the Copywriter From Space is caught moonlighting

Perching on a barstool is a good way to test the construction of womens' ready-to-wear, and if stores were truly considerate of their customers, there would be barstools in dressing rooms. Since there are not, one has to approximate the stresses on pants, the pull on skirts, the strain on zippers getting on and off, and hope for the best, namely, that if you are in a bar and there is a wardrobe malfunction, it won't happen till the last drop has been drained. That way, if the malfunction is serious enough that you have to leave, you may regret the money you spent on the stupid pants but you won't leave any beer behind. I felt like bar-testing a pair of cream-colored jeans (Lauren Ralph Lauren), with which I was wearing a tee promoting the elements as once understood by the ancients and by alchemists. This is the tee:  note French words spelled correctly. You can find it at Urban Outfitters.
And so, purely in the interests of science, on my way out to Flintstone Manor last week, I popped in to a favorite barbecue-pit-and-bar, hoisted self up on a stool, and was glad no relatives were present to witness the warm greeting I got from the bartender. She is in fact a woman in her early forties whose children want to be famous, and we often commiserate on the troubles of dealing with people who can't sit still while Grandpa reminisces about watching Sergeant Bilko on black-and-white TV.

She drew me a cold one, and handed it to me with a beer mat (above). Yes, that is a real live beer mat. I enlarged it with the magic of iPhoto so that I wouldn't have to retype the deathless prose,  which I think is a good idea because who would believe I had made a letter-for- letter copy? I wouldn't have believed this had I not held the thing in my very hand. Anyway, the text makes no sense whatsoever, but because the writer seemed so earnest, and seemed to be taking an interest in beer - a worthy endeavor - I wondered whether the text might read more sensibly after I'd lowered a few. I took my time, wanting to maintain some coherence when the MEANING OF LIFE, I MEAN OF BEER MATS, occurred to me. Finally, something did: the text in fact made no sense. I felt better because I wasn't missing anything, but worse because it is criminal that in today's economy someone should be paid for perpetrating that prose. Unless, of course, it was written by someone sentenced to perform community service... for a micro-brewery?  Probably not. Perhaps it was the alchemical tee, but the first to come to mind was my old friend Farley, who was once forced to swear that he would no longer put pen to paper within 36 hours of testing the products of his personal medicinal herb garden. However, the beer mat read like the interests of the writer were first money and only then beer.  This is not the order of Farley's priorities. I needed to look further afield.
A friend (who cooks) once said that the first requirement of a waiter is that he/she be someone who hates food. Similarly, a certain class of writer is to the English language what Muriel Spark defined as a "pisseur de copie." The person that Dame Muriel so pungently described had no idea how the literate reacted to his productions. A dim picture of someone who's proud of awful puns and has little acquaintance with the notion of accuracy began to form.

Recognize her? Yes, she's the Copywriter From Space!

If you follow my adventures in merchandising, you might remember that I'm regularly puzzled by the fact that the Copywriter From Space seems to have permanent employment, even though she has only the briefest "nodding" acquaintance with the structure and vocabulary of the English language. I think I may have discovered the secret to her longevity: she "works cheap," as a former colleague once said of a sadly dyslexic file clerk. So cheaply does she work, it seems, that she needs to supplement her day job by free-lancing. The beer mat is one example; another is the action figure for which she posed (above). I bet every intern at J.Crew will be given one of these, along with left-over 2012 datebooks, at the end of the summer.

"The government will fall that raises the price of beer." I was going to lead off with this Czech saying (many Czech sayings have something to do with beer), to counter the abusive use of the name Kafka, he having lived in Prague where one can find some very good beer and some very good writing. However, I don't want to get an entire country of nice people mad at me for bracketing them with the Copywriter From Space, so that's why the saying is down here. At the end.


  1. Hello:
    You may not believe this but we have never [either of us that is] sat on a barstool. Indeed, we should very much like to be able to say that we have no idea what a barstool is but that would not be the case as we have, in our time, frequented bars and seen the said barstools. And so, we find that we do not require our clothes to pass such stringent tests. They merely need to stand up to the rigours of 'lazy tarting' which it seems to us is far easier on the zips and seams!!! that could be something we turn our hands to....

  2. Speaking of copywriter from space... did you see her on the Mickey Drexler special on CNBC?

  3. Hi, Jane and Lance, yes, it takes effort to achieve a truly misspent youth.

  4. Hi, Rose, yes, I did. There she was. I was a little disappointed because I expected to see her in headgear with antennae, but so it goes. I didn't put her in the post because, at the end of the day, I do have a kind heart. And there is that action figure.

  5. I wish I could go to that bar and test out of some of my clothes. Like my pants that split while sitting on the upholstered wing chair at the Waldorf Astoria. What would a barstool have done to them I wonder?
    I can't believe it but you found a mascot, or non-mascot I should say, for us. It's quite hilarious but it all makes sense now! Of course living in Space she needs a helmet but I guess she also doesn't want to ruin her hair. It is lovely hair!

  6. Hi, Dani, actually one of the reasons I prefer to try clothes on at home is so that I can stretch and bend and wave my arms about. The other reason, of course, is that most places have economized by cutting back on cleaning, starting with dressing rooms. Kerchoo!

    If I can find the Copywriter from Space Action Figure I will get one for you, if not for your birthday then for your next trip to New York!

  7. Yes, I have read it several times too - what was that???I was thinking may be it was a Google translation from foreign language?:? It sounded to me somewhat similar to what I'd write on occasion, ha ha... Darn foreigners, can't read or write for the life of them.

  8. hi, Slastena, i'm thinking that whatever language that beer mat may have started in, it couldn't have made sense there either.

  9. WFF, I so needed that laugh tonight. I can't take my eyes off the action figure. If you locate one for Dani, you had best send me one as well. I'm certain she would provide such inspiration for crafting a well-written post! I can only imagine how many people , well into their cups, read that mat and thought, "wow, I really need to lay off the sauce. This here thing makes no sense."

  10. I keep reading the beer mat and get more confused the more I try and interpret it. So I've decided to go with, 'Drink our beer and the world will end'.

    Agree with your reply to Dani about the state of changing rooms. You should have seen the muck along the skirting boards of one I was in the other day.

  11. hi, Rose, I have to track down a source. I have the awful feeling that she may have been a one-off created for a kid's science project.

  12. Hi, Trish, strong comments indeed from the land where the beer mat was invented!

  13. Snakes having social intercourse after beer, or...what? WOW. Hope this comment goes through as I have had a time recently with "lost" comments.

  14. Hi, Lane, glad you got here! maybe the mistake is trying to read the thing before you finish the beer. Or beers.


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