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  • John M Donovan

I Prefer My Spam Fried

I’ve had a profile on LinkedIn for at least eleven years. It’s been an invaluable asset to my professional life, providing me countless networking connections and lucrative freelance contracts.


I’m kidding, of course.


Oh, I’ve caught up with some old friends and picked up a small handful of jobs here and there, but mostly I’ve just kept my profile up to date just in case some marketing department person ever had a need for some good radio advertising. In January 2022 I changed the header on my profile to “Mostly Retired But Still Willing to Write and Produce Radio Spots.”


Letting people know I was mostly retired did not result in any more job offers. But it didn’t result in any fewer, either.


Enter Clair Schmenkman.


Clair Schmenkman is not her real name. I got a connection request from her a few months ago and since I don’t curate my LinkedIn connections list as stringently as I do my Facebook friends list, I said sure, what the hey, why not. Her profile said she was a franchise recruiter in the Des Moines metropolitan area. I was pretty sure I would never have any need for franchise recruitment services, but one never knows.


On June 14 Ms Schmenkman sent me a message on LinkedIn. It seems she had recently had the opportunity to help Des Moines area professionals explore ways to create additional income streams. She informed me that she had access to over 500 franchises and could offer me a wealth of information about franchising. If I were interested, in fact, I could book some time directly on her calendar.


Oddly enough, though, her calendar was under the name of Clair Spooflacker. Wait, I said—is it Shmenkman or Spooflacker? This seemed a little shady, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt because heck, maybe her maiden name was Schmenkman and she was so giddy about being in the honeymoon phase of her marriage to Mr Spooflacker that she just hadn’t updated her calendar page. Or the other way around.


I ignored the message, but on June 20 she wrote again: “Dear John M,” she said, “I never heard back.”


And then she proceeded to paste the copy from the message I’d ignored six days earlier.


Now, I’ve never used LinkedIn to promote my services to marketing departments or ad agencies or anyone else. My profile is there if anyone wants to take a look. My motto might well be “Spam not, lest ye be spammed.” So I responded with mock disingenuousness to Ms Schmenkman-Spooflacker, asking if she was wanting to hire me to write some radio spots.


On June 21 at 11:30 pm, Clair wrote back: “Thanks for responding. I apologize for the confusion, but I would like to clarify that this is an opportunity for franchise ownership rather than an offer of employment.”


On Wednesday the 22nd, I sent a reply: “Oh, there’s no confusion. I knew what you were up to. I just wondered what it was about my profile that made you think I wanted to be spammed.”


Her reply came at two freaking fifteen in the morning: “Thanks for responding. I apologize for the confusion, but I would like to clarify that this is an opportunity for franchise ownership rather than an offer of employment.”


I don’t think I’ve ever unlinked from anybody on LinkedIn. Clair might be the first.


Or I might just respond and see where this goes.



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Let’s talk about appositives.* To be more specific, let’s talk about appositives and why the hell so many “writers” in the fields of PR and journalism don’t know how to punctuate them. (Uh-oh. He put