It turns out I need not have feared this time, though, as you folks came through in your usual magnificent form in the final stretch. As of the deadline, we have received the following entries.
Miko, "La Lata"
(Miko, I should point out, is new to The Friday Challenge this week, so welcome aboard, Miko! And the rest of you: you know the drill. Go easy on Miko. This time.)Henry, "Lodging a Complaint"
Al, "Luis Came Back"
Arisia, "The Six-Million Centavos Man"
Topher, "The Message"
(WaterBoy bravely attempted to put his entry in the form of a series of Comments. However, I remain unable to recover my ability to link to individual comments, so you're going to have to dig for his entries. Most of them are signed "Guest," as it seems JS-Kit doesn't like WaterBoy this week.)As always, even if you haven't submitted an entry this week—even if you never submit an entry in any week—you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorite. Don't be shy about leaving feedback on the authors' sites, either. Writers thrive on knowing that someone out there is actually reading their words. The winner will be announced on Sunday.
And now for this week's challenge.
"A Letter of Recommendation"
I've got this love|hate thing going with social networking. On the one hand, it enables me to stay in touch with lots of people I want to stay in touch with, but otherwise would never find the time to. On the other, it also enables me to be "found" by people who, to be honest, make me wish I could just take a blue pill and forget I ever met them.
The worst are almost always former co-workers who are working their social networks, because they're on the hunt for a new job, and some how-to book or employment counselor has just reminded them that they should be "networking." So suddenly out of the clear blue they drop in on you, presuming an amiable relationship and level of comradery that never really existed, and ask you to write them a letter of recommendation.
What do you do? Douse the bridge with gasoline, pack nitro around the main supports, torch that sucker good and write what you really think of them? Well, that might feel good, but in today's litigation climate those sorts of words also might be actionable, and besides, the job market being what it is, you might need their recommendation someday. But on the other hand, you don't want everyone who reads your recommendation and knows this person to think that you are a complete moron with no discernment, so that would seem to rule out just plain lying and praising this person to the high heavens with full voice.
Hence, this week's challenge: we're looking for a letter of recommendation containing not more than three paragraphs of finely tuned weasel-words that are not, on the surface, overtly insulting or actionable, and yet still communicate the idea that given a choice, you would not hire this person to shovel manure in a stable. Even if it was late July, and your last stable-hand quit a month ago, and the stable really stank.
It's not as easy as it looks. Believe me.
As always, we are playing by the loosely enforced Official Rules of the Friday Challenge and playing for whatever is behind Door #3. The deadline for this contest is midnight Central time, Thursday, 10/1/09.