Be Thankful Your Mom Didn’t Send This Email to Your Boss

Could you imagine emailing the CEO of the company where your child is about to intern to make sure he'll be, uh, comfortable? Writer Courtney Zoffness takes a hysterical look at helicopter parenting.

june 2015 department of witSteve Wacksman for Reader's DigestFrom: <[email protected]>

Date: Sun, May 31, 2015, at 12:31 AM

Subject: Gary’s internship

To: Tuck Lanson, CEO <[email protected]>

Dear Tuck,

Gary is excited to start his weeklong internship at Lanson Corp. tomorrow! It occurs to me that there are a few small  issues that may (or may not!) arise during his time there.  I’m sure everything will be fine, but I’m his mom. And  moms worry.

1. Gary’s really concerned about doing a good job. If you could request that your employees furnish him with compliments and positive feedback—which I have no doubt he’d earn, so it wouldn’t be insincere—that would be so great.

2. Gary is weak in the math department and thus has apprehensions about tasks related but not limited to numbers, sequences, patterns, proportions, and general quantification. I’ve given him $15 for lunch, which should cover a sandwich and chips (no soda, please), but he may get worked up when a cashier prompts him for money or he attempts to count his change. Perhaps you can assign someone to negotiate these dealings with/for him?

3. Gary has inflammatory acne. He’s taking doxycycline, which seems to be helping, but it’s giving him diarrhea, which has led to dehydration, which has led to halitosis. Please don’t take it as a sign of disrespect if he’s popping mints while chatting with you. Trust me: It’s actually a sign of respect! (Pee-eww!) Also, I read that his medication can be deactivated if he’s too close to a microwave, so if you could seat him in a cubicle far from the kitchen, that would be ideal.

4. My son has a history of orthodontic issues that I may as well address. Gary has exceptionally large teeth and a small jaw, and when he was 12, the dentist pulled four of his molars to prevent overcrowding. Though Gary wore headgear for years, his teeth never moved to fill in the gaps. Now he wears a retainer garnished with four fake teeth, which he has to remove to eat. Doing so makes him extremely self-conscious. Is there somewhere he can dine by himself (your office?) so no one will catch sight of his situation?

5. While Gary is of perfectly  average height for his age,  he feels short. This prompts him to misjudge where his head and feet  are relative to the ceiling and floor.  If Gary requests help fetching something off a shelf within his reach, please comply. As his therapist says, we all have our own realities, and his is as valid as yours or mine.

6. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Gary is allergic to pinecones, pistachios, lime-flavored Life Savers, mite excretion, mouse excretion, and double-sided sticky tape.

And that’s all! (Phew!) Thanks again, Tuck. We can hardly wait.

All best,


P.S. Due to Gary’s anxiety over starting this position, he may get there a little early. Would it be possible  to have someone there to let him in around 6 a.m.?

P.P.S. Alternatively, there’s a chance that, due to his anxiety, he’ll be up all night and will crash around 6 a.m., in which case we’ll need to let him sleep in for a bit. Cool?

Courtney Zoffness is the interim director of creative writing at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

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Courtney Zoffness
Courtney Zoffness is the interim director of creative writing at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.