Written by David Hatz, Retired Teacher and Coach
There is a measure of truth to the adage/cliché “money can’t buy happiness.” That said, it
certainly can make life easier when it comes to affording necessities – food, clothes,
transportation, shelter, to name a few.
Money wasn’t a problem for Robert Pirosh. He was a well-paid advertising copywriter in New
York City in 1934. But he wasn’t happy.
So, the 24-year-old Pirosh decided to do something about it. Determined to realize his
dreams of becoming a screenwriter, he composed what is certainly one of the most effective
cover letters ever written and sent copies to many executives in Hollywood.
His efforts paid off. The letter secured him three interviews, one of which landed him a job
as a junior writer at MGM. Happiness and success ensued.
Pirosh became a prolific writer for the leading entertainment company, highlighted by an
Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1949 for the war film “Battleground,” based on
the Battle of the Bulge.
In a Hollywood career that spanned more than 30 years, Pirosh was a writer, producer or
director on many well-known films and television series. He alternated between dramatic
subjects, including the Oscar-nominated war movie “Go for Broke!” (1951), and madcap
comedy – most notably his contributions to the Marx Brothers classical farce “A Day at the
Pirosh also taught writing at the University of Southern California to conclude his illustrious
career. A sidenote: Pirosh was born on April 1, 1910 (April Fools’ Day), and died on Christmas
Why am I sharing this with you? I’m glad you asked. Certainly, the message of striving to
realize one’s dreams should ring loud and clear.
More importantly for me, and hopefully, is to recognize and appreciate the importance of
good writing. And, many (if not all) of you will likely write one/several cover letters during your
working life. The message here: good/great ones can make a difference.
And now, without further blustering, here, for your enjoyment, is Pirosh’s letter:
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn,
angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious,
black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V”
words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as
splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower,
scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker,
genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I
like wormy, squirmy, meal words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling
words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York
advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood. But before taking the plunge, I went to Europe
for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.
I have just returned and I still like words.
May I have a few with you?
385 Madison Avenue
More Fun with Words
If you have read previous blogs, you know I enjoy wordplay. Some are hilarious, some not so
much, and others are just plain groaners.
OK, you have been warned. Here now is my latest collection culled from the Internet:
• Venison for dinner again? Oh, deer!
• I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
• I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
• I stayed up all night to see where the sun went … and then it dawned on me.
• When chemists die, they barium.
• I know a guy who’s addicted to break fluid, but he says he can stop any time.
• I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can’t put it down.
• I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
• Broken pencils are pointless.
• I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
• I was taking a class on communism, but dropped it because of lousy Marx.
• What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
Only in math problems can you buy 60 cantaloupes and no one asks what the heck is wrong
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Until next time, write on!