Tuesday, June 16, 2009

envelope gum: it's what's for dinner

INTERN is thinking of writing a letter to the USDA advising them to change the food pyramid to reflect the reality of interns and other wild creatures in these troubled times.

Bottom half of pyramid: Cookie crumbs and half-eaten chocolate bunnies (seasonal) swept off table after editorial meetings.

Top half of pyramid: Lick-and-stick gum on envelopes and postage stamps. INTERN read somewhere these are 2 calories a pop. INTERN wonders if it is possible to live on envelope-licking—although a truly wise INTERN would simply eat the whole envelope.

Nutritional considerations aside, writers please harken: Every time INTERN has to lick an envelope to send you a decline or request, it takes A YEAR off her tongue's life. At the rate she's going, she will be tongueless by the time she's 25, like that sparrow in the fairy tale. INTERN's heart leaps with spasms of delight when someone's SASE is self-adhesive. Not only are they fun to stick, the INTERN uses those strips of paper to insulate her nest.

Now that Matters of the Tongue are dealt with, INTERN would like to close with an inspirational message, something along the lines of "dream big". Somewhere out there, there is an intern waiting to paw through your submission, and she would rather deal with big dreams than little schemes. For example, why doesn't someone write a field guide to bicycle racks? They come in so many different shapes and colors. Like creatures of Galapagos. A field guide to bicycle racks is THE INTERN's dream submission.

INTERN full of whimsy. Must find some way of thinking sober, substantial thoughts.

Off to mail book catalogues to prison inmates!


  1. You have all my sympathies regarding loss of tongue due to envelope-licking. Somehow I always get dragged home to help my parents send out Christmas cards to their hundreds of friends and am relegated to envelope-licking duties. But last Christmas I found a solution - get a damp flannel and use that instead. Works just as well (actually better!) and saves your tongue. And is also more hygenic.

    I do not know if you can smuggle a flannel into the office, but if it is at all possible then I would recommend it. To save your tongue, if nothing else.

    (Have just realised I am a random stranger to you - hello, was sent a link to your blog by a friend and it has brought me joy this past half an hour.)

  2. What a great surprise, another entry at this late hour. I promise I always send self-adhesive envelopes. I'm glad those strips are used for something. But why not just send email requests and "declines?" Many do, but I always wonder what they do with our envelopes and stamps. Now I know: they eat them. Thanks, Intern. You are a delight.

  3. *waves* New follower here. :)

    A self-adhesive SASE is a really good idea. I hate the taste of those things, and I think any one who has to endure that horrid taste on a daily basis, warrents some kind of danger pay.

  4. I've heard the caloric values for stamps and envelopes range from 2 to 8 calories, so hopefully you're not putting on extra weight from those 6 calories you might not have been considering.

    If you can't smuggle in a flannel, they also make tiny water bottles with a little sponge tip for moistening stamps and envelopes.

    I found you through moonrat and look forward to your updates.
    Hang in there!

  5. I think the chemicals in the gum may have an intoxicating effect, like sniffing Jiffy Markers, or licking toads. There must be a 12-step program out there somewhere for recovering interns...

    I used to have to stuff and lick hundreds of envelopes at a time, so I feel your pain. I got me one of them handy-dandy little squeeze water bottles with the sponge on top.

    (love your blog. found my way here through Ed Anon)

  6. This is dangerous. Heed the warning from the 24th and final episode of the seventh season of Seinfeld (that's a mouthful): The Invitations. Of course, you're not sending invitations, so the envelope gumming my work in reverse, but don't worry, it could simply be the devastating effect of the decline (rejection) that you're mailing that renders the recipient incapable of further output.

  7. I have an irrational fear of papercuts to the tongue, so I use the self-adhesive envelopes whenver possible, and for the rest, I use a glue stick.

  8. love your blog - you're hilarious :)

  9. But... but...

    The peel-and-stick envelopes are more expensive! And 90% of the time the envelopes are delivering bad news, so it's not like your spasms of joy get me any benefit...

    I'm so sorry, but I have to save my pricey envelopes for positive correspondence (after the first "please send more" letter, all subsequent SASEs are self-adhesive).

  10. Oooooh, dear intern, don't lick them, use a damp sponge! Envelope glue is poisonous and could, in principle, contribute to giving you cancer... (said my mom the over-worried medical doctor to me since early childhood...) and we all don't want to lose you! :( If you can find scientific evidence you could even make them buy you a sponge bottle for health reasons :)