Dear Michael Ian Black,
I owe you money. This past Thursday I accompanied my wife to an open-air mall with the intended goal of purchasing an animal-print pantsuit (preferably panda). Rather than saunter from one women’s clothing store to another, I instead chose to mosey on down to the Borders Book Store to peruse your book. As it turns out, my wife went on an unusually long shopping bender (not one, but TWO pant suits) and I read your book from cover to cover right there in the Automotive Repair section of the store – FYI, I suggested your book be moved to a more appropriate area, specifically “Humor” or “Recently Discounted” (you’re welcome).
So, while I had initially intended on purchasing your book so I could read it, I now have no reason to do so. Oh sure, I though, “Maybe I will buy Michael Ian’s book anyway. His wife needs pantsuits too, after all.” But I hardly think an amusing book such as your own should be relegated to collecting dust as the thin, deceptive veil that blocks the stack of Pregnant Slut magazines from the view of my children.
Therefore, I would like to pay you directly via personal check for the experience of reading your book. However, several factors have led me to the conclusion that it would be unfair for me to pay full retail value. These factors include:
• Repeat material: As we were once MySpace friends (you probably remember me – I’m the one who wrote “Thanks for the add!” in your Comments section), I had already read several of your My Custom Van essays for free in blog form – why pay for them now?
• Overhead: Direct payment for your book means my price doesn’t need to cover retail profits, agent percentages, material costs, etc.
• Taxes: I will write “Gift” in the note section of my check, thereby freeing you from having to pay income taxes on our transaction.
• Postage: It will cost me 42 cents to mail your check.
Taking the above into consideration, I calculate my total bill to be $0.73. Michael Ian, please reply with your home address so that I can properly reward you for the hours and hours of hard work you have exerted in the valiant attempt to entertain me.
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