Being a newspaperman, I hate to say it, but it’s a fact that the infinite spider web of online-digital media does offer the ability to reach the farthest corners of the world, even if the results are … questionable.
Obviously, we can’t boast global coverage as a printed product, having abandoned our one attempt to spread the news far and wide, not that having a newsstand at Nazar’s Goat and Yak Supply Warehouse in Turkmenistan was a good idea to begin with.
But digital media does reach that neck of the woods, as we received an inquiry from that region after we published our story on the cigarette butt receptacles, otherwise known as butt huts, that were being placed at street ends in downtown Ocean City.
This is 100 percent true. A week following the printing of that article, this email popped up in my mailbox:
We have great interest in acquiring your butt and huts and wish many butt and huts to be supplied by you to our international company of trading.
Please sned (sic) your Master Charge info and place of deposit so we may proceed with this great opportunity for sales.
Let’s assume this was an honest inquiry and not an attempt to grab my charge card information for nefarious purposes, such as a shopping spree in downtown Whambamistan.
Also discount the natural suspicion that anyone with no vowels in his or her last name — depending on whether the “sometimes Y” rule applies — is generally up to no good.
The greater concern is the writer’s apparent belief that the butts and huts are separate units, and that he wishes to acquire my butt in particular.
Although my butt has been handed to me more than once over the years, I remain attached to it and vice versa, which is to say we are inseparable.
All this nonsense aside, however, you do have to admit that this story’s arrival at this faraway outpost right after publication is impressive, assuming, of course, that this email wasn’t written by stateside-based Russian sleeper agents determined to destroy democracy by gathering up as many of our butts and huts as possible.
I tend to think this email really did originate in some Stan or another, as most of my foreign email comes from widows in Africa who need my help getting their $20 million inheritances out of the country on the sly.
If I’m correct in my assumption about the writer’s location, I am officially soliciting advertising for anyone who wishes to appeal the Central Asian marketplace.
Obviously, we can reach readers there, even though we have elected to keep our newspapers and our butts at home.