Top Ten Responses from a Conference Planner
10: I am sorry that you are “surprised” and “concerned” by the composition of the panel, had you read any of the e-mails I have sent you over the least year, perhaps your surprise would be lessened……
9:No, I am afraid that we have not been able to find an ashram in the area, nor have we been able to arrange for the Shinto priests you requested to bless the breakfast pastries. I realise that this will make it very difficult for you to attend, but hope….
8: Yes, the kosher meals are ready, we note that your daughter is a vegetarian, and we have arranged for several baby-sitters (also vegetarian, and possibly kosher) for her to select from. We regret however that your request to “have a look over the possible catering menus for the event to make sure the food doesn’t suck” will be difficult because of the press of time..
7:Thank you for returning the form indicating your audio visual needs. We have been able to secure a copy of Hungarian power point for OS2, the 3/4 inch European format VHS tape, and the “1970′s vintage” Moog synthesizer that you requested, but are currently having difficulty carrying off the effect you requested us to “figure out pronto”; namely a glowing finger of flame writing Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin on the nearest contiguous wall
6:We are sorry that your name is misspelled in the program. We note, without claiming this as an excuse, that it also appears to be misspelled on your return e-mail address and on your business card.
5:Thank you for your electronic registration. Yes, all 16 of them did work; and we will begin the process of reimbursing you for 15 of them. The reason that you have not received an electronic confirmation is that, like you, the computer does not know your e-mail address, even though as you so correctly point out “you are very well known in the field.” Entering your street address, while ingenious, does not work.
4:We are unable to explain why you weren’t invited to give the plenary address, particularly given the fact that your scholarly work in several areas (admittedly not connected to the subject of this conference) is widely known by your relatives. We note also that your last book did have many of the words we used in the program “just in a different order” but feel that this is not, as you believe, actionable as either copyright infringement or plagiarism.
3:We, too, are concerned by the plight of the East Timorese, but fear that the session on computer architecture might not be the most appropriate venue to pursue it further.
2:We too, are sorry that you will have to cancel your presentation at the last minute, but agree that you could hardly be expected to know “what a drag” it would be to talk about this subject when you agreed to talk, or how “sucky” the rest of the conference would look. We are gratified by your certainty that it will be “no problem” substituting for you at this stage, but regret that your hope that you will be able to keep your honorarium anyway, “because you spent a long time thinking about it,” is unfounded.