When I was young (10ish) I had a pen pal. I think we got connected through Girl Scouts somehow. But she lived in Australia and we sent letters and little doodads back and forth for a couple of years then eventually stopped. Then, when I was a young teenager I saw some flyers for pen pals at a greeting card display at the store. So I picked up a few and sent them off hoping to get some cool new pen pals.
Now, I don't know if the greeting card company was completely clueless or what, but I really think that what they did was just browse through the phone books of several other countries and randomly pick names. This is what I got:
- A woman in England who had no idea how I had gotten her name and address. She didn't seem to mind and we sent a few letters back and forth, but it wasn't like she wanted a pen pal so things soon fizzled out.
- A man in Switzerland who also had no idea how I had gotten his name and address. Likewise, he didn't seem to mind, but since he had no idea where I had popped up from it soon fizzled.
- And the best of them all, a young 20-something guy from Australia. Seemed normal enough at first until I found out he was in prison! Yes, prison. He had 'mistakenly' killed his daughter, apparently in a fit of rage or something. Nice. Thank you very much greeting card company. Very responsible of you to match up a (too) young girl with strangers in other countries, completely at random, and for combing the prison systems for suitable pen pals. WTF! Needless to say, that pen pal was dropped like a hot rock. Wow!
Exec1: Why don't we do a pen pal program? People like pen pals.
Exec2: Great idea! We can put out flyers for people to request pen pals. Then they can send them our cards. We'll make lots of moolah!
Exec3: But how do we find the pen pals?
Exec2: Ah, just get some phone books and pick some names. We can assign them randomly. It doesn't matter. We just need to get people to send cards to someone!
Exec4: The only phone book I have from Australia is this prison directory.
Exec2: Who cares! Prisoners need cards too.
Exec3: Very true. And let's try to match the criminals up with children. That would be fun! See what other fun connections you can make.
Exec1: You guys rock! See to it!
Needless to say I dropped the idea of having a pen pal. And now, I don't even need one! I have you, loyal readers. I can blather on to my hearts content. And if there is no one out there reading this, well, I can pretend there is. Who will tell me different?