I am completely fascinated by classified ads. I read them all the time, especially in those weekly throw away papers that focus heavily on the local college rock scene and provide in-depth analysis of the hot city council issues like police brutality in crack downs on local teenage drinking.
If I were to write a profile of the average reader of these papers, I would have to say that they would be around 20-28 years old, working in a job that allows them to ‘just get by,’ and always on the hunt for the latest underground thing to do.
I especially like to look in the “Seeking” or “Looking For…” section of the classifieds. These are typically places where you find the juiciest and most intriguing material. When I read the “Seeking” section in these classifieds they’re usually something like this:
Sonic Youth cover band seeks professional guitarist / bassist /
singer – no drug addicts. Thurston Moore where are you? Call Gus (555) 555-3439
Other times people put listings in there seeking additions to their collections: dolls, beanie babies, LP records, movie star photographs, memorabilia, etc. More often than not you can also find people listing themselves for hire: handy men (and women), nannies, DJ’s, clowns and the like.
But sometimes you get lucky, and right there in black-and-white is:
Looking for Thomas Perez of DeKalb, IL. We went on a blind date 4/7/97. You have a son who wants to meet you. Call Mindy (555)555-8741
Oh the humanity! One can only imagine what it takes to muster up the courage and write this sort of an ad. On the other side, what could it possibly be like to be Thomas Perez of DeKalb, IL and have your grandmother call you after reading the paper? And what if you are a different
Thomas Perez of DeKalb, IL? I can only dream up the situation-comedy-like scenarios in my head of what transpires in the lives of these two people as one searches for someone who is lost, and the other is eventually “found.”
The Rochester, New York local free weekly paper whose classifieds I read regularly is the “City Newspaper
.” In the December 22, 2004 edition, I found one of the best personal ads I have ever seen. Here is the exact original ad
as it appeared in the paper:
SEEKING NANCY GORDON, Past president of Barbizon School of Modelling 1972 to validate my documents. Judy Heagney-O'Hara at PO Box 18723 Lac De Ville Rochester,NY 14618-0723
This two sentence personal ad raises so many questions within me that I cannot even begin to list them all, but I will try my hardest:
1. Who is this Judy Heagney-O’Hara, and just why does she seek validation from a past president of a now defunct modeling school she attended over 30 years ago?
2. Why on earth would someone need documents validated from a MODELING SCHOOL
“Sorry Judy, but unless you can furnish proof
that you graduated from Barbizon School of Modeling, the job of Vice President of Sales is going to have to go to Ron. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it has to be.”
Or better yet:
“Judy, I have some serious doubts about the authenticity of this graduation certificate from Barbizon School of Modeling. We can only assume that your initial application to work here was fraudulent. Unless you can get validation of these documents, you leave us no choice but to terminate your employment as a receptionist here.”
3. As a writer it’s impossible for me to read something without taking points off for spelling. If she did go to modeling school, shouldn’t she know how to spell ‘modeling’ correctly?
4. How on earth can you expect a woman who served as President of a now defunct modeling school to remember one single student from 1972? I don’t think many of my junior high classmates would remember me today - and I was in classes all day long with them for many years.
5. Who is this Nancy Gordon, and how is it that she holds this power to bring validation to this Judy Heagney-O’Hara’s life?
These are but my top questions, though I could go on and on. (Why would someone use a modeling school as an educational reference? Why would anyone care? What type of person goes to these modeling schools? Etc., etc., etc…)
I once had a great literature teacher in high school who described Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ as “an onion.” Every time you start to understand and peel away at a layer, there’s yet another layer requiring further study, further understanding, and yes, further peeling.
Well, gentle reader, I will hopefully peel away at this in further entries.