Working at the newspaper, we have a lot of interesting stuff come through our office. When you are in "the media," everyone is always trying to get you to talk about them. Whether it's a business or a cause or a weird personal project or having a really tall sunflower in your yard, people often come calling with their unique ideas of what we should print in the paper.
Sometimes, these come in the form of freebies. Companies like to send in stuff to promote their projects, such as a press packet for a TV show or a movie. I know our entertainment writer's desk is covered with weird odds and ends sent to him by production companies. But usually, stuff is sent in an effort to try and get us to write about the product. Granted, I'm not sure what we could write about stuff like a measuring stick for snow in your yard, or a box of grilling spices, but the gesture is appreciated just the same.
Since I'm not the head of a department, I usually don't get any cool freebies. I don't mind, since the goods are usually passed along and or left sitting on some desk, unwanted. But last week, I received a package at work that I don't think anyone would want. Something that has left me full of brain-hurt for days. The last thing I would have ever thought I would get in the mail.
Since I was off work on Friday, I came in Saturday to a mostly empty office and noticed a white plastic shipping envelope in my mailbox. Examination found it to be from some generic sounding company in Pennsylvania, and it felt as if there were several lumpy items in the bottom with some heft to them. Kitchen gizmos? Cookies, possibly? It is always exciting to get actual tangible mail, so I didn't hesitate to rip it open, revealing a plastic sandwich baggie. Nothing else was in the envelope - no invoice, no card, nothing. Just a bag. Containing what I can only describe as several chunks of gorilla leavings. You know what I mean. Number two. I don't know if primates have a number system for that sort of thing, but yeah.
Now, this scenario seems as if it could go several ways. With me dropping the bag and running, screaming, for the nearest soap. Or, with me freezing in place, my mind reeling from the sheer oddness of what I have just seen. I kind of took a morbid-curiosity-mixed-with-incredulity stance.
You may be wondering how I knew these particular piles were from a gorilla. I'm no Crocodile Hunter, but my first clue was the sticker on the baggie that said "Gorilla Poop." Also, the bag had bits of what appeared to be leaves and straw mixed in with the ... ahem ... contents. A Google search of the subject confirmed its accuracy in size and color. Then my computer threw up.
My incredulous and bemused state had me asking more questions than sanitizing everything in sight. Could this really be what it says it is? Mailing that kind of stuff has to be illegal. Perhaps it was clay, or fake stuff you get at the joke store? It didn't smell particularly foul. But the pieces of grass made it seem that if it were fake, someone went through a lot of effort to create realistic gorilla dump.
The bag contained a second sticker that solved most of the mystery. According to the sticker, a website, which I will not relate because I do not wish to encourage such mailings, exists for the sole purpose of sending various species of Number Two to someone's doorstep, anonymously, as a gag gift, a joke, revenge, or a "keep your dog off my lawn" message for as little as $16.99 plus shipping.
That's when it hit me - someone actually spent money to mail me caca for a reason! Maybe I made someone mad. Maybe my column hit a raw nerve. Could it be from the pro-sweatpants alliance? The origin having been solved, now the purpose was to be determined. The website assures me that the sender will remain anonymous, no matter how many big-city lawyers I get on the case. But still, I wonder.
The consensus between me and my now-disgusted co-workers was that the company that offers this (dis)service most likely sent it to me in hopes that I would write about it. And here I am writing about it. Well, now, didn't they win, you ask? Not really. Sure, there's not much I can do about being mailed a doody bag. But I can share this story. I can not put your website in my column. And I can put the bag in the freezer (in another bag, wrapped in foil, in a box) so that if I find out someone sent this to me out of spite, they will get a repurposed package mailed right to them. And it will cost me a lot less than $16.99 plus shipping.