Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Carbon cruising

In the mail, an envelope holding a seemingly exciting offer — a free Caribbean cruise. But I’ve read David Foster Wallace; I don’t need no stinking cruises. Besides, there’s a small catch involving the purchase of a time-share in Florida.

There are at least six details to enjoy in the scan above: the fake stamps, the fake handwriting, the fake highlighting, the fake smears on the first and third sheets (note that the smears are identical), the fake check (Ceci n’est pas un chèque), and best of all, the fake carbon paper. Yes, that’s fake carbon paper, just a piece of purple-black paper between the “original” and “duplicate” forms. Only the perforations allowing these forms to be separated are real.

This offer evokes the world of the imprinter (aka “the knuckle-buster”), the hand-operated machine once widely used to process credit-card charges by means of a bar pulled across a carbon-paper form. O nostalgia! I’m baffled and inspired that someone would go to such trouble to conjure up the past. But I’m still not signing up.

Also in the mail
The National Dean’s List (Sketchy invitations)

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