>  
 


Monday 9/19/10 09:30AM
FROM: “John Polcheck” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Daniel Baird
Deputy Director of Records,
Department of Limbic Involvement

Chuck Pierce, Deputy Liason of Auditory Cortex has noted that Audio Artifact 9443 (A.K.A. Madonna‘s hit song “Ray of Light”) has officially exceeded the Prescribed Number of Auditory Samplings (P.N.A.S.). The violation occurred on 9/16/10, 14:26 in Berkeley, CA in the check-out line at the Safeway on Shattuck Avenue, when A.A. 9443 played over the P.A. This being the 611th sampling, all enjoyment of A.A. 9443 was officially exhausted. No enjoyment shall heretofore be derived from the artifact in question. For details concerning the variability of P.N.A.S., please see Appendix C as attached to the handbook for cerebral function. The ruling of the Department of Prefrontal Involvement that the brain at large has become sick of A.A. 9443 takes effect immediately.

John H. Polcheck
Quality Control Representative,
Department of Prefrontal Involvement
a.d.t. Undersecretary to the Dept.

* * *

Monday 9/19/10 12:14PM
FROM: “Barry Steinberg” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Hey Dan,

I just heard about the “Ray of Light” ruling… But don’t fret. I’ve got some pull with the Prefrontals. The Deputy-Director owes me from when I fudged a review. Remember when their department forgot to set the alarm clock and the brain overslept last week? When the body missed that meeting? Let’s just say the Guilt Review for that got postponed indefinitely… Whatever. Catholicism, Shmatholicism. And I’ll just pile it on when the Prefrontals decide we’re in a big hurry and park in a handicapped space again.

Anyway, I’ll see if I can’t bend Polcheck’s ear about the ruling. But go ahead and file an appeal just to be sure.

Barry

* * *

Tuesday 9/20/10 11:12AM
FROM: “Jennifer Sherwood” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Danny,

So not fair about “Ray of Light!” Boo! Have you opened the file yet? Make sure you label everything correctly. That baby’s gonna fly out of there on Nostalgia Review. Look what happened with all those Tears for Fears songs!

Love, Jenny

* * *

Monday 9/26/10 9:30AM
FROM: “John Polcheck” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Daniel Baird
Deputy Secretary of Records
Department of Prefrontal Involvement

The recently filed appeal request, RE: A.A. 9443 has been denied. Artifact will be filed in Subconscious Memory Database (S.M.D.) as scheduled, based on cerebral bylaw no. 1187, which states that P.N.A.S. violations are subject to appeal only after petitions for continuation of enjoyment have been filed with the Department of Prefrontal Involvement.

Please refer to Appeals F.A.Q. in the handbook for further questions, or contact your Director.

Thank you,

John H. Polcheck
Quality Control Representative,
Department of Prefrontal Involvement
a.d.t. Undersecretary to the Dept.

* * *

Monday 9/26/10 11:24AM
FROM: “Barry Steinberg” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Danny Boy,

Well, my so-called friends in the Prefrontal System have bailed on me about the “Ray of Light” ruling. But I am not deterred. But it’s especially lame that this is being handed down now, of all times, right when vacation’s coming up. AND we just got that Post-“Vogue” Madonna mixtape. Don’t think I haven’t thought about that. I’m gonna see about filing a petition. Do you think we can get the signatures in time for vaca?

Laters,

Barry

* * *

Tuesday 9/27/10 2:44PM
FROM: “Jennifer Sherwood” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Dan,

I heard about Barry’s petition against the “Ray of Light” ruling! I am soooo signing, and I’m getting all my girls to sign, too. You guys are the coolest for doing this! Fight the power! Speaking of which, you guys should look into petitioning for “Fight the Power,” too. Can you believe the P.N.A.S. on that one? Those Prefrontals are slipping.

Kisses,

Jenny

* * *

Wednesday 9/28/10 10:22AM
FROM: “Sherman Georen” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Dan the Man! Good on you and Barry’s petition! You coming to Gina’s party on Saturday? Peace, Sherm

* * *

Wednesday 9/28/10 12:03PM
FROM: [email protected]
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Ray of Liiiiiight!!! Nice job fellas! Just signed the petition!

* * *

Wednesday 9/28/10 12:53PM
FROM: “Blake Harring” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Really? Madonna? What happened when, “Radio, Radio” got the ax last week? I seem to recall “My Funny Valentine” going not too long before that. If you’re going to challenge the Prefrontals, you could at least pick something decent to fight over. Blake

* * *

Wednesday 9/28/10 12:58PM
FROM: “Matt Ortt” <[email protected]>

And I feeeeeeel! Like I just got home! And I feeeeeel! Did you move your cubicle? I was walking around like an asshole for like ten minutes at lunch. Matt

* * *

Wednesday 9/28/10 1:23PM
FROM: “Barry Steinberg” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Danny,

Dude, there’s like fifty people filing past my desk right now signing our petition! It’s totally happening. And by “people,” I mean hot assistants. But really, you should come down here.

Barry

* * *

Monday 10/2/10 9:30AM
FROM: “John Polcheck” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

Daniel Baird
Deputy Director of Records,
Department of Limbic Involvement

The ruling that A.A. 9443 be filed into Subconscious Memory Database has been officially overturned, due to a successful petition and appeals process by several junior employees in the D.L.I. The P.N.A.S. requirements for A.A. 9443 are under review and will be issued next quarter.

John H. Polcheck
Quality Control Representative,
Department of Prefrontal Involvement
a.d.t. Undersecretary to the Dept.

* * *

Monday 10/2/10 9:54AM
FROM: “Barry Steinberg” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

TO: “Daniel Baird” [email protected]>

U-S-A! U-S-A! Dude, if we don’t leverage this to get back some of those Springsteen songs, we’re not men. Are we not men, Danny Boy? And that Sherry chick asked about you. She’s a Madonna fan, that one.

* * *

Monday 10/2/10 12:37PM
FROM: “Matt Ortt” <[email protected]>
TO: “Daniel Baird” <[email protected]>

She’s got herself a universe! And I feeeeeeeeeeeeel! Nice work, Man.

 

TAGS: , ,

NATHAN PENSKY is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at Mills College and has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, MONKEYBICYCLE, and many others. He is an Associate Flash Fiction/Fiction Editor for the online literary journal JMWW, and a frequent contributor for the pop culture website PopMatters.

15 responses to “Cerebral Memoranda, RE: Madonna’s “Ray of Light””

  1. Erika Rae says:

    This is AWESOME. I like the way your brain works. (Quicker than a ray of light, apparently)

    • Nathan Pensky says:

      Thanks, Erika. Except my brain works more at the speed of a Johnny Cash song than a Madonna one. She’s way too quick for me.

  2. Gregory Messina says:

    Awesomely smart and quirky. I enjoyed this very much, Nathan.

  3. Zara Potts says:

    Everytime I see your name, I’m never quite sure of what I’ll find.
    Everytime I’m surprised and amused and happy that you’re here.
    Thank you for your extraordinary brain!

  4. Irene Zion says:

    How did I not know you before?
    Well, now I do.
    I won’t miss any more.

  5. Meg Worden says:

    Yes, Nathan, I am also now a fan of your hilarious brain. Thanks for this!

  6. Jessica Blau says:

    Hilarious! Love it!
    (I would have signed that petition, too!)

  7. Richard Cox says:

    This is brilliant. Very nicely done.

    I’m a big fan of Madonna’s work. Certainly she’s consistently found a way to stay relevant…far longer than one might have expected after hearing “Lucky Star” for the first time.

    In any case, you picked the perfect song for this, I think.

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    Nathan, have you seen the episode of Seinfeld where George gets told he’s ‘Not Pensky material’?

    You, sir, are Pensky material.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *