Letter of Recommendation
by Kurt Luchs

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my pleasure to recommend Kurt Luchs for employment at your company. I have known Kurt for nearly six years and I can honestly say that I have not known any other Kurt for nearly as long.

Kurt was with our firm, Pendleton Tool & Die Col, for five and a half of those years. His employment with us ended amicably and by mutual agreement between both parties and the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, Kurt was so dedicated that he stopped coming in each morning only when his desk was removed and the locks were changed. Every once in a while, I think I see his face behind a ventilation grille.

During his tenure with us, Kurt held a number of positions reflecting his range of talents and responsibilities: administrative assistant, assistant to the administrator, assistant administrator's aide, administering assistant's associate, and filing clerk. While it would be an exaggeration to say that he performed all his duties, it would be entirely fair to say that he performed them all equally well. In fact there was s a consistency and tone to Kurt's job performance which I have never before seen in a living employee--call it an almost supernatural sense of calm. There were times when only a mirror held to Kurt's nostrils would reveal the fiery spirit and pulsing intellect within.

I credit Kurt entirely for inspiring the recent overhaul of our human-resources department's background-checking system. His knack for creative self-expression, but which he transformed a three-year stretch in a state reformatory into an M.B.A. from Harvard, was a constant source of amusement.

While some people can be described as "all heart" or "all head", the best way to describe Kurt is "all hands." from a friendly pat on the behind to a friendly pat of button on the chest, he touched his female colleagues in more mays than most of them had ever heard of.

He was close to his male co-workers, too: in fact, on several occasions it took a stun gun to pry them apart. There were a few who had a hard time seeing Kurt's good-natured rough-housing in the proper light. But in my opinion he never crossed the all-important line between first-degree manslaughter and second-degree murder.

I envy the next company that adds Kurt to its payroll. Why? because hiring Kurt is like getting a free law-school education. You may think you understand the First Amendment, but I'll bet you had no idea that an employee has the constitutional right to emit sudden, piercing shrieks and deafening bursts of profanity near a fellow-worker operating an industrial laser.

Kurt also displayed an uncommon willingness and ability to follow instructions--not my instructions but, rather, those he received from the voice in his head.

Kurt's influence on everyone in our company was so extensive that there are still employees who won't start their cars without checking under the hood first. You as how and why Kurt left our company. Unfortunately, a court order prevents me from sharing all the details. But I can say in perfect candor that I heartily recommend Kurt as a resourceful and indefatigable addition to some other firm--any other firm.

Thomas R. Pendleton
Pendleton Tool and Die Co.

© The New Yorker 1999
Article appeared in April 19 issue, page 53.