Secret Codes and Tinnitus

So my career as a professional noise maker hasn’t exactly taken off.  Despite the tireless hours of practicing and honing my craft, no one has offered me a paying gig.  Well, Rocco offered me fifty bucks to “please just please stop making the tinnitus noise by my head while I’m trying to sleep.  I have to be up at five fucking thirty.” I don’t think that counts.


No one makes it in the noise making biz unless they flex their mad tinnitus chops.  Everyone knows that.

But never fear, I’ve set my sites on a whole new gig.  I’m going to take my questionable writing skills and total disregard for the rules of grammar and use them to write the copy for those automatically generated form thingies.  (Someday I’m going to learn the words for things. Today is not that day.)  How about I just give you some examples and then you’ll know what the hell I’m talking about.  Maybe.

Let’s start with an ATM machine.  You walk up, you swipe your card, then up pops the screen “choose a language.”  Personally, I like to pick Mandarin or Russian because they have the most interesting characters.  Sure, early on I would sometimes end up moving thirteen cents from savings to a new trust I’d accidentally set up for a fictitious puppy named Mikael, but soon enough I figured out how to withdraw my cash without any international incidents.  Now the magic is gone.  I need variety.  Whoever writes that stuff needs to take it up a notch.

If I had that gig, I’d add a rotating featured language each month, like an exotic flavor in a frozen yogurt shop.  I’d start with Klingon since my brothers are all nerds.  The next month, I’d kick it up a notch with some Sanskrit.  Hell, just to show how hip and current the bank was, I might even throw in some Na’vi.  I think I just wrote my cover letter.

Just a Graphic.  Don't Try and Comment Here.
Just a Graphic. Don't Try and Comment Here.

Since I’m such a comment whore on other blogs, I spend a LOT of time looking at those little “leave your comment” screens.  I can’t help but feel a thrill when I get to “choose an identity.”  It sounds so limitless, right?  Who will I be today?  Maybe I’ll be a crotchety hillbilly yodeling apprentice.  Then again, maybe today I’m in a mood to channel Zsa Zsa Gabor and tell everyone their posts are mahvelous, dahling.  Sometimes I comment as Luke Skywalker just for kicks.  For the record, someone else (definitely not me) is spending a lot of time pretending to be Keeping You Awake on all the erectile dysfunction message boards.  If I landed the writer of automatically generated form thingies gig, I think I’d replace “Anonymous” with “a bad mother SHUT YOUR MOUTH.”  This gig is totally mine for the taking, right?

I can credit one artist in particular for truly sparking my interest in the field of copy writing for those automatically generated form thingies.  (Fuck it.  That is now the official job title.  I have spoken.)  Her (or his) work is genre shattering.  I first came across his brilliance buying my groceries at the ShopRite of Hoboken.  As per usual, I didn’t want to pay with cash since it’s terribly inconvenient to carry around those huge stacks of singles, so I whipped out my credit card and headed to the card swiping machine-a-whatzit (also the industry accepted term).  It starts out all innocent, like your average every day card swiping machine-a-whatzit.  “Please swipe card.”  Check.  “Choose card type.”  Yawn.  “Enter secret code.”

Squee! Secret code!!!!!

Aw yeah!  I will never, ever call it a pin number again.  Can you just imagine my next visit to the bank?  “And what is your pin number, ma’am?” they’ll ask.  I’ll reply, “Excuse me sir, I believe you meant to ask me for my secret code.”  Then I’ll pull the rip cord on my jet pack and make my speedy escape to the speed boat waiting for me in the middle of the Hudson River.

Note to self:  Once you land this sweet ass copy writing for those automatically generated form thingies gig, add “secret agent man” to the possible list of identities on the “leave your comment” form.

Seriously though, I’m all about rocking covert operations in my imagination (as you might have guessed already), so I’m grateful to my mentor for adding that little thrill to the boring chore of grocery shopping.  Knowing that my excursion will end with using my secret code, I find the entire expedition exhilarating.  Artichokes suddenly look like hand grenades – I lob them into the carts of slow moving patrons blocking my egress.  Wasabi peas scattered on the linoleum floor would doubtlessly send an enemy spy sprawling as they pursued me through the bread aisle.  I monitor the cryptic announcements over the PA system and try to decipher government communications, hoping to aid the rebels annexed to the liquor section.  No one with a scanner can be trusted.  One time, I even stomach crawled to retrieve a highly sought after carton of eggs, but I don’t recommend getting that close to the floor vents unless your store has a more aggressive dusting regime.

Imagine if we worked “secret code” into all the card swiping machine-a-whatzits nationwide!  At the drugstore patrons could fashion a flamethrower from a can of hairspray and a bic lighter.  At Target, they could fashion pup tents out of the maternity wear.  Oh wait, Target sells tents.  Come to think of it, Target sells everything.  Target doesn’t need the stinking “secret code,” it’s exciting enough as it is.  Technically I can buy hairspray and lighters at the grocery store, so maybe the drugstore doesn’t need the “secret code” either.

Shit.  I thing I just talked myself right out of a gig.

Say, can I practice my tinnitus noise on you?


  1. I’d buy into a hole in the wall that made me guess how much cash I was tranferring into where, sheesh, anything to break the boredom, ya’ know? Sounds good to me.

    Nah, not the tintinitus whatyamacallit tho’, I have enough white noise from hubby, thanks. But it might be a good career direction for you, if you swim with dolphins, that is.

    Thanks for brighening up my Thursday, I am never disappointed here!
    .-= shrinky´s last blog ..It Wasn’t me ! =-.

  2. I want to make up the captcha codes……..mainly just because I want to make the prim and proper of society have to type things like “dirty sanchez” and “wind tunnel”. I do realize they would probably not understand the significance of what they were typing, but that’s okay because I would know and life in my head is all about amusing ME!!!
    .-= Wicked Shawn´s last blog ..Wicked Wednesday Q & A =-.

  3. I have never trusted those dudes with the scanners. You really have to keep your eye on them. Even if it means walking backwards while still pushing an overly full grocery cart into other patrons. Whatever. They are not sneaking up on me.

    Sean and I play “secret agent” in Walmart sometime. Don’t forget to talk into your watch like it’s a walkie talkie. Except I don’t wear a watch so I’m just talking to my wrist.

    Do you want my secret code now? In mandarin or spanish??

    You crack my shit up Elly.
    .-= Spot´s last blog ..For the love of Bob, make your own damn dinner!! =-.

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