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Dear Sir,

You have written inquiring as to certain details related to the Great Horror, the purview of which falls under this department. Such requests, as you’ve probably guessed, are frequent and overwhelming. As such, we have developed a procedure to process these requests more efficiently.

Our assessment procedure allows us to distinguish those requests we consider substantial from those less substantial; the serious, in other words, from the frivolous. This letter is to inform you that your request has been deemed sufficiently substantial and serious.

There are matters relating to the Great Horror that remain highly sensitive. Full clearance is a rarity even among the department staff. Clearance is color-coded, from white (no clearance) to aqua (absolute clearance). Your clearance level is yellow (incomplete but not inconsequential clearance).

Before we proceed to your specific inquiries, an important note about style. When referring to the Great Horror in writing — and in speech as best as you are able — the definite article (“the”) must always precede the noun and must not be capitalized. The following renderings are not acceptable: “Great Horror,” “great horror,” “The Great Horror,” THE GREAT HORROR” (with selective, pre-approved exceptions), “The great horror,” and “the great horror.” As to hashtag use, #greathorror is not acceptable; #thegreathorror is acceptable but #theGreatHorror is preferable. The official standard was arrived at after extensive, sometimes heated internal debate. It is not strictly enforceable in any legal sense, but it is maintained as a courtesy, out of respect for those most affected by the Great Horror.

We at the department cannot emphasize enough how mindful we are to the plight of those directly affected by the Great Horror. The department carefully considers as many points of view and perspectives as are available. The points of view with regard to the Great Horror does tend to be less polarizing compared to other events. On the whole, we’ve found, it is in the negative. Specifically, the sentiments associated with the Great Horror include cataclysmic, devastating, traumatic, infernal, paralyzing, pulverizing, sickening, repulsive, arousing (in a bad way), and indescribably repulsive. These are important views, but they are by no means the only views of the Great Horror. Some have views to offer that are somewhat or entirely different from that of the majority, and it is a disservice of the department to the people it serves, whether in the majority or not, to overlook them.

The department has records of some accounts that have deemed the Great Horror interesting. This does not mean that it is thought good, let’s be clear; interesting can mean a lot of things. In such accounts, however, the Great Horror had elements that, again good or bad, stuck out. It had certain quirks that the people submitting the accounts could not, possibly despite their best efforts (we didn’t pry), get out of their heads. For instance, one account found it very interesting at how efficient the Great Horror was. It came quite abruptly and unexpectedly, yes, we all agree on that, but left just as abruptly. To some it was impressive. Allow me to quote from one.

I think of The Great Horror [sic] like a wedding. You know? Like not a very good wedding, where you don’t really know the bride or the groom but you kind of end up there. You don’t know really what’s on order so it’s going to be a little weird. Then things get really really weird in ways you did not at all expect. But at the same time, things are kind of organized. It’s machinelike and coordinated. It works somehow. It was kind of like that. There was all this [EXPLETIVE DELETED] flying around me, all these people running away or piling up, but god[EXPLETIVE DELETED] did it seem to know what it was doing. It had this kind of old school mentality. Nothing is like that around here anymore.

But let us not limit ourselves to just this one response. To others, interesting does not even begin to describe their comprehension of the Great Horror. Some accounts went one (or two) further and said that the Great Horror was challenging. This, again, does not mean that the Great Horror was good. Some challenging things can be good and some challenging things can be bad. Whatever the case, though, the event left a “unique” impact that forced a change in some people that seems, on the whole, for the positive. Again, don’t take my word for it. Allow me to quote from another submitted report.

When I think about my life in relation to the Great Horror, I always go into this pre/post kind of thinking. My life before the Great Horror was way different from how it is after. It wasn’t going great if I’m honest. I was kind of trapped. In a bad place. I was hanging out not with bad people exactly, but not great people. They didn’t have my best interest at heart in hindsight. I was not living well: eating poorly, transient in my relationships, took for granted a lot of stuff, and almost constantly on edge. Then one day, all this happens. All the bad stuff in my life gets caught up in it and sort of left me there. It was scary, really. It felt like being on my own for the first time. So I used this opportunity to right myself. I started treating myself better: eating better, working out, pursuing serious, sustained personal connections, and coming to work with a positive attitude no matter what. I learned to love myself again. I learned to breathe. I learned to forgive. I eventually forgave the Great Horror for what it did. But I thank the Great Horror every day. Every day I look up at the sky, point and nod my head like “You know what I’m talkin’ about!” I’m so blessed.

Inspiring! But don’t think I’m willfully misdirecting you away from the grimmer accounts. There were some people who came to us in a greater state of woe. They thought that the Great Horror was disappointing. I’ll just get right to the quote.

I guess like everyone else I was stunned when the Great Horror came. Not in a million years did I ever think I would see something like that. I don’t think I’ve fully processed it. I don’t think I ever will. In fact I can’t stop thinking about it.

Before it happened I had a pretty standard view of life. I had no problem with the status quo. Sure, things could be better, but are they ever perfect? I was pretty content to go the rest of my life with this mindset. Then this happens and throws everything into relief. I was nowhere near it when it happened, I saw it on screens mostly. I visited the site of its appearance after the fact. I feel bad for the people who came out on the wrong end of it, but in a way, I came out on the wrong end of it, too.

I don’t actually think that the Great Horror actually meant us harm. I think we harmed it … in a way. I think it had a message for us, but found us unwilling to listen. I think we missed something pretty great, like legitimately. I’m not an entrepreneur or anything. Like, I know how to borrow money but not how to make something out of it, but if I was one, I’d put all I had and all I could get at trying to reach it, to say, “Hey, I’m listening.”

With these accounts we are able to look not beyond the tragic nature of the Great Horror, but perhaps beside it. Beside the established quantitative findings: all the data of casualties and compromised infrastructure. Next to the numbers, tables, and whatever else we’ve been able to gather, we find a more nuanced, even subtle way of looking at this event. It’s very easy for us to understand the Great Horror as something that happened to us; as a disruptive occurrence that hard facts can readily contextualize for us. Easy, yes, but limited. With time and sensitivity our awareness can only expand to see it as something that was always within us. Some of us like to see the Great Horror as sort of like an attitude, or maybe a paradigm.

I hope that this letter was able to satisfy the nature of your inquiries. If you have additional inquiries, do not hesitate to resubmit your request no sooner than six months from the receipt of this letter with no less than three additional recommendations and the clearance renewal fee of $49.95-plus-tax.

Thank you so much for your continued interest in our work!


“What? Who cares?” –Me

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