18 Oct

The first thing that strikes me about this rejection letter is the mysterious lightning bolt bifurcating the first paragraph. What is that?

Also: the editor who drew the zappy line–presumably Laurence Goldstein–has an even sloppier signature than mine. I imagine the editor sitting at his desk with a black pen and a thermos full of coffee, presiding over a fresh batch of stories from the slush pile. By the time he gets to mine, his penmanship has devolved from a beautiful, distinct calligraphy to something resembling the scribblings of a howler monkey on a CNS depressant. Poor Laurence Goldstein probably writes these all day long.

But the piece de resistance of this rejection letter is the cheeky “Sorry!” just above the signature. It reminds me of one of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes. To wit:

I was walking by a dry cleaner at 3AM and it said: “Sorry, we’re closed.” You don’t have to be sorry. It’s 3AM, and you’re a dry cleaner. It would be ridiculous for me to expect you to be open. I’m not gonna walk by at 10AM and say, “Hey, I walked by here at 3, you guys were closed. Someone owes me an apology!”

In other words, you don’t have to be sorry, Laurence Goldstein. I expect rejection. I savor rejection. Rejection fortifies me. If you had accepted my story, well, then, that would be something.


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