Friday, April 21, 2006

An article from cheered me up on this dreary Friday... that strange and cruel pleasure coming from the knowledge someone else is having a worse day than you!

But thanks for writing

The letter Rep. Jo Ann Emerson sent to one of her constituents read like any other a 20-year-old legislative correspondent might prepare for a member of Congress: Thank you for writing, your concerns are important to me, blah, blah, blah. Then came the kicker: "I think you're an asshole."

As the Associated Press reports, Emerson, a Republican from Missouri, says she has no idea how the insult made its way into her letter to a Centerville, Mo., resident named Bill Jones. "We cannot determine whether the addition to the letter was made by someone within the office or by someone with access to the office, but it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me," Emerson says. "A valuable lesson has been learned, and new procedures will be adopted as a result."

I once worked for a council rewriting their standard payment request letters. Some were so complicated I had to breathe very deeply for some time before trying to work out what it was they were trying so say. Heaven knows what it would have been like to receive one at a trying time. Others were just ridiculous. The words to one - when someone in the family had died still owing money - have been burned in my brain. It went .... "As officials, we are instructed in some circumstances to show sympathy. However, your situation does not warrant it." My only hope was that particular letter never had to be used.

And my writing prompt for today is ... an instruction to show sympathy.

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