kindness, I’d read through an entire paragraph of sentence fragments just to see what comes next.
“However, by virtue of my position as Secretary of the Treasury, I have irrevocably instructed the Federal Reserve Bank to approve your fund release via issuance of a CERTIFIED cheque drawn on Standard Chartered Bank california, USA, which is the authourized bank for your fund release.”
Wow. Such big official-sounding words. This must be real, right?
But waitaminiute. What’s that “However” there for? And cheque and california and authourized? Typos and rotten punctuation? Something isn’t right here. Could this letter be a fake? Does not the government want to bestow upon me my due?
“However, as a former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York . . .”
Hold on! Another however? What is this? Doesn’t the man know he had me at “Timothy F. Geithner?”
“ . . . and being a versatile banker of repute with about 25 years experience in the financial sector, I wish to state categorically that a CERTIFIED cheque of $6,500,000.00 USD drawn on the Standard Chartered Bank will be issued and sent to you via the US Postal Service at no cost to you.“
Well, that’s a relief. I can deal with as many howevers and categoricallys as he wants to throw at me as long as he’s sending that kind of dough. And even though I don’t understand why he keeps trying to convince me about his credentials and why he’s not sure how long he was in the financial sector and he insists on spelling check a la Britannia . . . I’ll still go along for the ride.
“Every and all cost associated with the delivery of the cheque has been pre-paid by the U.S. Government.”
Gosh, that’s generous.
“The only cost associated with your fund release is the cost of processing a ‘Fund Clearance Certificate’, which is estimated to the value of $150.00 USD.”
Um, Houston? We seem to have a breakdown here. I’m not quite following . . . perhaps if I read further, I’ll understand how there could be no cost to me but there’s still a cost.
“The ‘Fund Clearance Certificate’ is required in accordance with the U.S. Monetary Policy; and it is the ONLY expenses you will incurr before the cheque will be sent to your mailing address . . .”
O, dashed hope! O, cruel fate! Timothy, how could you?
Alas, I am not destined to a life of bonbons and caviar. For no matter how much I try to pretend it isn’t so, there is a cost to me and, dear friend.
I. Pari Noskin, writer. Of Murderati. And the esteemed writing publisher such as the University of New Mexico Presses.
Question of the day:
What’s the best spam you’ve received? If you can provide an example of the literary masterpiece, that’d be even better. However NO links, please. I’ll delete them immediately.