Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Rejection

Dear Shouts TNY:

Yesterday I received three notes from you, all identical:

"Dear Robert,

We're sorry to say that your piece wasn't right for us. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work.

Best regards
The Shouts Department
The New Yorker" 

Well now I feel better, knowing that you took the time and energy to personally sit down and soothe my wounded psyche.

Couldn't you at least have created a series of different clever responses? After all, you are The New Yorker, this is the Shouts and Murmurs column, allegedly home to some of the finest wit in the nation. Start with a joke, or maybe even a riddle. Or, at a bare minimum you could have placed a smiling emoji at the end of each reply.

And what is this, sending out all these rejections at once? Are you trying to send me a subliminal message? Am I supposed to get the hint buried somewhere deep in this trifecta? I submitted the three pieces over a number of months. What do you do, alphabetical rejections? That is just cruel.

Am I really supposed to believe you are grateful for having been given the opportunity to read my words? If so, you have a funny way of making a person feel appreciated.

The polite response would have been to pick up a phone and call. I left you my number. Ask me what's new, how the family is, do I have any vacations planned. Let me know how much you care about me and that you are terribly saddened that I was not chosen.  That you lost sleep wrestling with this decision. Ask if I am free for dinner next week.

Tell me it came down to whether to accept my work or that of a Nobel Prize winner whose mother called you to beg on behalf of her only son. Lie to me.

I remember, a half century ago, getting multiple college rejection letters on the same day. This was worse.

Did you ever consider giving out trophies for everyone who takes the time and effort to submit to your publication? Something to assure us that we are all winners, that you didn't turn us down, you just ran out of room.

I am shocked that you are still in business given the way you treat those most loyal to you. With friends like you, who needs enemies? 

What would it take for you to print my words? A thousand dollars? A million? A horse's head in your bed? I know a guy.

You know, many others consider me a great talent. I could send you letters of recommendation from some very well regarded people. Very well regarded. Would that help? 

If you really want to show your appreciation, scribble little comments on any piece you turn back. Write things like "this sentence is hilarious" or "I laughed so hard I could barely breathe."

Even better, send me your thoughts in French. It will be an acknowledgement by you of the level of my sophistication.

I am going to end this letter now. My psychiatrist's office just called to remind me my appointment was supposed to start ten minutes ago.

I am sorry if I sound aggrieved. I really think you are the best. And that horse's head you may be receiving is just a joke. 

Very truly yours,
Your best friend Robert (but you can call me Rob)


Anonymous said...

How about a neighbor's recommendation?


Anonymous said...

Dear Robert: In the immortal words of Norman Mailer, "Fug 'em".


Anonymous said...

Well, that’s screwed up.

I once got a very polite letter of rejection from UCLA about a faculty position. What was strange is that I never applied for the job. They just felt it was necessary to let me know gratuitously that I would not be welcome there.


Anonymous said...

Their loss to not have such a distinguished writer in their letter head


Anonymous said...

"We're sorry to say that your piece wasn't right for us. Thank you for allowing us to consider your work."


You should write instead to The New York Times sometime. I hear the editors there have better taste!


NL said...

I don't know what you sent before but this is perfect for Shouts & Murmurs.

Anonymous said...

Love it.


Anonymous said...

Haha funny piece