Commentary

A Student-led publication, VistA exists to promote the voices of North Park students through thoughtful and engaging DIALOGUE via the written word.

Cornerstone Writing Awards: Philip Syrén

This past April, North Park held the first-ever Cornerstone Writing Awards, an event that recognized exemplary first-year student writing in four categories: "Comparison," "Analysis," "Narrative," and "Reflective." Winning writers received a $100 prize as well as the opportunity to read their work to an audience comprised of Cornerstone peers and faculty.

This essay is the winner of the Narrative category and was written for Latoya Wolfe's class. 

The Swedish Banker with a Serious Control Issue

To Whom (luckily chosen) It May Concern, 

I would like to welcome and congratulate you! You have come to an office, insurance company and place of work where hard work is not only remunerated, but also gives you great opportunities. I took mine, thus that is why I’m in the US studying when you are reading this. As my job, its duties, responsibilities, pros and cons are succeeded by you, I'll be your guide from now on. If you look straight ahead of you (not on the computer screen – above it) and to the right side of the door there is a small, dark blue, Hamilton locker. The code to open it is hidden underneath the painting behind you, depicting King Carl XVI Gustaf.  When you succeed opening it, you'll notice one hundred and twenty-four well-structured documents placed in plastic folders with a cover sheet for each date until the 20th of May 2018. That is the day on which I’ll return to office. Each document describes what your day will look like, who you’ll have a meeting with, what you must do and at what restaurant I’ve booked your lunch. The one you’re holding in your hand right now is the first document, describing your first day. Today we’ll do one of my favorite things; open a Swedish insurance with a Luxembourg bank.  

Please, sit back in the moderately comfortable chair I bought at IKEA two years ago.

Breath, read and follow my instructions carefully. 

Step one might be the toughest one; to find a prospect (i.e. soon to be our client) who you’ve acknowledged is interested in opening an insurance of our type. Since I neither know or trust you, I’ve arranged this for you already. 13:30 PM you’re meeting this woman named Bodil Svensson. I’ve kept an eye on her in the taxpayers' directory for a while and can insure you that she (and we) will financially benefit from this insurance setup. It's highly important that the prospect feels comfortable. Considering the fact that Bodil is 78 years old, the meeting will be held in the small conference room at our office just by the entrance, not far enough to make her want to walk back home before taking a seat. You must go to the local bakery across the road, buy and during the meeting serve her fresh chocolate chip cookies with one glass of cold milk (35 to 40°F) and one cup of coffee (180 to 185°F). Start the conversation by talking about how beautiful it is on the Swedish west coast (she has a summerhouse there according to one of her Facebook statuses). 

            The second step is all about formalities and – believe it or not – I’ve got you covered on this one as well. In the brown plastic envelope on the desk in front of you, there are ninety-three pages of documents marked with yellow post it-notes. Those are contracts, agreements and application forms to be signed. I have filled in all the information in advance, including Bodils name. Bring the papers to the conference room and place them in the middle of the desk, just by the scented light.

Since I helped you out with the two first steps, the third one will be a bit more difficult.

From here, you’ll have to start improvising answers depending on what the prospect says to you. Although, it’s very important that you guide the conversation to end up in one of the following prospect conclusions; 1) “Hey, I’d love to sign those papers”, 2) “Are you done talking? Let’s do business”, or 3) “Just shut up and take my money”. Sentences of the same meaning fixed in other words are OK too.

Once you’ve got all of the papers signed, put all of them in one of the envelopes I have placed on top of the cabinet in the print room. Close the envelope, place a stamp for international mail on it and enter the address written on the red post it-note on the computer screen in front of you. Make sure to underline the recipient country "Luxembourg". Put it on the mailbox.

Reading this instruction took you approximately eight minutes and fourty seconds, given the fact that you have an IQ above at least 82. That means you now have one hour and fifty-two minutes to look through the papers, go to the bakery, prepare the conference room and get yourself some lunch before the meeting. Today you are eating at Grand Hôtel. 

And please, tighten your tie.

Continue exploring the other award-winning essays.

Cornerstone Writing Awards: Elizabeth Jaurigue

Cornerstone Writing Awards

Cornerstone Writing Awards