Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Confucius Says

Jon and I are looking for a third housemate. The room is quite pleasant and a good deal. This has generated lots of responses to our craigslist ad.
I have never been involved in the craigslist housing process before. It is wonderfully entertaining to receive these responses. People clearly craft e-mails with care and use a variety of approaches to appeal to the advertiser. If I have time, i will discuss some other approaches but i'll start with the use of wisdom.

one respondent said, among other things, "Life is dynamic, as our schedules must also be". This seemed odd. Was i reading a craigslist response or a fortune cookie? Was this a 20-something or Confucius?

I pointed out the odd placement of the aphorism, and Jon speculated as to whether this was indicative of the respondent's general communication style:

Jon: excuse me, i noticed that you have not washed that pot in several days, i hope it wouldn't be too much trouble to do that soon.
CL candidate: dirty pot or clean kitchen. truth is seen in perspective.

Zach: hey, i am going to play football, want to come?
CLC: A conclusion is simply the place where one has grown tired of thinking.

What a bizarre situation it would be to have a roomate who exclusively communicated in aphorisms.

Next up: the over-explainer

lastly, here is a link to a short new yorker piece on the most prolific fotune cookie copy writer of the modern world. A quicl excerpt:

In the early eighties, [Donald Lau] was hired by a Chinatown noodle manufacturer, which eventually expanded into fortune cookies. The firm bought the Long Island City plant, and it soon became apparent that its antiquated catalogue of fortunes would have to be updated. (“Find someone as gay as you are,” one leftover from the nineteen-forties read.) “We knew we needed to add new sayings,” Lau said. “I was chosen because my English was the best of the group, not because I’m a poet.”

At first, the writing came easily. Finding inspiration in sources ranging from the I Ching to the Post, Lau cranked out three or four maxims a day, between scrutinizing spreadsheets and monitoring the company’s inventory of chow mein. “I’d be on the subway and look up at the signs and think, Hey, that would make a great fortune,” he said. (One such adage: “Beware of odors from unfamiliar sources.”) “I’d keep a small notebook and jot down whatever came to me.


At 2/14/2007 , Blogger bpt said...

Rent is an illusion.


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