Dear General Rossum: Week I

“Dear General Rossum,

I have been working at the same job for the last ten years, and lately my career seems to have plateaued. People who have a lot less experience than me seem to keep getting promotions instead of me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or if they know people higher up or what. Do you have any suggestions to help me get ahead?


Underpaid in Utah”

Dear Underpaid,

The key to promotion is being noticed. If you have been doing the same job for years, that’s your problem: you’ve become predictable. Do something unexpected that your boss will notice. Work a couple Saturdays. Take a few clients out to dinner. Light your chief competitor’s car on fire. Creativity is a trait all employers notice, so feel free to use your imagination.

You say you don’t know what these newer workers have that you don’t. Intel is essential to any successful operation, so you need to find out. I advise you interrogate one of these upstarts and find out how they’re getting ahead. Start subtle with talk at the watercooler, then work your way to waterboarding if that doesn’t work. The trick is to be persistent, another fine quality in all employees.

Finally, if all else fails, it never hurts to stage a life-threatening situation in order to save your boss from it. You never know when his rolly chair might roll back out the window, leaving him hanging onto the window washer’s lift conveniently stationed under his window and directly outside yours. Just a thought.



“Dear General Rossum,

This weekend my laptop started acting up. I’ve done virus scans and had it serviced, but it still isn’t working. I tried replacing the RAM and CPU but it still is having a lot of problems connecting to both Wifi and Ethernet, as well as not showing nearly as much processing power as it used to. Do you have any tech tips I can use? Thanks.

Broken Down in Boise”

Dear Broken Down,

I have no idea what the Hell you just said except that your computer doesn’t work. I got no idea how to fix a computer, but I imagine you can make it work the same way you do with new recruits.

Try degrading it. Start by calling it maggot, then work your way up to more specific, more devastating insults. Weight, strength, and mommas are all fair game.

I also find hitting works on both man and television, so I guess that might work too. Specifically a good slap upside the head, which I guess for a computer, is its monitor. Just be sure not to leave any marks that can’t be explained by saying the computer tripped and fell down some stairs.

Finally, if the computer refuses to work, rhetorically ask if it actually wants to be in the army. That tends to trigger what amounts to a lot of good training montage footage that ends in it being the best it’s ever been.

Or microwave it, I have no idea.



35mm_10292_055e-11I am (former) General Brady Stevedore Rossum of the US Army. I hold the record for most dishonorable discharges, both for dishing them out and receiving them. My reports have called me a “loose cannon,” “utterly psychotic,” and “a bigger murder machine than the chainsaw catapult,” for which I also hold the patent. I can proudly say I have never lost a single man on the field of battle. I know exactly where I left each one.

Now that I have left the army and have all this free time (especially with the house arrest), I thought my years of experience could be put to use helping you maggots with your day-to-day trivialities. I guess it’s because I’m such a people person.

Send your emails for General Rossum to


by PETER WILLIAMS / literature columnist



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