Dear Ms. Danan,

We regret to inform you that your application for more hours in the day has been rejected.

As you know, after years of people complaining that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the Extended Day Program to provide eligible citizens with extra hours. Each year, millions of Americans qualify for a 26-hour weekday.

Unfortunately, we don’t have time to meet with every rejected applicant — and that’s with our 30-hour government weekday! — but here are a few of the weak spots in your claim, which may help you understand why you were not approved.

In Section B, you were asked to list your previous day’s schedule. We were not impressed to learn that you started your day by lying in bed for 45 minutes googling the signs and symptoms of peptic ulcers.

Similarly, by our calculations, you spent approximately 1.5 hours throughout the day eating while standing in front of the open fridge. To your credit, you did sometimes multitask by scrolling through Yotam Ottolenghi’s Instagram while snacking on the crusts you cut off your son’s sandwich.

Yes, you couldn’t avoid wasting nearly two hours commuting to and from work. But instead of using that time productively, you report that you spent almost all of your commute home fixating on a particularly tender, well-formed chin pimple. And then, after you finally got home and were able to pop it, you spent 10 minutes texting with your husband about it.

From 8:00 pm to 9:15 pm, you scrolled through your five paid streaming services to find a TV show to watch, before finally settling on the second half of an episode of MasterChef Junior that happened to be on. Much to our dismay, the hours of 10:15 pm to 11:00 pm were squandered with fluffing out your hair from the roots in the bathroom mirror while lip-syncing “She Works Hard for the Money.”

Beside the hours of 11:00 pm to 1:00 am, you’ve written simply “???”

Finally, you spent a combined three hours trying all the different coffee flavors in your company’s Keurig, playing a game on your phone where you shoot scallops at sea otters, and putting things in your Amazon cart but then not purchasing them.

It appears you only actually worked for a total of one hour and 20 minutes, and you report that you slept from the hours of 1:00 am to 6:30 am, so it’s clear you could use more time to work and sleep. Yet in Section C — where we asked you how you would use the extra two hours to improve your life—your response was that you would “spend more time tweezing [your] eyebrows,” “bake homemade cornbread,” and “finally finish Battlestar Galactica.

We encourage you not to apply again next year, but instead to take a long, hard look in the mirror (preferably without Donna Summer playing in the background) and think about ways you could be more efficient with the 24 hours you do have.

Roland Brinkerhoff
Director, Extended Day Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services