The Pitch

06/03/2010 By Shawn Burns

Sometimes I think things and I think “that’s a great idea!” and then I enact them and then all of a sudden I have weeds all over my lawn even though I just installed a sprinkler system for the sole purpose of watering the grass seed I was going to plant and then never did.

This idea is like that one.

I was thinking about Virgin America’s new route, and I was thinking about how much I don’t want to be here right now and how Canada is probably pretty awesome at the moment but I can’t really afford to go to Canada and then I was thinking about how some people have been out to California from Toronto on sponsored trips and I thought “Hey, I can be sponsored by someone! I can be sponsored the hell out of by someone.” So, I wrote the following e-mail:

Dear Virgin America,

I love you.

It’s not just your looks, or your style, or your directness. You’re also wicked smaht, like that genius janitor at MIT or Harvard or whatever that solved that math problem on the blackboard in the hallway in this documentary I saw once with Ben Affleck. Not that I was with Ben Affleck, I mean that he was in it. I think I was with my wife.

Anyway, back to how smart you are…

See, you’ve started a new route, direct from San Francisco to Toronto. This is smart for many reasons, but the one most dear to my heart is that you clearly knew that I was planning a Triptravaganza! to explore the wonders of Toronto and its many poutine restaurants (although, yes, of course I realize that the best poutine is in Cornwall, Ontario but you don’t have any direct flights to Cornwall yet. Yet.) You pre-emptively established a direct route between my two favourite airports (did you see what I did there, with the "u"? I don’t charge extra for that. That’s a service all Canadian ex-pats in the Bay Area will provide), and you did so, I’m sure, knowing that I would be taking advantage of it in the near future.

But you are just a tiny start-up company, and you surely could use some help getting the word out about your brand new route. Billboards on the 101 are nice and all, but how are you going to reach the agoraphobe who never drives? Sure, you could just ignore the agoraphobe market because they wouldn’t want to fly with you anyway because they probably also hate heights. Well, let me respond by first pointing out that agoraphobia is not the same thing as acro-phobia, and it’s a little insensitive of you to think that. How dare you. Second, even agoraphobes have Internet access, and they help keep the Internet running in tip top shape by writing blog posts about the amazing things they wish they could do, they read about some other person doing, or they dreamt themselves doing during a Cheetos and Red Bull induced coma. That is to say, there are more people on the Internet than there are on the 101.

And that’s where I come in. You see, I invented the Internet. Al Gore stole the design and then I hunted down his son in a giant suit with electro-whips coming out of my arms and got my ass handed to me, but nonetheless…I am kind of a big deal on the Internet. Everyone on the Internet reads Backpacking Dad ( unless they’ve never heard of it or heard about it and didn’t care or read it and didn’t come back to read it again. It’s pretty much my wife’s favourite blog. And we here at Backpacking Dad are planning a Backpacking Dad Goes to Canada Triptravaganza! It will involve travel to exotic locales like The CN Tower, Jungle Cat World, and Historic Fort Henry. "But Backpacking Dad," you protest, "Neither Jungle Cat World nor Historic Fort Henry are in Toronto. How can I help with them?" There there, weakly-protesting-yet oddly-conversant-with-Ontario’s-tourist-destinations Virgin America, you needn’t fly to those places. I’m sure there’s a bus we can take or a truck a family of four can hitchhike on in order to reach them. Your assistance will be invaluable, however, in ensuring our safe arrival in Toronto, however. However. Do you ever say a word over and over again and then notice that it ceases to have meaning?

Sponsoring Backpacking Dad Goes to Canada! is easy. It just means furnishing Backpacking Dad with four (4) round trip tickets from SFO to YYZ and then waiting with bated breath for the Triptravaganza to happen so that you can see the four (4) blog posts of 400 words or more detailing the trip on BackpackingDad.Com, with a flashy sponsor-coded html badge embedded within each post along with lavish praise for Virgin America and their new route. Further details wil be decided later after initial interest is confirmed. Maybe it can happen over dinner. Do you like fried chicken? Pineapple on your pizza?

I understand you receive many requests for sponsorship from many organizations, companies, events and other legitimate causes. But how many do you receive from ILLEGITIMATE causes like this one? Plus, you can tell I’m not shady because I have a real website. Everyone knows that websites automatically confer trustworthiness. Unless you hate America. You don’t hate America, do you? Hmm? Virgin America? I shouldn’t think so. I think that settles it then.

Thank you for your consideration, Virgin America.

I would like to highlight that I misspelled “will” in the second-to-last paragraph because I am a total pro.

Keep your fingers crossed, Toronto. Backpacking Dad is surely on his way!