How snow can total your car when it’s parked on the street

Prius totaled by snow

My car was recently totaled by falling snow during last week’s snowstorm. (It happened in the middle of March, in Philadelphia for the record. Not a time of year known for its blizzards.)

Let’s start at the end.

The little tissue box that could

I was a copywriter at QVC from 2011-2014. I learned way more about Guy Fieri, Rachel Ray, pressure cookers, and cordless vacuums than I thought was humanly possible. I also stocked up on office supplies.

QVC had a pretty generous office-supply policy. Need some pens? Just find what you want in the communal Office Depot catalog, email the item number to the department admin, and receive your order 1–2 weeks later.*

I sat pretty close to the admin who processed the orders, which gave me a front-row view of the orders of my co-workers.

And what I saw opened my eyes

People ordered a lot of stuff. Novelty tape dispensers. Stainless steel staplers. And boxes of tissues. Tissues! I always need tissues! But it never crossed my mind to order them from work… I can provide those just fine thank you very much.

So when it came time to place next month’s order, I ordered a box of tissues. And since I’m a good eco-conscious consumer (and because I wasn’t the one paying), I ordered Seventh Generation tissues. Nothing but the most environmentally friendly tissues for my nose, thank you very much.

Except there was one teeny tiny problem: I ordered a whole case of tissues. 24 boxes of tissues showed up at my desk in a giant box. WHAT AN EMBARRASSMENT. That guy must be abusing the system, my colleagues surely muttered to themselves.

To save face, I immediately distributed boxes of tissues to my preferred co-workers and stashed a bunch under my desk. And I took a box to my car, of course.

Now back to the car

Prius getting towed away

As mentioned above, my car was recently totaled in a snowstorm.

It was a 2011 Toyota Prius in great condition. An avalanche of snow came down from the roof of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital at Seventh and Spruce streets and landed right on my car. Multiple snow bricks rained down on my car during the middle of the night, denting the roof, smashing the windshield, and crushing the whole side of the car.**

So yesterday I removed everything from my car before it was towed to the salvage yard. For those keeping track at home: I still have some tissues left.

Seventh Generation tissues

Important notes:

*I never abused this policy nor did I ever order more than was required as a copywriter.

**Penn’s property insurance is covering the damage no hard feelings ok?

The revolutionary script of Silicon Valley

I took a communication class about social revolutions last semester. One of the books from which we read was Scripting Revolution. It was about how many social revolutions come to adopt the same way of using language, dress, and tactics, as a way of building support for their movements via sheer familiarity.

Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt:

This volume argues that the American and French Revolutions provided the genesis of the revolutionary “script” that was rewritten by Marx, which was revised by Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution, which was revised again by Mao and the Chinese Communist Revolution. Later revolutions in Cuba and Iran improvised further. This script is once again on display in the capitals of the Middle East and North Africa, and it will serve as the model for future revolutionary movements.

For my final paper in the class, I took that argument and applied it to Silicon Valley, drawing majorly from Fred Turner’s excellent book, From Counterculture to Cyberculture. In the paper, I show how tech startups draw from the counterculture with features such as flexible work hours and casual dress codes, to legitimize business practices that would seem totally opposed to counterculture ethos, and to appeal to young people who fancy themselves as revolutionary rebels.

Read a version of my paper on Medium:
The revolutionary script of Silicon Valley.