Holden Caulfield Applies for an HR Position, by Dan Morey

catcherGreg Roman
Integrated Software
48 Detmire Road
White Plains, NY 10601

Dear Mr. Roman,

I’m writing to apply for the goddam HR Manager position you advertised in the New York Times. I’ve enclosed my résumé and three references from real hot-shots.The opportunity in your ad is very interesting and all. You wouldn’t believe how enthusiastic I am about it. You really wouldn’t. My brother D.B. says I’m a born HR man, and he’s a terrific judge of character. At least he used to be before he moved out to Hollywood and started writing all those rotten movies. D.B. is really just a prostitute now.

Anyway, I guess my experience and education make me a pretty big deal. The keys to my success in human resources are:

  • Being a people person. People are certainly wonderful and all.
  • Being able to spot a phony. Do you want a bunch of goddam phonies working at your company? I’ll weed the bastards out.
  • Being good at writing and communicating stuff. I passed English every term and wrote a very descriptive essay about my brother Allie’s baseball mitt. (Enclosed)
  • Being able to manage conflicts without socking anyone. I try not to fight too much. I mean it. It’s not that I’m yellow—though I am a little yellow—but more that I’m a pacifist and all.
  • Being sexy as hell, when I’m in the mood.



Ask the Existentially Troubled Housekeeping Expert, by Luke Burns

cleanIt feels like no matter how hard I work, I just can’t get the dining room to stay clean. Do you have any strategies that might help me stay on top of the mess?

—A.I., Oswego, NY

It sounds like your real struggle is not with the breadcrumbs on the floor, or the jelly stuck to the tablecloth, but with entropy itself! Your messy dining area is just one sign of the inexorable decay that will only end with the heat death of the universe. Here’s a hint: Try to avoid realizing that in the grand scheme of things, all struggles are pointless — especially your attempts to keep the breakfast nook clean!

I live in an apartment with four roommates and none of them do their fair share of the cleaning. What can I do?

—J.W., Marblehead, MA

It can be tough to keep an apartment clean when you have lots of roommates, particularly because human beings are fundamentally incapable of overcoming their inherent selfishness to work together! (I like to call it the tragedy of the common room, ha-ha.) Put up a sign to remind your roommates that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep things tidy. Give this a shot: “Pick up after yourself! Your mother doesn’t live here and I can no longer tolerate the Weltschmerz I feel when I see empty bags of potato chips left on the coffee table.”

The toilet is, of course, a symbol of the mechanisms we use to repress that which we cannot bear to face. Inevitably, the things that we try so hard to ignore — to push away — return. What I’m trying to say is that my toilet keeps getting clogged up real bad. Is there anything I can do myself, or do I need to bite the bullet and call a plumber? READ MORE


The Summer Caretaker at the Overlook Hotel Asks for a Raise, by David Guzman

overlookI first want to say what a pleasure it is to be back as the summer caretaker for the Overlook Hotel. The grand architecture, its beautiful location in the Colorado mountains, the pleasant staff and clientele; it’s truly an honor to work here.

I must be upfront, though, and tell you I’m here to ask for a raise. There are a few factors that come into play. As I understand it, the winter caretaker position pays just as much as the summer position. And that’s just not fair, since the job of summer caretaker requires much more work than that of winter caretaker. In addition, our winter caretakers tend to murder their families and kill themselves halfway through the winters. So this year, I’d like to ask for a raise in pay in addition to the typical cost of living increase.

I’ve been willing to put up with this discrepancy for nearly a decade. I guess I thought that surely it would be noticed that my job entails many more duties, and that the winter caretakers kill their families every year. On my watch I’ve got the maintenance of 310 rooms, a grand ballroom, a hedge-maze in constant need of upkeep, and much more — it’s an 80 hours-a-week job. Meanwhile, the winter job is basically a few hours a week running the boiler and monitoring the hotel grounds. Important work, yes, but not too demanding. Also, there’s this thing that happens where the winter caretakers are driven mad and they slaughter their loved ones before taking their own lives. Clearly the two jobs deserve different pay grades.

And with all due respect, sir, I think you’ve neglected to recognize that once the winter caretaker has killed himself and his family, none of his work gets done for the rest of the winter. Indeed, the winter caretaker does not have many duties, but when those few duties aren’t attended to, they add up. That means I have to fix snow damaged areas, repair down electrical wires, and supervise a crime scene decontamination crew. Only then can I turn my attention to my summer responsibilities. And, might I add, during none of this do I contemplate murder of any kind. READ MORE


A Commercial for Floral Essentials Shampoo, Based on the Bestselling Dystopian YA Novel, by Mike Cabellon

hairI used to think that raising my three boys was a handful. They would keep me on my toes all day, so I didn't always have time to worry about my hair care products. That's why I trusted Floral Essentials shampoo to help me relax and unwind after a long day.

And thanks to new Transcendence Full Body Volumizing Shampoo from Floral Essentials, I'll never wash my hair the same way again.

When I used Transcendence for the first time, I was transported to a world of almonds and honey.

A world with long-lasting, healthy shine.

A world of strong, revitalized roots.

A world with a deep, dark secret.

It's been seven years since that fateful day. Seven years since my last shower. Seven years since I was actually, literally transported away from my beautiful, suburban Arizona home to a world overrun by anthropomorphic almonds and rivers of toxic honey.

I immediately sought shelter, and quickly found other women who were also transported here by Transcendence Full Body Volumizing Shampoo from Floral Essentials. Their hair looked radiant and full, yet their clothes were tattered and filthy. We've since banded together, pooling resources and shelter. We've lost a few good women along the way, but god does our hair look fabulous. READ MORE


You're My Maid of Honor Because You're My Best Friend (Who Can Do a Tight, Clean Six-Minute Set), by Alex Schmidt

bridesmaidsRach? Need you for a sec. Abbs can finish up the rehearsal dinner caterer stuff herself.

Okay, I know I need some sleep before the big day, but I know I also need to tell you how much this means to me.

I have never had a friend like you. Ever. Somebody who's so fun, and so funny, and so on point when stuff happens and it's like, "Who's gonna say something first about this because whoa." I was raving about that when I was going over the place cards last week with Abbs, and she totally agrees: You're the best.

Rach? There is no one I would rather have at my non-hunk side as I become Mrs. Zane Blanston than you. And that's because there is no one I'd rather have toasting us two hours later.

Gosh! Can you believe we met five and a half whole years ago? Before I knew Zane? Before I stopped living with Abbs? Before you started going to that Amy Poehler theater to do your skits? READ MORE


The Collected Wisdom of Frank Abagnale, Sr., by Matt Crowley

Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse struggled so hard that eventually he turned that cream into butter. He ate all the butter and fought a painful, protracted battle with heart disease for the rest of his life. He would grow to envy that first mouse.


Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse gave up and drowned. The second mouse struggled so hard that he eventually turned that cream into butter and crawled out. If you ask me, that’s essentially the movie Ratatouille right there, but where are my royalty checks?


A bucket of cream fell onto two little mice. It was their first date, and it was really embarrassing. But looking at the first mouse drenched in cream, the second mouse couldn’t help but chuckle, and soon they were both bowed over with laughter. They remain married to this day. READ MORE


Regarding Our Annual Companywide Retreat, by Zack Wortman

Q: Must I attend the retreat?
A: Everyone wants to attend the retreat. Our annual spring retreat is an honored company tradition here at Smith and Associates and is a well-loved part of our social calendar. It is designed as a fun and relaxing time for employees, and CEO Dan Prowdy incurs great personal expense to make such an experience a reality.

Q: What if I do not wish to attend the retreat?
A: Nobody has ever not wanted to attend the retreat.

Q: If I have a prior engagement, may I not attend the retreat?
A: Dan knows that a handful of legitimate reasons will prevent some people from attending the retreat. This includes a death in the immediate family or a serious personal illness or injury, as confirmed by a doctor’s note.

Q: Where will retreat be held this year?
A: As always, the retreat will be held in the Ramada Inn off of Interstate 80 in historic Paterson, New Jersey. READ MORE


When Meagan Prematurely Ends Her Trip to Mars, Let’s Respond in a Dignified Manner, by Erik Cofer

You guys, Meagan is our friend. She has her faults, but she always means well. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that when Meagan’s plan to help establish a colony on Mars and ultimately save humanity from extinction inevitably fails and she comes crawling back to Earth, let’s show her the support she deserves.

I know it’s going to be tempting to point out how we all told her she was nuts beforehand—or crack jokes about her acne and how we’re all just one cosmic calamity away from extinction and you, Meagan, had the chance to help change that but you failed miserably, so thanks for nothing—but we need to resist that urge. Sure, Meagan’s been a consummate failure throughout her life, but don’t we all fail from time to time?

Allie, remember when you ignored Meagan’s warning and tried to shotgun three beers in a row but after the first two, you began to stagger around and vomit on everything? On that day, you failed. And Jason, I’m sure you recall that time we went to see Moneyball  and you had a seizure midway through, then Meagan had to summon help and the whole night was ruined. Or that time a few months later when we were at a comedy club and you seized again. Or the three times you’ve seized since. READ MORE


Dating Tips For Twentysomethings In a Nuclear Apocalypse, by Jon Wolper

Dating in your twenties isn't easy. Your friends are coupling up and moving far away. The best guys and girls all seem to be taken. And the nuclear holocaust that has annihilated 97 percent of humanity has also annihilated that cute guy a few miles down the highway. It’s tough!

But your age—and, of course, the ever-present spectre of death—shouldn’t dissuade you from getting out there, meeting new people, and maybe even settling down. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Be assertive
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and no one’s going to wait for you if you’re too shy to strike up a conversation. So don’t wait: Take the initiative. Talk about whatever comes to mind and go from there. Maybe discuss the unusual amount of six-eyed wolves prowling the area, or comment on how the vaguely pulsing green sky is particularly ominous that day. As long as you’re confident, you’ll be fine. Just make sure you don’t approach too quickly. Your advance may be misinterpreted as a threat and you could be murdered on the spot, which would really kill your dating chances. READ MORE


Remember When Movies Used To Be Good? by Justin Geldzahler

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I remember when the movies used to mean something.  When you saw a film, it was about something. It said things. Made ya think. About things. Like The Big Chill. Now that was a film. It had laughs, it had tears, and it really said something, you know? You don’t? Well, let me tell you. It was about people, mostly/all white people, and how even if you’re the champions of the world, life can never live up to expectations. Not like that navel-gazing crap you kids have.

I know you Millennials just want to see Thor fight ice Nazis and flirt with his brother, but I prefer a film that has a little thing called substance. Take The Big Chill, for instance. That was a movie with more on its mind. Like when William Hurt talks about Vietnam…that hit home. I mean, I never served, but, you know, I could have. Anyone of us could have. READ MORE


Our Son, The Asshole, by Noell Wolfgram Evans

My wife’s hand found its way to mine; in the corner of the overly lit room our five-year old son was blissfully unaware of cruel trick the fates had played upon him. We were in shock. Tears welled in my eyes as I looked at him enjoying perhaps his last happy moments, ripping the head off of one of the dolls in the bucket of toys that so many doctor’s offices place in the corner of their exam rooms as a way to offer “comprehensive” medical care.

I looked back at the doctor. I could see that her lips were moving but I could hardly discern the words that they were forming, everything was moving in slow motion. After what felt like an eternity of suspended action, I started out of the fog as she said, “Do you understand? I am sorry, but the tests are conclusive – your son is an asshole.”

Standing in front of the x-rays on the lighted walls, showing us charts and graphs and using doctor talk, she made a fairly convincing case. I knew Charlie wasn’t always the best kid, but an asshole?  I looked at him, drawing on the wall what was a pretty good representation of the doctor pooping and wondered…my wife, when she was pregnant, had eaten at a restaurant that soon after was closed due to a health code violation (in that they were not wearing pants in the kitchen because a broken thermostat made it “pretty toasty”).  I asked if there was a chance that this was something that had happened when he was in the womb; had we done something wrong? The doctor assured us that we had, in fact, done many things wrong. READ MORE


How to Develop a Thicker Skin, by Andi Sharavsky

As social creatures, we human beings are met with constant criticism and ridicule from friends, enemies, relatives, bosses, strangers, vague acquaintances, everyone at the gym, and, most often, ourselves. The common solution offered to combat these daily emotional digs is to “develop a thicker skin.”

While that’s all well and good metaphorically, it’s also, you know, not a real thing that humans can do. Our hands and feet form calluses after enough time and wear, but we are not equipped with a go-go-gadget feelings fortress to build up our resistance and shut the world out. Plus, if watchingPacific Rim while high taught me anything, it's that when science does eventually develop a robo-somatic addition to make people stronger, we'll all just get a lot of nosebleeds and then die fighting sea-aliens. Therefore, I have made it my personal goal to find the perfect material or method for becoming impermeable to the negativity of others forever. Here are my results: READ MORE


9 Rigorous Ways You Know You Went to School in the '90s, by Zack Bornstein

1. You remember that you did.
Memory serves as a bank of perceptual information. Neural stimuli built up throughout years of schooling can provide sufficient evidence that you attended school in the 1990s. This confirmation method can be disregarded in cases of prolonged hypnosis, brainwashing, drug abuse, head trauma, electroconvulsive therapy, neuropsychiatric disease, and/or if you have ever entered an extended fugue state.

2. You are told explicitly by a trusted person.
Trusted people could include your parents, siblings, mentors, the President, or a longtime friend. Asking the person to repeat him or herself, or to put the statement in writing reduces the possibility of an auditory hallucination. You must further confirm that 1) the statement was not preceded by a clause like “as if” or “you did not”; and 2) that you were not in a play or improv scene where lying is commonly accepted, even from trusted persons.

3. You look up your name in the school’s database.
Schools maintain extensive records, including those of your attendance, grades, emergency contact, Social Security number, and allergies. In special cases, schools display examples of your artwork on their walls. Furthermore, digital records became commonplace in the 1990s when you allegedly attended school, so you can easily request this information if you can provide adequate proof of your identity. READ MORE


Completely Innocent Member of High Society Attends a Fancy Dinner Party, by David Henne

Is there any gathering more decadent than the fancy dinner party? Where else can one discuss fancy issues of the day whilst indulging on the sweet fruits of sophistication, the tenderloins of privilege? Such worry-free fraternization for a truly carefree caste.

The shit was that?

Merely the light bulbs flickering. Certainly no reason for hysterics. After all, a smattering of hard rain never harmed anyone. Unless. Yes, unless

Oh, keep your wits about you, old boy! You’re among society’s elite. What sinister matter would undermine such a function? No sinister matter, that’s what.

Preposterous, to think an act of violence could disrupt a dinner party. It’s precisely what makes the dinner party fancy: freedom from the deranged, unfancy dregs of humanity.

Now pipe up and make a snooty observation before the group thinks you’ve gone batty.

“Dreadful weather, isn’t it?” READ MORE