Cover Letter from Frank Palace

by Thad Weitz on October 15, 2012


To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to express my interest in the opening you listed for the Comptroller position. I am especially enthusiastic for the salary that goes with the job—I could live large off 150k. Seriously, I have some gambling debts with a disreputable and no-nonsense bunch, and 150 grand would really set me straight.

Frankly, I am not altogether certain what a Comptroller actually is. I’m guessing it has something to do with numbers. Or, breaking the word into its roots, “comp” and “troll,” it involves using a computer to fish for customers with advertising and what-not. Either way, I’m game. I was good at math back in high school, so I could definitely handle the numbers; and, I’m a people person, with a keen understanding of psychology, so I could handle the advertising. I am ready to deploy either of these skills depending on what a Comptroller really does. If the duties of a Comptroller are not what I have speculated, I assure you I am a quick learner and could, after the briefest of apprenticeships, perform any required tasks.

You’ll probably notice that I did not, in fact, graduate from the University of Slawsboro. To explain, I failed Metaphysics my senior year. It was not my fault. The professor was a recent émigré from Poland and spoke an impenetrable “English.” I could not understand even her basic comments like, “Good afternoon, everyone,” let alone her (I’m guessing) complicated lectures on philosophy. I’ve been meaning to retake the class, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

After college, you’ll also probably notice an employment gap from 1987 through 1994. Above, I mentioned some gambling debts; well, at that time, I was really running hot. I took Vegas for about 200k, and, after some traveling, resided in Costa Rica. Flush with my winnings, there was no need for work.

The money finally ran out in 1994, and I went to work for Dextrell Box Co., the eleventh largest manufacturer of cardboard boxes in Kentucky. You’ve probably heard the slogan, “If you really need to hold your stuff, consider a Dextrell box.” I worked diligently there for five months. My manager, Lloyd Carapaccio, even said to me, “You’re one of the top thirty or forty workers here” (out of 117 employees). I wish I could have him give you a more formal reference, but unfortunately, despite repeated efforts, I simply cannot pin down his whereabouts. To be honest, however, the box company sort of wore down my soul. In that airless warehouse, confronted with the endless drudgery of repetitive tasks, I slipped into a severe depression. Perhaps unwisely, I chose alcohol to combat my despair. My behavior deteriorated, and despite Lloyd’s best efforts, I was let go.

Fired from Dextrell, I truly succumbed to the aforementioned depression and drinking. Psychiatrists describe the combination of these illnesses as “co-morbidity.” In the throes of this co-morbid turmoil, I went through a period I call “The Lost Years,” from 1995-2003. Though my memory of this period is patchy at best, from what I can piece together, The Lost Years were characterized by catastrophic binge drinking, rehabilitation clinics, a mental institution, and a divorce, venomously recriminatory, even by the inherently ugly standards of that process. These personal challenges accounted for the second eight year gap in employment that you might have observed.

In 2003, I finally dried out. (I have been sober since that year except for some sporadic relapses of varying duration and severity.) I decided to return to my first love, gambling. To help ensure my success, I learned how to count cards. Counting cards requires a prodigious memory and a great facility for math and numbers, skills which I suspect are useful for comptrolling. I really stuck it to Vegas, but kept it subtle enough so I wouldn’t raise eyebrows (counting cards is not technically illegal, but casinos will ban you for it). I kept this up until 2007, when Vegas finally got wise, distributed my photo to all the casinos in the country, and eighty-sixed me for life.I have been happily content living on welfare since 2007, keeping my mind nimble with crossword puzzles, Sodoku, and reading three papers from cover to cover daily. Your ad for the comptroller, with all its mysterious implications, has intrigued me however, and I believe I would be an excellent fit for this position.

Frank Palace

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