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Friday, April 29, 2005

Burrito Lockdown

My favorite news story at the moment is an AP story titled School Mistakes Huge Burrito for a Weapon which happened in Clovis, NM. Basically, someone saw a boy go into school carrying something "long and wrapped" Authorities were called, the school went into lockdown, armed officers on rooftops etc. It turned out to be a 30 inch burrito a boy had made as part of an extra credit assignment to create commercial advertising for a product.

"We had to make up a product and it could have been anything. I made up a restaurant that specialized in oddly large burritos," the kid with the burrito reportedly said.

I like a story like this for the following reasons:

1. No one got hurt
2. 75 parents pulled their kids out of school that day, even after the weapon had been identified as a burrito, proving once and for all that having offspring turns people into completely irrational creatures and
3. It's a story involving burritos which are, of course, the greatest invention ever

On another note, my publisher advised me that the best way to deal with irrationally angry readers is to not engage and tell them your opinions, but to just ask them questions. I tried this on my friend Megan at lunch today, but it didn't work very well. Of course, she wasn't irrationally angry, so perhaps that was why.
I think the reason this works so well for Andy is because he doesn't take it personally when people call and scream at him. I don't take it personally per se, but I feel sort of stricken, sometimes, when I realize how poorly people are thinking things through, and I'm not sure asking questions would calm them down. I sort of envision it going like this.

Random Reader: Julia, I am really pissed off at you for that cover.
Me: Why are you so angry?
RR: It's sexist and degrading and pornographic.
Me: How do you define pornography?
RR: I define it by looking at it and that cover is pornographic.
Me: Are you aware that defining materials as pornographic has been debated by some of the greatest legal minds of our times and even they were unable to do it?
RR: What? Look, your cover sucks.
Me: Do you mean you don't like it aesthetically?
RR: You suck too
Me: As a person? Or as an editor?
RR: Both. Your paper sucks, you suck and I'm never reading that rag again. It used to be great back in 1975 but now it sucks.
Me: Did you find you liked most things better back in 1975?

OK, I could go on like this for hours, but perhaps I'll go back to work instead.