I get interesting gifts sometimes: an apparent reader (I say “apparent” because the address on the cover letter isn’t on my distribution list) sent me a 1999 calendar: yes, it’s the “Hollywood TVs” calendar! And no, it doesn’t feature television stars: the TV stands for transvestite — the person who sent it to me is …er… Miss March.
I announced that the reader who sent me the funniest comment about the gift gets the calendar. The previous most-interesting gift was a Black & Decker “Snakelight” flashlight, which came in the mail last year with a press release (and batteries!)
The hapless PR guy who sent the Snakelight later made a follow-up phone call to ask if I received it. I said yes; he asked if his product would get any mentions in my column. I said no — not unless someone did something really weird with it, and got some newspaper coverage out of the act — in which case, I said, I don’t think they’d like the coverage all that much.
That, of course, perplexed him quite a bit, so I told him what This is True covers, and added that I never, ever use press releases to write my column, but told him I’ll try to make good use out of the Snakelight.
He hung up on me. Apparently, no one told this junior flack that you’ve got to have a sense of humor when you call and bother busy columnists! And, more importantly, to know who it is you’ll be talking to before you call, since otherwise all you do is make yourself look like a total idiot.
So who won the calendar? When he saw the “contest” David Kendall in Manitoba, Canada, retorted: “Erm, isn’t this an anti-incentive? I could probably think of something, only if you promise I won’t win the calendar!” Well, David, congratulations: you win!
Runner up is Fred of Illinois, who apparently remembers my fondness for limericks. He gets honorable mention for:
She sent you a calendar for free
But I think you should give it to me
Cause then I can’t say
On any old day
That there’s nothing good on TV.
Thanks to readers in several countries for your amusing comments!
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Even as I move this to my blog in 2007, I think the “Hollywood TV” calendar is still probably the weirdest freebie I’ve gotten so far.