Friday, July 31, 2020

A Letter Changes Everything [88]

I was so much more than a wordsmith. I was an alphabet alchemist; a metaphor magician. I had, of all things, sifted through the English language to put together the most comprehensive instructional manual our institution had ever seen. It'd taken months - nay, seasons! Spring, Summer, and Fall - to bring this piece to fruition. It wasn't so much a project as bringing a baby to term and today was its birthday.

The relief I felt was immeasurable as I made the final approval and prepared the file for general distribution. The check had been cut and all that was left to do was to go to the bank and deposit it. In addition to the metaphor, the end of the project did mean a bonus and a vacation - I'd already scouted out a cottage near a waterfall. It was some old hunting cabin - the woman who owned it was off on a trophy hunt and had recommended it as just the place to get away from spreadsheets and word processors. I could already smell the pine needles.

Before that, however, I had to send the thing to our thousand or so employees. After much deliberation, I figured simpler was better. A simple email for a complex book. A salutation. "After months of work, we would like to present the new instructional manual. I hope this clears things up." A valediction. Send.

I received the first call two minutes later. The man was irate. Before I discovered the source of his discontent, my boss was at my door, a dark cloud obscuring the sun.

What had I fucked up? I had been so careful! A typo in the valediction. One letter to ruin my life.

"I hope this clears things up. Retards."

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