notes from a man who spends too much time playing video games

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This is where you stick random tidbits of information about yourself.

A Few Points Shy of the High Score
Tuesday, March 02, 2004  
Whenever an employee is fired or quits at the magazine, he or she is always, for lack of a better term, eulogized in the magazine letters section. It's a long standing tradition here, a tradition that I can proudly say that I myself started.

I remember the first firing here. Happened about a month after I started. It was late in the day, a few minutes to five. Mr. Traverson appeared in the hallway. He quietly walked into Bob Lyle's office and closed the door behind him....

The rest of us gathered outside Bob's office. We knew something was happening. Seconds later we heard a cry of pain. "Noooo!" Bob called out from behind the door. Then he said, "My poor wiiiiiiiife!"

We heard Mr. Traverson say, "Calm down, Bob. Calm down. Pull yourself together, man."

"My poor wife!" Bob shouted again. "My poor wife! Ahhhh!"

I wanted to linger around outside the door--I think we all did--but one of the older editors shooed us away, told us that we should go home, give Bob some peace.

The next day Bob's office was completely cleaned out. Every trace of him was gone. He phoned me that morning at my desk. He sounded like he'd been drinking. I told Bob that I'd always enjoyed working with him, and that I was angry that they'd fired him--two of the biggest, bald-faced lies that I've ever told. Bob wished me luck then hung up the phone.

A few days later I was putting together the letters secton for the magazine when I found myself short on material. The letters, as I've said before, are almost entirely fictional. I began writing a letter to fill the extra space, and before I had a chance to think, I realized that I was writing a letter about Bob.

"I lost my job recently," the letter began. "My wife was really upset that I'd gotten fired, and she wouldn't make me my ham sandwiches (Bob lived on ham sandwiches at the office) and she kicked me out of bed and made me sleep on this yarn rug that our neighbor's dog used to sleep on. I don't know where I'm going to find a new job. Maybe I'll have to go back to selling water filters again (which is actually what Bob used to do before working here). Who knows. At least I have my blues band, the Big Poppa Blues Explosion (Bob actually did have a lousy blues band). And thank Christ for PINK magazine. It helps get me through those long, lonely nights sleeping on that dog rug. Sincerely, B.L., Queens, NY."

All letters in the magazine have titles. The title for this one was MY POOR WIFE DEPT.

The MY POOR WIFE DEPT. letters became a regular feature for several months running. Each month, I'd document the lame, 100-percent fake adventures of Bob Lyle.

Everyone at the office loved it. They roared with laughter when the proofs were passed around. Bob wasn't well-liked around here, so this felt like a bit of welcome revenge for all of us.

Since then I've written letters for nearly all of our departed employees--the pot-smoking girl in Promotions, the man in sales who took 2-3 craps a day and left the Post scattered around the stall, the guy in editorial who took Dale Carnegie courses at night and showed up every day in his JCPenny suits. They all got eulogies in the letters section.

With my own departure now a certainty, I'm guessing the proper thing for me to do, in my final letters section, is to eulogize myself.

Don't think I haven't been working on it.

4:17 PM

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