The SFWA Squirrel
Today my SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) membership materials arrived! I am now officially a card-carrying member. Yay!
My membership materials arrived in a very beat-up manila envelope stamped with "MEDIA RATE." You may ask, "What's media rate?" (I did.)
After careful calculation and exhaustive research, my husband and I discovered the answer. We arrived at our conclusion as follows:
It takes about 6 hours to drive from Maryland to New York. At 60 mph, that's a distance of 360 miles. This package took 30 days to arrive. So it traveled 12 miles per day -- an average of 0.5 miles per hour. Of course, you can't expect a package to be traveling 24 hours a day. So let's say it was only in transit for 8 hours a day. A leisurely walk is maybe one mile every twenty minutes (about 3 miles per hour). If SFWA gave the package to some guy walking at a leisurely pace for 8 hours a day... it would have arrived in 15 days, twice as fast as actual transit time.
Clearly, the package wasn't delivered by a leisurely walker. Who then could have delivered it? We turned to the Internet for answers:
Cheetah = 70 mph
Giraffe = 32 mph
Squirrel = 12 mph
Spider = 1.17 mph
Three toed sloth = 0.15 mph
Clearly, a cheetah and giraffe are much too fast, and a three toed sloth is much too slow (despite being the obvious joke). A spider could do it if he hustled and ran a bit longer than an 8 hour day... But that seems like spider abuse, especially since these figures are top speeds. And besides, how could a spider possibly carry a manila envelope?
"So it has to be the squirrel," I said.
"That's 4 times as fast as our leisurely walker," my husband said.
"Yes, but have you ever seen a squirrel with a map?" I said. "Factor in getting-lost time and distracted-by-nuts-and-berries time..." As final proof, I found a photograph of the actual squirrel courier:
QED: Media Rate = By Squirrel.
Media Rate. If it absolutely has to be there in a month or two.