Dear Ethan,

Thank you for the resume and cover letter stating your interest in being an intern on the set of our big budget, blockbuster, really fun Hollywood film. Unfortunately, we’re not currently looking to hire any new interns. It’s not necessarily the case that we’re overbooked, because we could always use more people to get us coffee. The problem stems from the fact that you are not directly related to anyone working on the film, or anyone that I personally know, or anyone that I want to know, or anyone that I want to have sex with. As is the case for major motion picture studios, we do most of our hiring through a blatant nepotistic system.

Additionally, on your cover letter, you stated that you enjoy “off-beat, character-driven films from unique perspectives that are mixtures of comedy and drama.” We apologize for the confusion, but this is the film industry. We mostly like explosions here. Big explosions. Like, really big. The bigger, the better — explosion-wise, I mean. If I’m not making myself clear, try imagining the biggest explosion you can. Now imagine it on IMAX. That’s kinda what we’re into here. Also, imagine it in 3-D.

We’re sorry things aren’t going to work out, because we thought you had a terrific sense of humor. In particular, we loved your joke about how you were looking for a “paid” internship. We passed that one around the set — the producer’s assistants all got a real kick out of it, so thank you.

We would love to work with you at some point — but obviously now is not the time. If we have one recommendation for you, should you decide to reapply, it’s that you go back in time roughly 35 years and convince your parents to go into the entertainment industry instead of law and education.


Successful Hollywood Producer

Dear Ethan,

This letter is to inform you that we have received your application to be an Adult for the term beginning in May 2011. After reviewing our applications, we regret to inform you that your application has been deferred indefinitely. It was a very difficult year for Adult applicants, and the competition was as strong as we’ve ever seen it. However, you were, as a candidate, unqualified to the extent that we would like to offer some assistance in crafting a more successful application.

Though you were able to entirely fill out the “Cooking” section of the application, your variety left something to be desired. Do you really expect the committee to believe that you have subsisted on nothing but pasta since you began living off campus? What kind of grown human being is complacent to live only on reheated Newman’s marinara sauce and De Cecco spaghetti, meal after meal, day after day? Why don’t you just take 20 minutes and learn how to marinate a goddamn chicken? Is it really true that you have yet to cook canned soup because you’re too embarrassed to admit to your roommates that you don’t know how to use a can opener? Additionally, although we appreciate the extra recipe, we do not count making “toast” as a culinary feat (even if heating is involved).

Furthermore, the entire committee had to read your “Life Skills” section of the application twice to make sure it wasn’t a joke. Do you really expect to be an Adult next year if you don’t own a credit card? Just apply for a credit card. No, a credit card. It is different from a debit card. Oh, you do have a credit card, you’re just confused. Well, how the hell do you expect to do your taxes if you don’t even know what a credit card is? Oh, and, “IRS” is not a mid-nineties rap group.

The rest of your application was just pathetic. Real Adults don’t need to set four alarms to wake themselves up in the morning (though we reluctantly admit that your rigid “cell phone, alarm clock, laptop, roommate chronological system” was somewhat impressive). Moreover, “morning” is, like, around 7 or 8 a.m. 11 a.m. is not morning. Many Adults eat lunch around 11:30 or so, not breakfast. Or whatever the hell it is you call toast and pasta. As for your personal essay, thinking the word “poop” is funny is no longer funny. It’s juvenile. And the fact that you still get excited over Halloween and your subsequent costume is a tell-tale sign that you’re simply not ready to enter the Adult world. At first, we thought your excitement in picking Halloween costumes was ironic. But your enthusiasm suggests otherwise. For the love of Christ, you own two Buzz Lightyear costumes and only one suit. This is an actual, true fact. How the hell do you expect to function in the outside world? It’s a good thing we’re not granting you admission, that’s for sure!

We very much encourage you to apply again to be an Adult in the future. For the time being, we recommend that you take another four years for personal reflection, exploring miscellaneous academic and creative pursuits, and not worrying about any sort of finances or earthly cares. And if that doesn’t work out, your parents may have a bed you can crash on.


The World

Dear Ethan,

Congratulations! On behalf of the entire McDonald’s staff here in Leadville, Colorado, we are excited to have you aboard — and can’t wait to “see you smile!”

In your interview, you voiced concern over whether your skills as an English major from Yale University would translate to the job of “House Service / Fry Cook”. Believe it or not, you couldn’t be in better company — four of our seven employees recently graduated from Ivy League institutions, and six of the seven were English majors! And there you were, worried that your English degree wouldn’t translate to the real world! Coincidentally enough, our previous fry cook, Phillip, was also a creative writing concentrator at Yale. He even wrote a screenplay for his senior project — just like you! Between your experiences with the Yale Creative Writing Concentration and the English major in general, you two will definitely have a lot to talk about (but do make sure he talks to you about properly setting the grill’s temperature. This is very important).

As for the rest of your skills, we couldn’t be more excited that you’ve studied playwriting. Your in-depth analysis and familiarity with Shakespearean characters and universal character archetypes will definitely come in handy when you’re giving out premiere Walt Disney Pictures “Tangled” (c) collectible figurines! Which character should you put in which Happy Meal bag? We’re sure that it shouldn’t be a problem for a playwright such as yourself!

Finally, it’s terrific that you spent the past four years performing with an improv troupe. We will probably need you to help out with the Drive Thru line during Tammy’s cigarette breaks, and you’ll certainly have to think on your feet when you’re taking an average of 42 orders an hour. Just don’t crack too many jokes on the headphones! But seriously, our menu speaker is partially busted and customers normally have to clarify their orders in person. Again, we’re very serious about this — don’t actually crack too many jokes on the headphones. It aggravates the customers.

Thanks, and again, welcome aboard!


Jonathan Safran Foer

Staff Manager, McDonald’s

P.S. If you have any friends who majored in American Studies, please let them know that we’re looking for a new busboy.