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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
The office talent show, the neighborhood caroling posse, the school pageant ... At holiday time we often sing, dance, and dress as shepherds. Did you bloom in the warmth of your audience's adulation, or freeze up like the snowman you'd rather be building? Did your holiday performance change your life or that of someone close to you?

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About McSweeneys
Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendecy is an offshoot of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, a journal created by nervous people in relative obscurity, and published four times a year.

Submit your letter
All things published in Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency are copyrighted, in the worldwide sense, and cannot be reprinted without the written approval of a McSweeney's representative. For more information on submitting your letter, visit McSweeney's on the Web at www.mcsweeneys.net.

Or email your letter to openletters@

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McSweeney's Open Letters

March 5, 2005
Open Letter to a Cubicle
Dear Mr. Miller,

I'm thrilled to be writing you. How admirable that you started a company that eventually created the first cubicle-in the early 1960s, no less. What a frontiersman! After all these years, I continue to be delighted by your decision to create a labyrinth of interconnected workspaces. Unlike the 93 percent of all workers who would prefer to work in another space, I'm one of the proud who hope to be working in a cubicle for my entire life. People should really stop and think about how pretty they can make their cubicles.

Before I address the beauty of the cubicle, I'd like to take a moment to imagine the thought process you underwent when designing it. Forgive me if the process is not exactly accurate: "What can I do to revolutionize the American workforce? Think. Secretaries in bikinis! No. That's the dream I had last night. [You're so wild, Mr. Miller, so powerful!] Space ... It's the space that needs redesigning and I can do that! People won't work at desks where they can see each other. They'll have desks surrounded by ... walls that are not really walls! What can I call these spaces? They're squares, no cubes ... cubicles! By implementing my grand plan, corporations of this great nation will be able to save millions on office space and will pay me millions in return! I'm a genius!" You are smart, Mr. Miller-a sexy Einstein of the office-design world. You probably have an engineering degree. How alluring. And, clearly, you are a caring man. You have done wonders for employees as well.

Employees, you ask? Yes, the employees of this great nation. Why? Because we have cute little spaces entirely to ourselves. Secret: I enjoy painting my fingernails in my cubicle. Flaming red is my favorite color. I also love when everyone decorates their cubicles! Their personalities just shine when they put up brightly colored posters that contrast beautifully with the slate gray. Spotlighted by the fluorescent lighting, the pictures of their family members and friends are so precious. What warmth and happiness! In my humble opinion, my cubicle is the most well-decorated. I've strung leis in three colors from my 1996 trip to Hawaii.

Sadly, the office gossip is disgruntled and confused. To her, workers in your labyrinth of interconnected workspaces are stressed because of overcrowding. She says they shout too loudly across the way, asking for a throat lozenge or a tissue or some advice on how to get a man. They lash out in anger, too, especially when they can't close the deal. ("Cubicle rage," she says. Can you believe that?) She gets upset when they call and e-mail each other just to feel a sense of ownership of the space, to create a virtual wall between themselves and their co-workers. (I hate when she uses the word "virtual." It's so highfalutin!) She gets really annoyed when they forward porn links. They eavesdrop, too, she says. But if you ask me, she eavesdrops the most. She always knows stuff like who's pregnant long before she's supposed to. But I think her disdain for cubicles is all in her mind. She's totally neurotic.

If I know my boss, and I think I do, because I'm his trusted assistant, he sees things like you did in the 1960s. His employees are busy at their stations, working steadily to maintain or improve the bottom line. And my boss is right. The office gossip is wrong! They are behaving like the little figures in that model you must have shown your research-and-development team. You remember, the model of your Action Office, the first cubicle system! That model must have looked like a work of art, because you are a genius.

Once again, I want to thank you for revolutionizing the American workforce, Mr. Miller. You deserve every accolade. I hope your company continues to be a leader in cubicle design.

Jennifer DiOrio
Westfield, NJ

November 27, 2004
Dear Dissertation on the Correlation Between History and Memory in Colonial Pennsylvania,

We've been working at this for three years now, and I think its time we faced some facts. I have not invested in you as much as I should, I let myself get distracted with other projects. I mocked up a few screenplays, Jessica forced me to write a few poems, but I never forget that you are my bread and butter. Still, this relationship is starting to really stress me out. You probably sense that I am a little frustrated, the way that I spend time with you every day but its never quality time, the way you are always on my mind but we never seem to get anywhere. You're right about all that. But I am tired of people asking about you, they always ask about you, how you're doing, how far I've gone with you. To be honest, I want to see this through to the end, I want to go all the way with you, but then I want to put this relationship behind me. I've learned a lot from you: I now know that I love deadlines. I love small tasks that can be completed in a day. But its time, really.

I know what you're thinking, Dissertation on the Correlation Between History and Memory in Colonial Pennsylvania. You think that if I finish with you, that you will just get thrown on some shelf in only one library in the world, never to be read again. Ok, that part is basically true. But I think its better if you think of yourself as a seed, or a caterpillar, even one of those ugly ducklings (not that I think you are ugly), any of those things that blossoms into something better. You see, I can't let you go even if I want to. The tenure gods demand that I be there by your side to ensure that you are transformed into a beautiful thing called a "book." Its true, you'll be an overpriced hardcover by some academic press, but you will be found in at least 100 libraries across the country, and probably several libraries in Canada and England. And yes, I will change your name slightly, hoping to give you a little sexier feel for a broader appeal, but deep down it will always be you in there. I also assure you that you will be on the shelf in my house, my parents, my siblings, my advisors and perhaps a few close friends. And even if I write something better--fingers crossed--you will always be the first. Nobody can take that away from you.


Kyle Farley

August 7, 2004
Dear Elephant in the IKEA-Furnished Room,

You're really screwing up our feng shui. Don't feel bad, that spot you've chosen between the Akurum and the Flytta has always been a tricky one. We've both remarked how surprised we are that you even fit. The Bekväm didn't! Neither did the Domsjö, even before we installed the Prägel. I know it's a small kitchen with a vexing infestation of grocery bags (Rationell! Where are you when we need you?!), but can't you find a different place to perch? Like on top of the Lämplig or along that odd wall space by the Ingo? All we're asking for is a more direct view of the Ektorp and maybe a little good chi upon the Förby.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Yours, Chloe Bland

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