Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The death of Ruddy Ruddy

Dedicated to Kitty, a wonderful friend whom Ruddy Ruddy brought to me three years ago this month.

It's been nearly two years now, and it's time to tell the story. In March of 2005, I was confronted with a devastating truth about Ruddy Ruddy, one that rendered me more or less incapable of going on with the blog. Oh, I thought maybe I'd be able to move on someday as though nothing had happened, and that's why I put the blog on hiatus. But now it's clearly time to bring closure to the story.

I'd just gotten home from a trip out of town. This had been an eventful trip in that my long-lost and recently separated ex-girlfriend had invited me to visit her in Waterloo that Saturday night for a date, and an uneventful one in that she'd then chickened out and decided that it wasn't a date after all, so I spent the night on the couch, staring at the ceiling and grumbling. As you can imagine, I was already in something of a state of confusion, which wasn't lessened any when I got home, checked, my e-mail and found a message from Jay expressing his condolences over what Scott had said in the forum.

I was a couple of days behind on the Jay Pinkerton forum, having been out of town getting screwed over (rather than screwed), so I popped over to see what he was talking about. There, in a thread used for forum posters to introduce themselves to each other, was a post from Scott "Stocc" Feenstra that included the following bombshell:
My dirty little secret? I am the perpetrator of a longstanding practical joke. The victim of the joke is Peter. I, you see, am responsible for the Ruddy Ruddy phenomenon. For almost 2 years now I've been signing up for free stuff under the name Ruddy Ruddy and having it sent to Peter's address. I didn't originally envision it as such an elaborate hoax but the more things I had sent, the more Peter rationalized in his head about why it must be. He assumed he'd signed up for something once with the name Ruddy Ruddy. He assumed he must have created an email address for Ruddy Ruddy at one time or another. He assumed that junk mailers must've been trading his name like mad. All me. And it snowballed. At first he started posting about it on Man vs. Clown which I enjoyed. Then Ruddy Ruddy got his own website which pleased me to no end. It seemed to please Peter a lot too so I kept on going. Seeing as how it's actually gotten coverage in the National Lampoon at this point I figure it can't be getting much bigger and so I'm bring it all to an end. I've spent hours and hours and hours on research for this thing and I'm a little burnt out by it all. Plus, I needed a dirty little secret to post here and I couldn't think of anything else. I guess I'll be getting a phone call from Pete sometime soon. That's good since I've been meaning to chat with him.

One of the really cool things about the reveal (I'm like a producer now) is that other people can enjoy the gag on the same level that I have. Even if you've read every single Ruddy Ruddy post you can go back and experience it all again knowing the secret. I'm pretty sure it makes the ordeal that much more hilarious, especially seeing how Peter rationalizes everything. Do yourself a favour... Go back not only to the beginning of Ruddy Inc. but wade through its archives and even check out the original Ruddy Ruddy post and more in the Man vs. Clown archives. You won't regret it.

My mind was boggled.

"It really is a great reveal (and I hope Pete takes it well)," said Ian, another forum regular. "It's funny with the whole Man vs. Clown thing too. I assumed it was called "Man vs. Clown" because it was a combined weblog for you and Pete. Peter with his witty and informed commentary was Man, and you with your absurd hilarity were Clown. Since it quickly became Pete's weblog, I assumed Man won. Now I find out that Clown is a Keyser Soze-like mastermind pulling strings from behind the scenes. Best weblog movie ever. Two thumbs up."

I was completely stunned.

At that time, my ex, her best friend Janet, a few other friends, and I, all being alumni of Queen's University, constituted what we called the Queen's Loser's Club. We'd meet monthly, and whoever had had the worst run of luck that month would be declared the winner, receiving a small trophy and a Jos. Louis snack cake as prizes and having a photo taken of himself or herself with raisins stuck to his or her teeth to black them out so they appeared to be missing. Now, not only had I just arrived home from what had turned out to have been a debacle of a non-date, but I had just been revealed to have been the victim of an elaborate two-year-long practical joke. The next meeting was at the end of the month. I could already taste the raisins on my teeth.

I have to admit, though, it was a great joke. Scott certainly put a lot of work into it. And in the end, the joke was sort of on him, as he didn't make a dime off it, but I actually made a tidy few bucks off writing an article about the Ruddy Ruddy thing to the National Lampoon, of which Jay was editor at the time. Of course, because Scott picked the moment that he did to pull back the curtain, I missed out on writing the follow-up Ruddy Ruddy articles that Jay and I had planned as part of an ongoing series, but I can hardly blame him. It sounds like the whole thing was a lot of work for him.

And it's still paying dividends. I still get the odd piece of mail for Ruddy Ruddy, even though Scott has long since quit signing me up for things. From where I sit, for instance, I can see a 2006/07 NFL Yearbook sent to Ruddy Ruddy by Sportsbook.com. And other stuff continues to trickle in. I can't bear to give it the same treatment that I used to, though, now that I know it was all a big sham. (By "big sham", I of course mean "big sham that I wasn't actually part of.") The magic's gone.

But it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Look who gets a shout-out from Salon TV columnist Heather Havrilesky in her latest column [boldface mine]:
Here's what concerns me the most about your current state: You seem rudderless. Meaning, if your life were a boat, that boat would have no rudder. The rudder is the part of the boat that points the boat in the right direction. You're missing a rudder. Also, your skin looks ruddy. Ruddy skin is a sure sign of depression. You're not eating anything green these days, are you? Yes, I can tell. You know you're depressed when all you do is eat starch and cheese and watch "Law & Order" reruns.
What a sweet thing for her to do. Thanks for working that in there, Heather.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Interest in Ruddy Ruddy stands at 1.9%

Just when you thought this blog was dead, here I am. Surely it must be something big to justify breaking the silence, you may be thinking. And you may be right. I've said in the past that there were three things I wanted to see happen to Ruddy Ruddy: get registered to vote, get a credit card, and get drafted.

Well, as it happens, I just got back from the polls, where I'm sorry to say I voted as Peter Lynn. But when I got into the house, sitting there, on the kitchen table, was an envelope addressed to Ruddy Ruddy. From the Royal Bank. Containing an application for an RBC Royal Bank Visa Platinum card with no annual fee, and a low, low 1.9% introductory interest rate.

I'm dying to fill it out and send it back, naturally. I'd really like to know if it's possible that Ruddy Ruddy—a wholly nonexistent person—qualifies for a better credit card than I do. On the one hand, Ruddy Ruddy isn't crushed under the weight of several years' worth of student loans due to excessive collegiate dilly-dallying, unlike your author. On the other hand, Ruddy Ruddy does still have outstanding debts owed to collection agencies over ill-gotten nylon stockings and Harlequin romance novels, which I do not. So whose credit is better?

Sadly, it seems as though I shall ever know, as there's simply no way I can fill out this application and return it to the Royal Bank, which would be highly fraudulent. First, I bank there and would like to continue being allowed to do so. And second, I would also like to continue to be allowed to walk around as a free man. I'd never last in prison. I own too many nylon stockings and Harlequin romance novels, for one thing.

You hear that, Royal Bank? If you get a credit card application from Ruddy Ruddy, it didn't come from me. Honestly.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Three months, and no sign of Ruddy

I know, I know -- I haven't posted in exactly three months. The reason is that I found out something so utterly flabbergasting about Ruddy Ruddy that I haven't been sure what to do with it. When I found out, my jaw literally fell off.

So I couldn't deal. I had to take off. Maybe see America. Learn to live again. Learn to love again. Try to find myself. And Ruddy Ruddy too.

Of course you know I didn't do any of that. But I'll try to keep you posted on what's next.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ruddy Ruddy in the National Lampoon


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Overestimating my own worth once again

Someone at work pointed out that mailing addresses are usually sold by the thousand. The term is CPM (cost per mille, I guess. How many bilingual abbreviations like that do you see?). I actually learned all about this in publishing school, but I've forgotten a lot of the non-editing stuff.

So that $80 price I saw for Ruddy Ruddy was probably actually for Ruddy Ruddy and 999 other poor suckers. That would actually make Ruddy Ruddy's name and address worth only eight cents.

Well, now I feel pretty worthless.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What's in a name? Eighty dollars.

It may have been a while since the last piece of mail arrived for Ruddy Ruddy, but I can't hold that up as my excuse for a lack of posts. In fact, one arrived weeks ago concerning the latest developments surrounding Ruddy Ruddy's harassment by Enchantress Hosiery. As has so often been the case, I've responded to their urgent entreaties to send them money by ignoring them entirely. However, such matters must be dealt with sooner or later, and the arrival today of the latest bit of mail for Ruddy Ruddy -- some samples of Pantene Pro-V shampoo and conditioner, about which I really have little to say except that they smell very nice and I would surely be happy to make use of them had I not cut off all my hair months ago -- compels me to return to unfinished business.

And yet, I seem to be afflicted with a certain magnanimity today. For instance, after being served at the deli counter at the supermarket tonight, I made a point of speaking to the store manager -- not to complain about poor service, but rather to praise the deli guy's expertise. (He may be slackjawed of countenance, but where his colleagues invariably prove less accurate, he has an astounding ability to consistently slice exactly as much salami as I want -- to the gram.) Nonetheless, although it may hamper my ability to be as scathing as the material may warrant, I shall attempt to soldier on despite my unfortunate (but surely temporary) generosity of spirit.

(As a side effect, I note that I'm also writing longer, more complicated sentences than usual -- be on the lookout for parenthetical asides (such as this one) -- in sesquipedalian vocabulary suggesting the manner of a Southern gentleman. Most peculiar.)

Anyway, on to the letter. It reads as follows:
Collection Agency/Agence de Revouvrement
101-7171 JEAN TALON E
H1M 3N2
December 22, 2004

Account number: 0042954699
Amount owing: $26.64

Dear Ruddy Ruddy

This is to advise you that the above account has been placed in our hands for immediate collection. Remit the balance of your account by return mail, or contact this office within FIVE (5) days if you wish to discuss your account.

21478394 -- Y00 - Please quote this number on your payment to ensure proper credit.
You'll note that, although I didn't actually get it until afterward, they sent the letter off just in time for the holidays. Nothing smacks of the Christmas spirit like a collection letter. You'll also note that they apparently expected Ruddy Ruddy to contact their office within five (5) days (by December 27) to discuss his account in lieu of payment by mail. That actually sounds more than fair -- instead of paying up, one could just phone them and have a short conversation about the account, and then the matter would presumably be closed.

But that December 27 deadline just doesn't give Ruddy Ruddy a fighting chance to call. Even if somehow the letter had arrived by then -- and I think Canada Post has some policy about letting its employees off for Christmas and Boxing Day -- it's likely that Ruddy Ruddy would be out of town visiting the rest of the Ruddy clan when it came. And for that matter, do the employees of CBCL even work between December 22 and 27? I suppose it's possible they don't celebrate Christmas. They obviously don't think it's better to give than receive, for one thing, being a collection agency.

Did you also notice the amount they're asking for? It's $26.64. But Enchantress was asking for $24.64 before. They've tacked on two bucks without feeling it worthy of mention. Sneaky.

But after well over a month, they have yet to follow up, so perhaps they were kidding about the "immediate collection" bit. I guess we'll have to wait and see. They'll probably just give up like Collectcorp and Harlequin seem to have.

But in the meantime, check out the page I found at Cornerstone List Management when I was Googling Enchantress for its URL. It reads, in part:
Enchantress Hosiery has been a leading direct marketer in Canada for more than fifteen years. They offer a unique continuity program that offers women quality hosiery and lingerie through the convenience of direct mail. Enchantress Hosiery buyers spend $26 per package on average. Multi buyers spend approximately $200 a year. These lists represent 100% direct response buyers to the successful Enchantress Hosiery continuity program. Initially on a complimentary basis, buyers are given the opportunity to buy hosiery on a regular basis every four to eight weeks at great direct-to-you prices! Enchantress has four different alt-media vehicles and four lists available to target most consumer offers. For all test orders placed in the next six months, Enchantress will grant 20% off the base price.


Universe count:175,310
Base Cost:$80.0000 CDN
For more information, contact Victor Chang Ext 127
What Cornerstone List Management is doing here is selling other direct marketers a list of people who have bought pantyhose through Enchantress Hosiery's direct-mail program. I note that the average purchase is $26 per package, which is about what they're trying to extort from Ruddy Ruddy right now -- the default price of $24.64, with that extra two bucks tacked on.

So it seems as though the average purchaser doesn't change up her order to buy the less expensive hosiery, which would surely throw this average figure off a bit more. (according to the price list I've got, three pairs of the least expensive kind would come to only $14.34, including shipping and handling.) In fact, it seems as though the average buyer only ever buys one package, paid for only after Enchantress harasses her with invoice after invoice and finally gets a collection agency to fire off an intimidating letter demanding $26.64.

Well, they're not getting Ruddy Ruddy's money (as if there were ever any doubt). That's not just because Ruddy Ruddy -- okay, I -- don't want to pay for something not asked for and not received, but also because I've now seen confirmation in the form of that website that should Ruddy Ruddy provide proof of existence by becoming a direct response buyer, Enchantress and Cornerstone would then turn around and sell Ruddy Ruddy's name to other direct-mail marketers and split a cool $80 between them.

No, they won't be hearing from Ruddy Ruddy. But at this point, you may want to click on that link up there and tell Cornerstone's Victor Chang that he's a slimy, junk-mailing scumbag. That'd be fine with me and ol' Ruddy.