Overqualified: RAND Corporation: Please don't send this one back


To: The RAND Corporation
Re: An alternative?

Dear RAND,

I am writing to apply for a job with The RAND Corporation, and i have included my resume for your review. I think you will find that my experience speaks for itself, though I feel like a few words might help me express my reasons for choosing your company. The first time I heard of The RAND Corporation was on The X-Files, the conspiracy theory heavy television show that obsessed me in high school. That was the beginning of this sense that there were huge corporations behind everything, that everything that happened in the world happened for a reason. I didn't believe in God anymore, at this point, but my father was an unemployed accountant. I knew damn well that the New York Stock Exchange was real.

These days you can't turn on the TV without Michael Moore screaming into a microphone, spouting Duchovnian lines with none of the subdued charm that made Fox Mulder so endearing. These days every company is half behind some curtain. I can't eat a thing of PRINGLES without feeling complicit. But you, RAND. I've never lost that feeling that you're the real deal. If the masterminds at PRINGLES take their orders from someone else, and I suspect they do, then it is you issuing those orders.

This isn't the first letter I've written to you, though I don't know if you remember. When I was just out of High School, there was a shooting at a school down in Colorado. 13 dead and 21 wounded. Children my own age killed by other children. I spent a lot of time sitting in front of the television with the sound off. I spend a lot of time re-reading my books. I found your address on the internet, RAND, and I wrote you the following letter.

"I don't understand about Columbine. Please write back."

I know exactly what it said, RAND, because it came back to me unopened. I still have it.

Two years later, when two planes full of people drove into the side of those buildings in New York city I wrote to you again. I was in university at this point, sitting in a cafeteria full of people, looking up at the television monitors and trying not to think about a made for TV movie version of War of the Worlds that I'd seen, where it was done as a fake news broadcast to try and capture that panic the original radio broadcast had caused. It's hard to imagine being linked to the world only by radio. To us it would be like being blind. I wrote you the following letter, there in the cafeteria.

"I feel like I did in the Museum of Modern Art, looking at the paintings. I know that they must mean something. I know that there must be some reason for them. I can't see it. All I see is a mess. The Montreal Massacre. Nobody is buying Pringles today. This is like that Soul Coughing song, where he just keeps saying 'a man flies a plane into the Chrysler building' over and over again. What does he mean? Is he just being random? Those are people jumping from the windows. That is too high up."

And you sent the letter back then, too, RAND. I understand. The world is full of letters like those, pointing fingers at the problems, at faults, without suggesting a solution. That's what this letter is, a suggested solution. Maybe these disasters you orchestrate are achieving your goals, maybe they aren't. Why not try having things both ways? Why not fake everything? You could have had those planes drive into the side of the buildings empty. You could have emptied the buildings and filled them with robot jumpers. Fake everyone's death for the cameras, but let them live.

Give them to me, RAND, and give me the moon. I can be your backup plan. We can start a secret colony on the moon where nothing dies, where smiles are free. There won't be any war or pollution or over-population and we'll eat regular potato chips that come in a bag and we'll do away with television and listen to radios. Every night at six we'll listen to The Shadow, and later on there'll be a comedy for mom and dad. Think of it as hedging your bets, RAND.

Yours,

Joey Comeau