A Letter on Behalf of My Folks to a Real Estate Agent

Mr. [Redacted] –

My name is Jason. My lovely Mother and Father purchased a home with your assistance some years ago. More recently, they sent you business by the way of my Uncle’s recent purchase of a condominium. Everyone was happy with the events that transpired.

We would appreciate the gesture of you sending us gift cards. However, the first one – to my parents – carried a balance of $0.00. The second – to my uncle – was for $7.71.

When we checked the balance on the first card, we were told that it had been purchased at Cotstco and then used at Stanford’s. We do not have the story on the second one. Neither I, nor anyone I have ever met, has sent or received a gift card for the princely sum of $7.71. Perhaps the numbers Seven, seven, and one – in that sequence – have a special meaning to you?

We have our theories as to what this means; this letter shall be only facts.

I assure you, one fact is that this looks far worse than not sending a gift at all, and has only brought you up as a topic of conversation at your expense. We only chose you because we had a non-negative experience in the past. We will not make the mistake again of putting an exceptionally quick and easy commission in your lap.

Do not attempt to correct your error. My parents have no interest in another gift card – especially one to restaurants in Portland, which you and my parents had mutually agreed is not a place that you all like to spend time. We will return the $0.00 and the $7.71 – whatever its significance – for you to use in Portland at your leisure. If we have received another gift card from you in the time before this letter reaches you, we will return it as well.

Please, don’t embarrass yourself by responding. We know you are sorry.


Jason Lackey


I love all of God’s creatures, except for geese. Complete bastards. They crap everywhere, block traffic, and are aggressively territorial. They act ten feet tall, and we have unfortunately trained them that we won’t fight back. They are a bad time wrapped in the makings of their own feather boa.

If you have the opportunity to spend time with a goose, don’t. Unless, of course, you plan on eating it later. Then again, if you consume a goose, you are at the risk of taking on its properties. Don’t risk it for that biscuit, friend.


The America Dream – work hard, treat your fellow neighbor well, have good ideas, and you will enjoy gold-paved roads to your McMansion overlooking your inferiors. It’s dead – I know it, you know it, and – most importantly – the infiltrators in our midst know it.

Indeed, in this day and age, the rising stars of industry are not in social media, crypto currency, or municipal bureaucracy as is popularly conceived. Rather, corporate spies are on the rise. Below is a handy guide detect an adversary within your organization and how to respond in the likely event they are exfiltrating your otherwise secure information.

  • People who are skinny are clearly spies. They maintain svelte physiques as they climb the corporate ladder – literally and figuratively! Getting into server rooms often requires climbing treacherous heights, sneaking through open windows, and making friends with sysadmins. The dwindling frame of a ne’er-do-well also allows them to slip into tight quarters in order to listen to confidential conversations as well as make a quick, squid-like escape when their cover is blown.
  • Similarly, our more portly compatriots are also likely spies. Given that any competent double (or even triple) agent is pulling in multiple large salaries, it is only fitting that they are likely to consume such calorie-rich faire as foie gras, caviar, and Toblerone.
  • A successful infiltrator will by all appearances seem to be a successful colleague. Tell-tale indicators include: getting along amicably with their targets, performing their duties in a manner meeting or exceeding expectations, and an interest in having visibility and interaction with senior management. However, unlike the blood that flows through the veins of yourself and your loved ones, such scoundrels are rather lubricated by a viscous bile which permeates their every tissue and organ. This bile carries with it a seething distaste towards all that is good and decent, and allowing them to earn purchase in your mind and spirit only allows them to gain a closer vantage from which to drive the dagger of their foul intentions.
  • The clearest indicator of a mole tearing at the very roots of your institution is a prior work history with industry peers. Conventional wisdom dictates that over the course of time an individual will gain skills and experience, create more value, and command greater compensation as a consequence. It follows that they manifest all of this by moving roles and organizations over time, gaining a greater breadth and depth of knowledge with regard to their function and the nature of the corporate ecosystem as a whole.

    Friend – this is a foolhardy, naïve, and dim view of the nature of human progress which sadly permeates our society. Do not fall victim to the sirens’ song of complacency which lulls you into a false sense of security in the company you keep. It should be well understood that corporations are capable and attentive observers of the talent and accomplishment of those in their payroll, and are known to be fair and prompt with adjustments of compensation and challenge for their employees. As such, you should strive to surround yourself with those who have been with the organization the longest, or at least those who have suffered the least taint from external enterprises. Your emphasis should be to accumulate the most loyal and dispassionate peers.

  • Another clear sign of the dastardly and bilious foes that will attempt to surround you are people who seem to maintain proud and loving families. Individuals attempting to not stick out in an organization will engineer elaborate background histories so as to seem to fit in with the general population. Notable examples of subversive behavior include discussing anecdotes of their childrens’ growth and development, taking time off during the work day to run errands and attend appointments, and sharing their extracurricular hobbies and interests. Does Bertrand go to the DMV, attend his child’s play about the Water Cycle, and participate in fly-fishing expeditions with old fraternity brothers? All tell-tale signs of a betrayer.

It is important to note that this list is not all-inclusive of the behaviors and symptoms of the spies within your midst. Unfortunately, the clever deceptions and machinations of an infiltrator are as varied and pervasive as the snow crystals that fall in a gentle winter flurry. Without proper diligence, they will similarly accumulate and blanket your surroundings, leading to a chilling and eerily quiet existence for yourself and those you hold dear.

So what are yourself and your trusted compatriots to do in these trying times? Fortunately, researchers and scientists at the Institute for Deception, Infiltration, Obfuscation, Theft, and Sneaking (handily abbreviated as IDIOTS) have developed a handy mnemonic for the concerned employee to diligently defend their employer: FACE.

  • Follow potential spies in their public and personal habits and endeavors. Every moment outside of your dutiful observation is an opportunity to wreak untold damage. Any unaccounted activity is another hole in the sieve that is your security practices.
  • Ask plenty of questions of and about potential adversaries. No question is too personal or invasive. Fumbled romantic advances, medical and financial records, and deep-seated desires and fears fall well within the scope of appropriate inquiry.
  • Constrain their ability to advance within and without your organization. Sow discontent with their performance and behavior. Sabotage their projects. Plant evidence for various felonies and misdemeanors at the local, state, and federal level on their person and property. Casually get them accustomed to an orange wardrobe by gifting them fluorescent outerwear purchased from lesser-esteemed clothiers and retailers.
  • Evade similar actions and behaviors on their part and on the part of others. You cannot be an effective barrier to the ever-encroaching advances of the mal-intentioned if you are otherwise compromised.

Friend, remember to save FACE by listening to IDIOTS. It is your only chance of rooting out the unsavory characters in your midst.