[Yesterday’s Date / so it looks like / I applied earlier]

[Your address
That I copied and pasted over the address
That was here in my last cover letter.
This line is the same because there is only one city in this Podunk, STATE]

Dear Person Who Isn’t Actually On the Search Committee,

I am writing to apply for this job that I am in no way qualified for that I saw advertised on Craigslist just now at 1:30 am. I drank my way through college at Overpriced University and graduated with a B.A in English, no real skills, limited sexual conquests and a mountain of debt. After graduating I interned for a year at a firm where I worked long hours acquiring no skills. I’m told this was rewarding work, and yet I was paid nothing while my debt grew into the hulking monster that now haunts my fitful dreams. My girlfriend (we met at Overpriced U.) left me for one of the partners at the firm’s Christmas party, which helped me develop the one tangible ability I gained during my internship—weeping silently in a bathroom stall. I feel that my Overpriced education combined with the devastating loneliness and diminished sense of self-worth I developed during my time at Bastard & Girlfriend Thief make me a strong candidate for this position, for which I have no chance of being hired.

I’m especially interested in a job that pays money, because I have the unrealistic dream of paying off my debt by the time I retire. Since leaving Bastard & Girlfriend Thief, I’ve moved back in with my parents and I am motivated to join your company (any company really—seriously I’ll do anything) because my mother’s meatloaf could and probably has killed men with much stronger intestines than mine. I hope that you’ll note on my résumé that I listed several fictional entries under community service at the bottom of the page because I knew that you had no way to verify this employment and let’s face it—without some embellishment there’s a lot of white space for me to fill. I feel that these experiences I never had attest to the community-oriented individual that I wish I were, and I feel that as a result of this I am comfortable pretending to be qualified for this job.

I’d be frightened at the prospect of elaborating on my limited experience during an interview, but if by some miracle you invite me in I’ll borrow one of my father’s grotesque, dated neckties and give it my best shot. I’ll be honest, though—the whole time you’re asking me to describe my personality in five words or recall an experience where I ‘thought outside the box’ I’ll be imagining what my next girlfriend will look like arching her back on the desk you’re sitting behind—the white cotton fluff at the end of her Santa hat swinging in a way that makes me turn in on myself like the spirals and whorls of a snail’s shell—the world no longer turning, the two glasses of cheap fruit punch falling from my numbed and useless fingertips as the life I was told I was earning is stripped away by a foolish looking man I fetched coffee for every day—lured by the promise of a sloppily written letter of reference for a job just like the one for which I’m now applying.

So. Brush this letter aside like all the letters I’ve written and will write to men just like you. Spare me the indignity of reliving the nightmare that my life has become and don’t call my mother’s phone or email me at my embarrassing Hotmail email address. We both understand that I won’t ever hear from you because you don’t have the common decency to tell me or the hundreds of other applicants just like me that you hired your golfing buddy’s kid, Kevin. But know that I want this job in spite of everything. That I need it. Know that I could do it, and do it well if given the chance, that I could fight off the savage beast my debt has become and forge ahead into a paradise I’m capable of building for myself with my own two hands—slashing through the air-tight confines that the world has built around me and becoming a man even I couldn’t anticipate I’d be. Understand that in the chaos of opportunity I will inspire and awe you—that I’ll emerge on the other side of this brutal gauntlet a thrilling, colorful success story: filled with the sort of magic and promise and beauty that radiates blinding, glorious, pulsing light and requires new words—a new language—to define.

A Mediocre Applicant