On the Consolations of Correspondence

[Start of introduction.]

The mining of old journals continues. The latest discovery: a letter, written to my colleagues in the days when I still worked as an assistant brand manager for a fast-moving consumer goods company based regionally in Singapore, penned during a particularly trying time for the business.

Other people drink when stressed. Or smoke. Or party all night. I write letters.


P.S. The words followed by an asterisk are terms used by people in the marketing business. Since knowing what they mean will be helpful in getting the joke, I’ve appended a brief glossary of sorts.


[End of introduction.]

[Start of blog post.]

September 23, 2004. Thursday.

Dearest Friends,

In the last few days, in the ongoing initiative* that we call Life, we have all increased in both trial* and awareness*.  I say trial, because that’s exactly what the past few weeks have been, and I say awareness, because the experience has stripped us of our most basic self-delusions.  In other words, regardless of the state of our individual businesses, our lives’ indicators are actually up.

This is not a hollow attempt at good cheer—as you all know, I am incapable of good cheer, hollow or otherwise—but an honest reframing*, born of (1) introspection, and (2) procrastination. (There is the pressing matter of an issue sheet* that I have to complete in the next nine hours; otherwise, this will be the last letter you shall all receive from me via my P&- email address).

But what I mean to say is, we all came here to answer a question, and that question is—is selling soap my life’s vocation?  Or, for those of us who are more terribly confused, is selling soap a viable way of passing my time until I discover my vocation?  If the last few weeks have helped us find an answer, then we have no cause for fear or bitterness.  Life, rather unfortunately, is an experiment where we are all our own guinea pigs, and if it be our lot at this point in our lives to be lab rats in the rat race, then so be it.

And even if, at the end of it all, we will have gained nothing but a very Interesting Story to Tell, let us remember that many a bestseller has been written about the blindingly obvious epiphanies of former rat racers, and that a Chicken Soup for the P&- Soul has yet to be published.  I myself am itching to write a smug little volume on Who Moved the Holes in My Cheese.

In short, there is a reason for our being here.  (Here, for me, being the bubble table* between 22J22 and 22J24.)  What’s just a tad difficult is knowing when exactly to move on.  But that’s something I won’t cover because I do have an issue sheet to finish. And, well, it may just possibly be bestseller material.

Artificially buoyed by altruistic impulses,


P.S.  Life is a box of dark chocolates. Someday, we’re all going to laugh about this, albeit somewhat bitterly.

GLOSSARY: (The terms are listed in the order they appear in the above post.)

Initiative: A project designed and launched to fulfill certain marketing objectives within a given timeframe

Trial: The consumer’s first use of a product

Awareness: The consumer’s knowledge of the availability of a product

Reframing: The process of recontextualizing a situation or viewing it from an alternative perspective

Issue sheet: A one-page memo describing the nature, implications and possible solutions to a business challenge

Bubble table: Er, a kind of small, mobile table

[End of blog post.]


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