Friday, January 8, 2010



"Fine Residences in the Heart of Tribeca"

190 Franklin Street, New York, New York

January 8, 2010

Dear Mr. Farrell,

On behalf of the entire Board here at the Buttson House, I wish to thank you for your recent application to purchase a residential share with us. Despite your admirable resume, financial status and ability to pay for the share, we regret to inform you that we cannot sell the share to you because you lead an inappropriate lifestyle.

Two months ago, you expressed an interest in purchasing a two-bedroom residential share at 190 Franklin Street. Consistent with the Board's requirements, you duly submitted: (1) A resume listing past employers since 1980; (2) A certified letter from your current employer concerning your employment status, income level and bonus expectations; (3) Tax returns disclosing income since 1990; (4) Bank statements revealing savings levels since 1975; (5) A certified accountant's letter disclosing your current asset situation; (6) A marriage certificate; (7) A certified copy of your college degree, medical degree, law degree and engineering degree; and (8) A sworn affidavit declaring that all information you submitted was true, accurate and not misleading.

We salute you for complying with the Board's requirements. We are happy to report that you did not omit a single piece of information required under our procedures. You clearly have the financial and moral capacity to purchase a residential share from our cooperative.

However, despite your obvious financial ability to purchase the share from us, we refuse to sell it to you. Pursuant to cooperative By-Law Number 451.21, the Board independently investigated you after you submitted your application materials. Under the By-Laws, we are not required to alert you that that we conduct such investigations, nor do you have any right to question conclusions we make during the investigations. As a private entity duly licensed to do business in the State of New York, you have no legal recourse against us because we do not represent the State. Rather, we are a private corporation with full discretion whether to buy, sell or otherwise deal with any other private actor in the free market.

Our investigation disclosed several unfavorable facts about you. First, we learned that you do not cut your hair every week. To our minds, this reveals poor attention to personal hygiene, which in turn implies that you will not respect the property you intend to purchase from us. As a cooperative Board with an interest in maintaining a clean facility, we obviously worry about prospective shareholders who do not regularly cut their hair. We do not want unkempt ragamuffins with unfavorable hairstyles living under our roof, no matter how many stocks or bonds they own.

Second, our investigation disclosed that your middle name is Barfield. We found it anomalous that you did not list your middle name in your application materials. To our minds, your omission reveals a propensity for dishonesty that has no place at the Buttson House. Furthermore, even if you did reveal that your middle name was Barfield, we would have denied your application because we do not like that name. We believe that any name containing the word "Bar" would bring disrepute upon the Buttson House. We do not want others to think that bartenders, hobos, barmaids, wenches or drunks live in our building. Put simply, the name "Barfield" suggests all these things. As a cooperative Board with an interest in shareholder dignity--as well as public reputation--we simply cannot allow people named Barfield to live on our premises, even if they have all the money in the world.

Third, our investigators discovered that your left middle toe is 3 millimeters longer than your right middle toe. Although we sympathize with your deformity, we must advise that it makes us uncomfortable. We do not like the idea that a freak with two toe lengths might live in our building. To say the least, it is rather revolting. We understand that you keep your toes under socks during most public appearances, but that alone does not obviate the danger that you may appear in sandals, flip-flops or shower shoes in the Buttson House from time to time, particularly in the summer months. We are simply unwilling to subject our shareholders to the embarrassment of beholding your freakish toes during the summer. We cannot take the risk. Furthermore, under By-Law Number 4987.32(a), shareholders at the Buttson House have a right to refuse residence to anyone with unpleasant or inconsistent toe length, financial ability notwithstanding. Thus, we have technical grounds to deny your application for this reason alone.

Fourth, we learned that in 1996 you briefly worked as an artist during a break between jobs at financial institutions. Although this did not affect your financial health--in fact, you are a talented painter--we cannot tolerate former artists on our premises. As a cooperative Board committed to establishing a comfortable home for our shareholders, we take pains to ensure homogeneity in employment. All our residents work in the professions or in financial institutions. We do not house artists, tramps, free spirits or freelance writers. We do not want our residents to be subjected to inappropriate lifestyles, nor do we want artists making noise after 9 PM. In a word, our residents watch artists from the comfort of various concert venues in the Metropolitan area; they do not live among them. In a word, you were once an artist. That disqualifies you from obtaining a residence share at the Buttson House.

We understand that our decision may disappoint you. After all, it may appear to you that we have denied your application for completely unjustifiable reasons. But we really could care less. Under New York law, we can deny your application for any reason we wish; we are not a government agency. We can discriminate against you for any reason. We can turn you away because you have bad breath or because you are Mets fan rather than a Yankees fan. Put simply, we have unlimited discretion. We are the shareholders; you are the applicant. It is our club. We get to decide whether to let you in. Applying these powers, we hereby conclude that you are not appropriate.

We know that you have money. We know that you can afford the residence share for which you applied. But we just don't like you; it is as simple as that. If you were more like us, we might have approved your application. But that is just conjecture. Maybe we would have been in a bad mood that day. Who knows. The bottom line is that you're not getting this apartment.

Yours very truly,

Mr. B. Rockwell Merriman, Esq.,

Attorney-at-Law and Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Buttson House Cooperative, Inc.


angelshair said...

At least he was honest :).
In job search, they just tell you that the post is already taken.

Balthazar Oesterhoudt said...

Haha, very true, Angelshair!

In fact, that is one of the points I expect people to know about in this satirical sub-genre I've created called "The Rejection Satire." Generally, rejections are absurdly vague, yet they hurt us deeply and make us wonder why someone turned us away.

In real life, people with authority or advantages reject others for whatever reasons they want. Then they just say: "Thank you for your interest," leaving the rejected person to speculate what unfair reason led to the decision. But in my satires, I mock the "rejecting person" by making him go into excruciating detail about the reasons why he rejects the applicant. That never happens in real life; that's what makes the exaggeration work.

In the end, the rejecting person looks cruel and ridiculous. The satire works darkly by reminding the reader that as cruel and ridiculous the "rejecter" may be, he still holds all the power. And he can use however the hell he wants.

True to my satirical principle, I think "rejecters" make good targets because they are inevitably more powerful than their applicants. They have something another person wants, and they get to say "Yea" or "Nay." Who's gonna like that guy?

I never satirize the weak or the wronged.

I have been rejected by so many people and so many institutions so many times in my life--and I have received so many rejection/denial letters--that I developed a special hatred for all application processes, along with all the smug types who stamped "Denied" on me.

That is why I created this "satirical sub-genre."

Glad you enjoyed it.

askcherlock said...

Your post points out the lost art of truth-telling. People make circuitous statements and the person does not realized they have been duped for hours. It's uncivilized.