Letters, We Get Letters

4 Oct

To: Cherie Berry, an American Republican politician
From: Dr. “Martens” Sarkis Sarkissian

Dear Commissioner of Elevators,

I am writing to complain that Ken Burns is taking up too much space.

Recently, I was visiting the mythical, mystical city of Durham and its gorgeous American Tobacco Campus. The campus serves as headquarters to many well-known and successful high-tech companies (such as “Wizen Up Pointdexter” and “Ding Dong, It’s the Police!”), as well as my local PBS station, WUNC.

I listen to the various PBS programs during the day quite often, and I know for a fact that they broadcast from the historic American Tobacco Campus because right there, during station breaks and before the beginning of every show, they always say: “broadcasting from the historic American Tobacco Campus.” Thus is how I know they are broadcasting from the historic American Tobacco Campus. I would change the tag line to “the iconic American Tobacco Campus,” but that’s neither here nor there. (It’s somewhere, though, and I think it should be found and considered very seriously.)

This past Saturday I was in the elevator in the PBS building looking to “drop off a package” (LOL) for Judy Woodruff when, on the 2nd floor, Ken Burns walked into the elevator and selfishly proceeded to take up almost the entire space.

Needless to say, I felt stifled. I could hardly breathe. It nearly triggered a heart attack. You can imagine how much space a man of his stature can occupy in an elevator. And, mind you, there was no one else in there but me and Ken Burns! What gives? There was plenty of room for him to stand in the left hand corner, just by the buttons and the emergency telephonies.

I think people walking into elevators need to be more considerate of other passengers. We are not all famous song-and-dance men like Ken Burns. We are just regular working stiffs who have to ride in elevators because our back is shot, we have screws in our ankle, and the pig valve sutured into our defective heart 15 years ago is about to expire, in badly need of replacement.

Or, could it be that the elevator was too small? Maybe it wasn’t manufactured up to code. Contractors cut corners, you know. A narrower elevator means a narrower shaft. A narrower shaft allows for a larger corner office for that Fat Cat Boss. Again, this is where you would come in and put your foot down, as the North Carolina Commissioner of Elevators.

But don’t put it down too hard because it might destabilize the car itself, and that may be trouble.

In closing, I have one elevator question that I am sure you can answer based on your years of expertise. If an elevator cable snaps and the car begins to fall quickly, is it possible for the unlucky occupant to wait until it nearly reaches the ground and then, just a millisecond before the crash, to time a quick jump up inside the elevator, thus sparing his life? I mean the timing would have to be exquisite but it could be done with a lot of practice. I realize that may be a question for a physics professor, but perhaps you could take a shot at it. Please respond in writing at the return address provided on the front of the envelope.

Dr. “Martens” Sarkis Sarkissian

To: Eligibility & Enrollment Support Center, State Health Plan
From: Rick Roll, Junior Editorial Assistant to the Senior Editorial Assistant, The N.C. Daily Dozen—Your Cage-Free, Organic Eggs Monthly Revue

Dear Sir, Madam, or Other Identifying Noun,

I have a couple of quick questions about the upcoming open enrollment period for 2021-2022.

First, just to satisfy my curiosity: why is there a 2022 name change in the low and classic options for dental and vision insurance from the “NC Flex Plan” to the “NC Plex Flan”?? Is that a dyslexic typo that was missed by the proofreading department, or is it a culinary euphemism/inside joke type thing in the healthcare field? Just curious.

Second: for the 70/30 health plan members such as me, will there be a tobacco attestation as in the past in order to get the monthly discount?

As you know, having been a State Health Plan member for nearly 16 years, I do not use tobacco products or e-liquids per se. I do, however, smoke my own bacon and ham. It is a hobby I picked up during the COVID-19 lockdown, like many other shut-ins who tried various activities. Whenever I tell people of this new hobby, they always respond with the clever and whimsical: “Now that’s one tuff sumbitch right there!” And they tap my chest with their finger, usually. Excuse my language, but that is what they say. I found that funny the first few dozen times. But I do not find it funny anymore.

So, during the open enrollment period coming up October 11-29, given that I do smoke my own meats, will I have to complete the smoking attestation (thus technically making me a liar on the re-enrollment form) or do I need to find a smoking cessation program in order to get my monthly discount?

I eagerly await your response. And if you should ever need a few pounds of home-smoked bacon or pork products, do not hesitate to contact me at the return address printed on the envelope. You can also page me at (919) 867-5309. Wait until the machine gives a double beep and then enter your phone number. I will call you back right away. Many thanks for your time and advice.

Savagely yours,
Rick Roll

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