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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

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10/14/2002, 2:02AM, EST
Subject: you're the one!

Hey bulb head. I'd like to take this moment to thank you. i have been waiting so long for someone like you, someone who understands me, someone who will accept me. my diminutive size has been an overwhelming obstacle my entire life, until now! i want you to know that, as a person who has been ridiculed their whole life, i am very sympathetic and accepting of others. your lack of a love tool does not matter to me. in fact, we could have a lot of fun experimenting with different options if you'd like. how do you feel about substituting fresh raw vegetables in place of your natural body parts? my fridge is full of carrots and zucchini that i am very fond of. or, if you prefer, you could work me over with a chinese eggplant as long as you allow me to prepare you a delicious stir-fry with the love-soaked vegetables from our booty-bumping extravaganza. pleas write back soon. you're the one. i can't wait to shove my tiny size 2 foot into your steaming man-sized anus. –Ad Respondent

[Insert here a lost but brief response from Ad Author, which basically just said, "Are you serious? I’ll get back with you soon. I’m busy and my parents are coming in town today. I do actually have a penis, by the way -- I hope you didn’t really think this was true." It got no direct response.]

10/17/2002, 1:51:36AM, EST
Subject: re:you're the one!

Hey Ad Respondent:

So was this message serious or what? It's a total enigma to me -- I can't detect any real tone, etc. I really have no idea. So far my best guesses fall along these lines:

1. your message is totally serious (the veggie bit, etc.) and you're really interested in me (cool.)
2. your message is not too serious (veggies), but jokey, and you are nevertheless interested in me (cool.) .
3. your message is angry and/or nihilistic and you are just reproducing, or trying to top, my 'sarcasm' - and/or you were offended by my ad (sorry.)

What made you say that I'm 'the one'? When I said your message (below) was hilarious I wasn't making fun of you. It's fine if you're really into this -- I've never used any veggies before tho. It surprised me, but I don't think this is weird or crazy. In fact, it is rather interesting -- shit, I'll do anything. The last line is a little ambiguous tho -- kind of like you want to shove your foot up my ass, in anger. Are you serious about having had problems with size all your life? If so, I'm really sorry. I guess you know now that most (but not all) of my ad was silly/sarcastic/BS, but I thought people would get it -- I hope I didn't mislead you. Email has so many drawbacks. I'm really curious now so it'd be great if you wrote me back. I'll answer any questions you ask me honestly, if you have any. Meantime, I can't figure you out. Please write me even if it's just to say 'fuck off you idiot' (and feel free to use these exact words).

-Ad Author

ps - my anus is rather small and (hopefully) never steams...ha ha!
[insert email addy]

10/18/2002, 5:21:05PM, EST
Subject: re:you're the one!

um, that depends what you mean by serious. my friend and i were just bored and came across your ad and thought it was kind of funny but also kind of retarded. we were just playing with you for entertainment. i don't really understand why you'd post an ad like that though if you really want to meet someone. the only thing anyone can tell about you at all from that ad is that you're kind of a joker, but what are you afraid to reveal about yourself? your sense of humor could be seen as an asset, but not to the extent that you're using it. you seem to be making fun of the whole process, like you don't really want anyone to respond seriously. maybe you don't. but if you do, i would rethink your ad and put up a real photo or else what's the point? you're just wasting your time and everyone else's.

10/20/2002, 5:16:37PM, EST
Subject: re:you're the ones!

Hey Ad Respondent:

Kudos to you and your friend on totally having me going for a while there! Shit, you got me good. I’m a sucker.

Anyway, just to respond to a couple of your comments: I must say that putting out these ads and constantly modifying them has not been a personal waste of my time (and if it has, it has been at least a positive way of wasting it, one that counters the tendency towards total instrumentalization and goal-orientation of every aspect of life/sociality in late capitalism). As for wasting others’ time, well, you don’t have to look at an ad for, what, more than about 30 seconds, if you read it ALL. If it made someone laugh, or think, then that’s not a waste. You didn’t have to ‘waste’ your time by responding to it (in an admittedly very funny message) -- you made that choice, you took the time. You also even spent a little money! (blush) You are right that I am making fun of the whole process in posting that kind of ad -- you have to admit though that the whole process is absurd (*despite it’s merits*), as evidenced by the very notion that we are putting out ADS (=advertisements), advertising our selves to others -- vying for the attention of others who are browsing/shopping (in virtual space you can stare at a picture or scrutinize an ad as long as you want, whereas in public you can’t gawk or interrogate a random stranger on what kinds of things are in his/her bedroom etc.) -- all within the structure of a universal, predetermined, objective form(at). Meeting someone like this is very calculated, cold and mechanical as opposed to warm and organic and unfolding – since so much informal information is lost in (particularly e-mail) electronic transmission: tone, body language and gesture etc… This is, to me, a symptom of the creepy spread of a marketing/commodity logic into the personal realm, and is similar in some ways to the bizarre habit that people have of making themselves into walking billboards/advertisements by wearing clothes that prominently feature corporate logos. (They should be paid.) It also points at an increased alienation and atomization of people in connection with (but not due solely to) the crisis of public space and the proliferation of digital communications technology. I’ve been at this personal ad thing long enough to gather that the self that people present in the ad is more often than not somewhat of a distortion and misrepresentation (even when it is not ‘intentional’ as with me) -- that the ‘voice’ that comes out of the ad is often a voice you may never or rarely hear coming straight from that person in face-to-face, or even mediated real-time, interaction. But in reality anything that our subjectivities produce is part of our selves in the broader sense -- so, granted, the technology is bringing out rather new ways of presenting the self, which is always in flux, changing and unstable. There can be no ‘inauthenticity’. Being a non-humanist and pro-tech, I’m definitely not saying that this kind of thing is either all good or all bad – it is just different, new, and really perverse. Ads like mine say more about who I am indirectly than many attempt to say about a self directly; my ad is trying to make a point by extending the inherent absurdity toward its logical extreme.

I do care about meeting people and the pic is ‘real’ (really me). Have a good day and good luck with your vegetables! I suspect that there is something deeper to your veggie fantasy besides just the joke it served…Which is OKAY. ha ha ;)

[insert here Ad Author’s real name]

10/20/2002, 11:47PM, EST
Subject: re:you're the ones!

i can't wait to put my size 2 foot in your ass so you can't defecate out any more of this garbage. good luck to you too! :)