It dawned on me today that I haven’t talked about made fun of any press releases for a while. It might be because I’m just so sick of them. I have never bothered to count the number of press releases delivered to my inbox every day, but I would say that between 20 and 30 is a conservative estimate. Some of them come to me two or three times, but I’m reluctant to whine to the agencies that send them about having me on their distribution lists more than once lest they get pissy and delete me entirely – and then I’d miss out on all that important news about prizes for best tail or news of miniature ponies becoming international ambassadors. Because SOME of the press releases are interesting,  important or even entertaining.  I need to make room in my day to peruse at least a few of them for the simple reason that sometimes they make me laugh, and not because they were meant to. What humour is better than when it’s inadvertent? 

Take, for example, today’s EC release that starts with the following sentence: “Equine Canada is very pleased to announce that they are seeking an energetic, well organized professional to fill the newly created position of program coordinator – equine medications at the national office in Ottawa.” I guess there are a few people out there who would get positively wet at the idea of a desk job at EC, but I hope I’m not friends with any of them. Now, now before you go calling me Sour Old Patch I’m not saying they’re all deadbeats at EC. Far from it. But over the years I sure have made a lot of calls and sent a lot of emails to people who seemed to no longer have a pulse. I can’t imagine it’s that much fun to have a corpse in the cubicle beside you. ‘Hey can I borrow your…never mind. I forgot you were dead.’ Since when is anyone “very pleased” to be recruiting and interviewing a candidate, unless it’s Paula Abdul asking some buff young dude to remove his shirt on American Idol? I’m also kind of confused about the need for a medications program coordinator. I thought they farmed out the whole drug program to OEF last year.

Let me check my ‘deleted’ folder and see if I can come up with anything chuckle-worthy. Oh here’s one from opening day at WEF (I’ve been assured that if I wear a mask and wig I should have no trouble getting onto the show grounds this year). Nick Skelton won the first money class of slight note, and the press release betrays the reality of being an aging show jumper. Nick underwent hip replacement and shoulder rotator cuff surgery this fall. “With my hip in the end, I couldn’t walk.” I’ll say! It’s really hard to walk with your hip there. “My shoulder I couldn’t get above 90 degrees.” Apparently Nick spent his rehab time at a spa in central Europe, because his diction seems to have taken a turn for the ESL. But hey, Nick. Good on you for coming back! We love your colourful ways. 

The FEI, usually such a great source of material, has been quiet as a Christmas mouse lately. The last bomb they dropped in 2010 was the news in December that the Swiss Olympic team had been awarded the bronze medal they won after the Norwegians were finally dragged off the field like a dead bull (this is not an endorsement of bullfighting…but it’s not not an endorsement either). Imagine those Swiss riders Facebooking all their friends photos of themselves with their medals. It would be a bit of a non-shiny letdown. The things must have a healthy patina of tarnish on them by now, being both two and a half years old and having spent all that time in the damp cold of Norway. 

Let’s see, what else? Oh! I got a ‘Season’s Greetings’ from the World Dressage Masters – on January 1st. Before you ask me why someone would extend season’s greetings on the very day the hangover sets in, check out this little factoid: the press release links directly to the WDM website, on which – wait for it – the WDM Palm Beach 2011 is still perkily displayed as taking place on Feb. 3-5. Here’s a word of advice to WDM and anyone who might be thinking of stepping in to throw that awesomest of dressage shindigs on US soil this year: stop promoting the canceled event and get the word out, for goodness’ sake. 

Ok, enough of that. I won’t subject you to more than one or three press release jabs per month this year. Join me next week as my annual pilgrimage to Florida, also known as Karen’s Carnival of Debauchery and Plastic Surgery, gets under way. I hear I have an interesting neighbour to hang out with when I arrive at St. Andrews…