Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Letter to Randy

I'm pretty buzzed.

Randy Mortensen
55009 County Road C
Center, CO 81125

Dear Randy,

Randy, Randy, Randy. Hello, Randy. There you are. You know, I just made up a name in my head and searched for it, and up popped your name. What a trip! Who knows if you're real or not. Maybe nothing's real, you know? No, I'm just screwing with you. Also, I've been drinking.

So how was your year, Randy? Personally, I couldn't be happier to say goodbye to 2008. My cat died. He was an old cat, to be sure, but I still loved him. I found him dead in a barn a half mile down the road. Did you know pigs will eat anything? My uncle once got an air rifle as a kid and went out to shoot starlings, and the pigs just chomped them up faster than he could shoot them out of the sky. Anyway, so here I am, staring at this half-eaten cat when I realize, "This isn't Puddlepaws!"

You see, Puddlepaws was a lot of things. He was a womanizer, a hunter and a fiend. But one thing he was not, Randy, was a slob. I cut his nails twice a week myself. This cat, though, had a full set of talons on the one back paw the pigs had left. Wondering if Puddlepaws was still alive, I went down to the dairy farm to see if Dan Oglethorpe had seen him wandering around the spill gutters in the milking barn.

Now Dan Oglethorpe is a lot of things. He's a womanizer, a hunter and a fiend. But one thing he is not, Randy, is a liar. He said he had seen Puddlepaws, but he hadn't stopped by the farm. He saw him sitting in the Methodist church parking lot the day before at the 9:30 AM service. Puddlepaws was sitting on the hood of Mary Worthington's 1988 Buick, waiting for her to share some of the canned albacore she always carried in her purse in case some of the downtown urchins made eye contact with her in front of the YWCA.

You see, Randy, the YWCA is where Mrs. Worthington played bridge every second Tuesday of the month, that's odd months you know, and seeing as it was December Puddlepaws knew she'd have a full can of albacore waiting for January. He's a smart cat, which is why I was suprised when Mary told me that Puddlepaws had left before the end of service. Something must have really spooked him to make him leave that Buick, which was also pretty warm on the account of Mary's 25 mile commute from her pig farm back near my house.

Unfortunately, Randy, it turns out I was right all along. I'd forgotten that I'd left Puddlepaws' rear claws intact so he could hand-stand fish for crawdads down by Cobb's Fork Creek before the hard freeze, and when Mary came out of church she didn't think a spare second about the back window she'd left open on her Buick. She kept it open so her upholstery wouldn't smell like the Kools she smokes when she drives Eileen Ruettiger to next month's bridge match, since Eileen's husband died of emphysema in 2004, and she'll prostelyize against smoking until the cows come home. Poor Puddlepaws caught a ride back to her farm that Sunday where, drawn by smell of those fat mice in Mary's barn, he met his fate at the hands of those prized Bentheim Black Pied pigs she keeps.

Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm sure 2009 will be better. But here I am, prattling on about my life when you haven't said a single thing about your family. How did 2008 treat your litter? Let me know, I feel like we haven't talked in forever.

Your Man in Ohio,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Letter to Nintendo

Only one more day left in this craptastic year.

President Reggie Fils-Aimes
Nintendo of America
4820 150th Ave NE
Redmond, WA 98052

Dear Mr. Fils-Aimes

Greetings, Reginald! I hope you have had a pleasant Christmas. I received two cast-iron skillets and a dutch oven (the cookware kind). What did you get? I bet it was something nice, like a big Cowboy belt buckle or a watch made of onyx. Anyway, I'm writing to you because I have an incredible idea for a video game that I want you to make. I'd make it myself, but I never learned computer programming.

The name of my game is called Bar Brawl, and it's a fighting game based on getting really drunk and then fighting people in a bar. Think of the possibilities! First, the characters are endless. There's the skinny accountant who's meeting some run-down secretary for a drink. The plucky waitress who's putting herself through college (and has a big rack), the big bouncer with a possible military motif, the country kid who just came out to get laid, a piano player sick of getting lousy tips and an old, tough-as-nails bartender who's seen it all.

Bar Brawl is all about presentation, too. Instead of a menu where you choose who you fight, it's up to the player to walk up to somebody and instigate something. You can bump a guy while he's playing pool, or pinch the busty waitress' behind. During the fight you can use barstools, empty bottles, pool cues and anything else you can find in a bar. Different bars would be like different arenas, including a gay bar, a country bar, a downtown hip bar and an Applebee's.

Finally, there needs to be a power-up system based on how much alcohol you consume. Obviously, the more you drink the stronger and more wild you become. Brainstorm! Each fighter could have a drink that makes him stronger and a drink that makes him sick, and it's up to the player to figure out each character's weakness. We'll have to be careful, though, or those soccer moms from "California" will be all over us about the dangers of alcohol. Wait, I've got it! At the end of the game, when you try to drive home, your car's battery is dead. Problem solved!

Now, I understand that I don't work for Nintendo (you could remedy this, of course), but I still want to give you my idea. No money necessary, although a byline in the credits would be nice, along with maybe a copy of the game. Oh, and maybe you could add a character that looks like me. I would become all-powerful and speak in a British accent when given whiskey, but I'm reduced to waste whenever I drink vodka.

Please let me know what you think of my idea, because there's lots more where that came from. You and me could be a team, like a team of buddies. Hey, we could both have onyx watches, and when people ask where we got them, we'll say, "From my buddy!" Think about it!

Your Pal,

The Correspondent

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Letter To Norm Abram

This topic probably consumed three hours of conversation while driving everywhere last week.

Norm Abram
New Yankee Workshop
P.O. Box 161
Lexington, MA 02420

Dear Mr. Abram,

Hi, Norm! My lady friend really loves your show. She watches it all the time. In fact, I was actually getting ready to write this letter to Bob Vila when she said to me, "Bob Vila?! He's Cuban American!" She's obviously got some issues to work out, but nevertheless she insisted that I write to you instead. In the end, I'm glad I did, because you seem more of an old-fashioned woodman than Bob, and my situation is most definitely old-fashioned.

You see, Norm, I'm a pretty fastidious guy, and I like to be prepared. That's why I've got an emergency plan in my head in case society collapses and I'm left in a survival situation. First off, I think we can all agree that the cities will be too dangerous. That's why I've decided to go live on a mountain, building my own tiny home deep in the Appalachian woods and living off a diet of deer meat and non-poisonous tubers. In my head, though, I've hit a roadblock regarding the construction of my new home, and I was hoping you could lend some advice.

Now, first I was thinking log cabin, but then I wondered, "How am I going to lift all these logs?" Then I thought hobbit-hole. I'm warming up to the idea, but wondered how you would suggest building a hobbit-hole. Do I just pile up a bunch of dirt and then dig it out like an igloo? How do I make windows, and what's the lowdown on the soffit situation?

Next up is waste management. I can dig an outhouse hole with no problem, but can I dig a tunnel that leads into a septic field? Will that affect groundwater and nearby streams? I'm thinking it will just be the two of us, but let's prepare for at least four people's waste just in case. I might have to invite my lady friend's sister and her boyfriend, although I said, "What if your sister dies of dysentery? Then we're stuck with her boyfriend even though we're not technically related to him." Talk about a third wheel!

Finally, do you know anything about preserving meat? My lady friend is in vet school, but she absolutely refused to have this conversation with me. I said it was all about replacing moisture with a preserving element like salt - moisture is the enemy! Quite frankly, this problem concerns me the most. If I can't figure out how to salt and store meat then it won't matter how invisible my hobbit hole is. Oh, I forgot to mention, I've put mirrors on the outside of the hobbit hole so now it's invisible to people walking by.

Ok, like I said, I'm glad I wrote to you and not Vila. He was never very trustworthy when I saw him on television. Please let me know how you would address these issues and let me know if you have any additional hobbit hole tips. I love your beard!


The Correspondent

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Letter to Bob Barker

It was 11:30 last night when I realized I hadn't written a letter, so sorry about that. I'll post another one later today to make up for it. Also, get over yourselves, Bears fans. Are you really that excited at the chance of sneaking into the NFC playoffs? That's like getting wait-listed to Ohio State.

Bob Barker
The DJ&T Foundation
200 North Larchmont Boulevard Suite 3
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Dear Bob,

Hello, Bob! I'm a big fan. I've watched you growing up as a kid and through several bouts of unemployment. Of course, that was all before 2007 when you retired. How's retirement treating you anyways? I bet it's nothing but golf and sun, huh? Sounds kind of boring if you ask me. You should try curling. You know, bowling on ice. I've never tried it but it looks like fun. You'd be a trailblazer, bringing curling to Los Angeles! Just think about it, ok?

Actually, Bob, the reason I'm writing you is because I have a little problem. I had today off, see, on account of the holidays, so I flipped through some channels during lunch and came across The Price Is Right. I'm sure you know what's coming next, but I have to say it anyway! Bob, Drew Carey has got to go. You know it and I know it.

I mean, did you sign on off on this? He sounds like he's announcing an elementary school JV basketball game. "Ok, she's spinning the wheel. It would be nice to get that dollar. Susan's got some kids watching, that's nice. We just went past the 35 cent mark. I like pie." It's terrible! I don't think Drew is having any fun out there, Bob.

Here's another problem: Drew just isn't attractive. I'm not going to lie, part of the fun of watching The Price Is Right years ago was all the beautiful models, and wondering which one you were shacking up with that week. Do you really think anyone is sneaking out of Carey's dressing room? Now that I think about it, that might be why Drew looks so bored out there. We need to get that kid laid. I'm glad I wrote to you, Bob, I knew we'd figure this thing out!

So, since I'm stuck in Ohio I can't really help our boy out. It's on you. Take him under your wing, teach him the ways of us winners. He has no confidence, no self-esteem. Here's a little secret I learned from Shel Silverstein, Bob: if you teach him to love himself first, then others will be drawn to that love. It's an important lesson that's gotten me through some tough times.

You know what, Bob? I think we're all going to be OK on this one. I feel like we've really turned the corner, and with your help Drew will be on his feet in no time. Please write me back with periodic updates, because life is a process, and we've all got another spin left at the wheel.

Coming on down,

The Correspondent

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Letter to Pillsbury

I actually wrote a letter everyday this week! Congratulations to me.

Kendall Powell
CEO - General Mills, Inc.
P.O. Box 9452
Minneapolis, MN 55440

Dear Mr. Powell,

Please, sir, I need your help. I understand that you are a very busy man (with a name like Kendall Powell you'd have to be!), but I wasn't sure who else to write. To be honest, I'm afraid my problem might be over both our heads, as it breaches philosophical, even metaphysical questions.

You see, I was recently watching television with my niece when a commercial came on for your subsidiary, Pillsbury. The Pillsbury Doughboy was up to his usual jolly mischief as a girl close to my niece's age made cookies with her mother. I was hardly paying attention, but my niece became horrified, crying out, "Uncle Correspondent! Why is the dough man laughing? They're baking his family!"

Now, normally I would be able to cover, but I have to be honest with you - I froze. With blood in the water already I realized I had to say something, so I blurted out the first thing that came to me: that those cookies weren't the Doughboy's family, they were criminals in Dough Land and the Doughboy was the executioner in their justice system. But do you think that satisfied a four-year old? Of course not! She immediately demanded to know what the dough criminals did to deserve execution.

Well, I was panicked, so I told her the cookies ran a car through a parade and killed several innocent doughpeople. She asked why they did that and I said they were drunk. She asked what they got drunk on. Vanilla extract. Finally she asked why they baked them, and I told her they had to be baked and eaten, because if you cut their heads off they could just smush themselves back together.

So now I'm left with a very angry sister and brother-in-law, and a very sad niece who is both anti-cookie and anti-death penalty. How can I explain our justice system to her and help her make her own informed decision regarding capital punishment? How can I get her to enjoy snickerdoodles again? And, finally, what in the hell do I tell her about the Doughboy?

Please write me back with your company stance on this; I'm sure it can't be the first time this issue has been raised. I thought about telling her later that I was wrong, the cookies want to be baked because they are born to serve humans, but I was afraid of starting a race relations conversation with her. She's a very smart kid!


The Correspondent

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Letter to the Prosecuting Attorney

What evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Ron O'Brien
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
373 South High Street, 14th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Mr. O'Brien, Esq.,

Hello, Mr. O'Brien, Esq. As I look out of my window on High Street at all the depravity that has overtaken my fair city, I sleep better knowing that we have civil servants such as yourself working tirelessly to bring justice into every dark corner of Columbus. The truth is, though, you can't do it alone. You're just one man! You need us, your vigilant citizens, to pick up the torch and light a fire under the hearts of men. That's why I'd like to apply to be the Columbus Batman.

Now, obviously, I can't be called Columbus Batman. I don't really want to be a bat anyway. But as far as being a shadowy wraith that haunts the back alleys of Columbus, striking fear in the hearts of evil men, well, I think I'm up to the task. It can't be that hard. First, I just need to be in better physical shape than most Columbus criminals. If they are anything like regular Columbus citizens, this won't be a problem. Next I'll need some training, but there's a martial arts studio next to my apartment. Master Mollica owes me anyway; he's always doing tai chi in the parking lot while I'm trying to park.

Once I'm trained, I'll just need some light body armor and a signal on the top of the LeVeque Tower. I don't have a whole lot of money, so I was hoping you could pull some strings and get me some gear from the police department. As for the signal, I was thinking of a spotlight in the shape of a sparrow, since my last name is German for 'little bird." What? Of course it's intimidating! Well, tell that to Poland!

As you can see, I have a passion for justice that cannot be satiated through legal means. All I'm looking for is a little cooperation from the City of Columbus. First, if a cop sees a red Ford Focus speeding through downtown at midnight, don't pull me over, I'm crime-fighting! Second, don't tell anyone my real name. It could mean disastrous retribution for Master Mollica and his class of 10-12 year old youth shaolins. Finally, from now on, just call me the Sparrow.

You don't have to thank me, Mr. O'Brien, Esq. I'm just doing my job. So, if I have your support, please write me back, but be discreet. In fact, perhaps a letter isn't the best way to reach me at all...

With My Eyes On the Sky,

The Correspondent

New Reply!

Lands' End wrote me back. The interesting note is that the woman I wrote the letter to is the one who wrote the reply. Neat! Original letter is linked before the reply.

Lands' End Letter


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Letter

I think everyone has my Christmas letter by now who is likely to get one, so this does no harm. I also think it's a lot easier to post something that's already written than it is to write something new. Cop out? Or cop in? Think about it.

To: Immediate family and close friends
Lots of places, USA

Dear Gentle Reader,

Hello, loved one! It’s been a long year, and we’ve sure missed you. You and your family are so special to us, that we decided to write a personalized Christmas letter just for you. Hey, remember Uncle Choppy, and his wonka wonka dance? Oh, my, what cherished times! I hope you and “little” pookers are doing great. Haha, she/he really hates that nickname, but we just keep calling him/her that anyway!

Anywho, 2008 has been a banner year for us. Lady Friend finished up her second year of vet school and is now entrenched in the third. She can already spay and neuter dogs and cats. A friend of a friend’s mom used to neuter country cats out on their farm growing up. He said people would drop them off and she’d do it right on the kitchen table (that’s what she said). Lady Friend isn’t quite that cavalier, but it’s important to note that many of her surgeries thus far have been illegal in the eyes of Ohio law. What a badass!

I spent the summer coaching Ultimate in Columbus’ summer league, where I took a scrawny bunch of underachievers and turned them into a well-oiled winning machine. Many in Columbus were at first angry at my style, cornering me at our local barber shop to warn me that “zone defense is the only thing that’s worked in the past, and it’s the only thing that will work this year.” I did it my way, though, taking us all the way to the tournament where we beat South Bend Central and their bench of street-tough African Americans.

The summer also took Lady Friend and me to Florida, where we enjoyed a week at Siesta Key on the Gulf Coast. Since we’re not married we slept in separate twin beds, just like in The Dick Van Dyke Show. The beach was great, and the house was amazing. We liked it so much that we’re thinking of buying a place down there with our Christmas money this year.

It’s been a lonely apartment ever since Fran (Lady Friend's sister) moved away to Atlanta, so we replaced her with a new kitten in September. Like Fran, Izzie sometimes sleeps in the closet and is good about cleaning herself. Unlike Fran, Izzie can fetch small objects and win our heartfelt love. It’s been a lot of fun, and our older cat Rona couldn’t be happier. The two of them are inseparable, sometimes a little too inseparable. We need to be careful, because as Jurassic Park taught us, nature will find a way.

Other random highlights of the year include Lady Friend fixing her car’s brakes, The Correspondent getting a well-fitting pair of jeans and the two us discovering the Manager’s Special section of the meat counter at Kroger’s. I don’t know what 2009 holds, but it’s safe to say that if Notre Dame doesn’t win more football games I’m going to hunt each and every one of you down and strangle you with my own patience, which by now has been whittled down to a razor-sharp thread.

So Merry Christmas from Lady Friend and The Correspondent, and we hope that you have a blessed New Year! Gooooo Irish!

With Feelings,

The Correspondent & Lady Friend

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Letter to a Police Sketch Artist

If you're reading this, Dad, I only have one thing to say. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock...

Stephen Mancusi
1006 Brown St
Peekskill, NY 10566

Dear Mr. Mancusi,

Hello, good sir. Might I first say that I've been to your website, and you are a striking man. Bald, sure, but striking nonetheless. I mean, at least you went bald the good way, right? I'd kill myself if I was one of those guys that goes bald up on the crown first. Then you've got to buy Rogaine, and who knows if it's even going to work. Just Bic the thing already! You, though, you've got that Captain Picard look going, with the short hair on the sides. Also, interestingly enough, you have a mustache. This is actually the reason for my letter today.

You see, my father is also a mustachioed man. Has been his entire adult life. It's not a bad mustache, either. It's full-bodied but not insistent upon itself, much like a middle-aged prostitute. The thing is, I have never seen my father without his mustache. I've seen a photo of him in high school, but that's it. Put simply, my curiosity must be met! Now, I know what you're thinking. Why don't I just wait until he's dead, then demand the mortician shave it off for the funeral? That's a great idea, sure, but he's still a healthy man, and I don't want to wait that long. This is where you come in.

I'd like you to draw a composite image of my father as he is today, sans the mustache. Then, I can present it to him for Father's Day as a present from our entire family (and you). If you agree I can send you a recent photo of him, or if you prefer I can answer a series of questions about his physical appearance. He's between 5'7" and 5'9", about 160 lbs. He has thick, wavy, salt and pepper hair, blue eyes and a big nose. Not a droopy nose, either, it's a real honker. He looks a lot like me, actually, and I look like a young Robbie Benson, so maybe you can find a picture of the current Robbie Benson and work off of that for the time being.

As for compensation, I don't have a lot of money to offer you, but I'm sure we can work something out. I used to cut grass as a kid, so maybe I could come do that a few times. Do you have your own lawnmower? It better not be a Toro, though, as I vastly prefer LawnBoy. I don't care if it's the same company, Steve, the models are completely different!

Ok Then,

The Correspondent

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Letter to Fruit Loops

Worst. Letter. Ever. I've got to plead a pass on tonight, folks, I spent 45 minutes trying to find someone with a verifiable address to write to with my original idea. Then I got fed up, blended the idea with this other idea and wrote this. Of course, I thought the letter to the crazy leaf lady was terrible, so what do I know?

Margaret Bath
Vice President, Research, Quality and Technology
Kellogg Company Kellogg Company P.O. Box CAMB
Battle Creek, MI 49016

Dear Ms. Bath,

Hello, from one Midwesterner to another! I think we live in the greatest part of the country, bar none, wouldn't you agree? American cars, power-running football, high fructose corn syrup and best of all a little card game called euchre. I'm sure you know the one, it's the greatest of them all. Tricks, trump, bowers and loners - it's got everything! Let me ask you, you ever cap a 10-9 comeback win by pushing through a limp-wristed loner sporting only the left-9? God, it was better than sex.

Now, I want to let you in on a little secret. I'm on the verge of founding a euchre tournament at my estate in southwest-central Ohio. I need an event that can be the foil to my bi-decade wintry dog-sledding race, which is already the fastest growing dog-sledding event in the lower United States. It's time I did for Midwestern euchre what I did for Midwestern dog-sledding, Miss Bath, and I want you to help!

My main event will pit 36 of the country's best players against each other in a high-stakes tournament held over three days at my mansion deep in the woods of Fayette County. The winner will receive $100,000 (One-Hundred Thousand Dollars (US)) and, with your blessing, their face on the Froot Loops box. No, not Wheaties! I hate Wheaties! It's got to be Froot Loops, how else will we draw kids into the sport?

There's more, though. Miss Bath, I want you to represent the southeast-central Michigan region at my own personal table. It is all expenses paid, and there is no entry fee. It's been a tough year for our economy and this is my Christmas gift to the country. My only request is that, for the Froot Loop box promotion, Kellogg change a few things about their recipe. First, make bigger loops. The loops have been getting smaller and smaller the last 25 years, and I can't thread the holes anymore to make necklaces. Second, get rid of the blue loops (there is no such thing as blue food). Third, stop making Reduced Sugar Froot Loops, it's a disgrace. I want to always wonder which bowl will be the one to finally give me diabetes.

If you accept the challenge, Miss Bath, then write me back at once. I am planning the tournament in the second quarter of 2009, so keep your calendar open.

Do svidaniya!

The Correspondent

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Letter to the Pringle Man

I'm getting lazy with the addresses. I'll look em up tomorrow. Thankfully, I don't have any football to watch.

Gene Wolfe

Dear Mr. Wolfe,

I don't have time for pleasantries right now, so we'll save the introductions for a later date. Through various channels two facts have been brought to my attention. First, that you, sir, played an integral role in the creation and manufacturing process responsible for the American snack product known as Pringles. Second, that Pringles are originally cooked in a large sheet, possibly as wide as three feet. I covet these sheets, Mr. Wolfe, and I want you to help me obtain some.

No, you cannot ask me why! Why did Phaethon covet his father's golden chariot? Why did Ahab chase the white whale? Why did Indiana Jones seek the Holy Grail? Trick question! Nazis shot his father. No, I must have this giant, square Pringle at any cost. Except for any amount of money, because I'm not going to lie, I don't have any.

Still, I know you'll help me out. Think of what we could do with a couple of those giant Pringles! Obviously, the first thing we'll do is eat one. I mean, it will border on animal lust. I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone about it afterwards. I would just start taking huge chunks out of that thing left and right. When I was a kid I always wanted to fill a swimming pool with jello, but later realized I stood a very real chance of being sucked in and drowning. This, though, is a lot safer.

After we gorge ourselves on gargantuan potato sheet, I'd like to make an A-sign that says "Will work for food" and wear it in downtown Columbus. Then whenever someone stopped and offered me work, I would interrupt them to laugh and say, "Oh, how silly of me! I don't need to work for food!" Then I, of course, will break off a piece of my sign and cheerfully eat it. These people will then respect me.

There are many other things I would like to do with a giant Pringle, but those two stand out and I don't want to waste anymore time. I'll finish by estimating that we'll need at least two dozen sheets, three if your chip lust rivals my own. This could be the beginning of a very fruitful (or should I say vegetable?) relationship, Mr. Wolfe! Let us begin the journey that ends only with mens' dreams!


The Correspondent

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Letter to My Face Twin

I got caught up at a meeting tonight but I wanted to get a letter out. I'll look up his full address tomorrow.

Ronnie Benson
NYU Theatre Dept.
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Benson,

Hello to you and the Big Apple! I hate New York City. I've never been there, but I hate the people there. They all think the world revolves around them and they have stupid little conservations about what the best midtown burger is, or how you can't go below 52nd Avenue or how only ugly people eat dinner before nine o'clock. I hope you're not one of those people, but I have a feeling you aren't. And I derive that feeling, my friend, from the fact that you and I are face twins.

When I was a younger man, in secondary school, old people began telling me I looked just like Robbie Benson. I always smiled and said "I hear that a lot," before taking away the sample tray of chocolate-covered peanuts because they were never going to buy anything (I worked in the mall). I forgot about it as time went by, but today I was again reminded of our purported similarity, so I hopped onto the internet and Google searched your image. It's unbelievable! We are a dead ringer. This isn't just like when fat girls say they look like Roseanne, either, you and me really are face twins.

Stranger still was when I dug a little deeper. Your birthday is January 21st? My birthday is January 20th! You had a small heart valve defect that needed surgery? I've always thought I have mitral valve prolapse! I sometimes have pain when I breathe, but my dad just thinks it's "life pains." Hey, do you have a small cross-shaped mole on your inner pelvis? Ever tell girls it just appeared there on your sixteenth birthday?

I'm really glad we've met. Have you heard of our other face twins? Turns out there's a guy on ESPN named Mike Greenberg that kind of looks like us. Also, that kid from That Seventies Show. We should start a newsletter. Maybe a twitter feed. I read that you wrote a play. Perhaps you could draw some inspiration from your face twins. It could be one of those gritty dramas where separate characters' lives intersect randomly one fateful day. Or maybe it's a life story. I'll play the mid-20s Jack Qaragon (you like? It's just taragon with a Q), Greenberg can play the 40-year old version and you can play however old you are. I'm assuming it's up there, since all those old people knew who you were.

Ok, sir, that's most of what I wanted to say here. Please let me know what you think and we can get the ball rolling. Where is it rolling? We don't know. That's theatre (theater?).


The Correspondent

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Letter to Val Kilmer

My brother bought The Dark Knight last night for $25. I saw it in the theatre for $1. Why does he even bother getting up in the morning?

Val Kilmer
P.O. Box 362
Tesuque, NM 87574

Dear Mr. Kilmer,

Hey, Iceman! How's it going? I'm good, good, just hanging out drinking a Bud, watching some HGTV. You ever watch Property Ladder? Man, do those people even know what a budget is? Hello! Anybody home, McFly? You know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, the reason I'm writing you is to talk some ice, Iceman. My lady friend and I went out for dinner and movie last night, since it was half-off at the dollar theater and they're playing The Dark Knight. We stop by my favorite pizza place on the way to grab a slice, and I get myself a Cherry Coke. It was good, the pizza had kind of a fishy taste to it, but that was ok. The bee's knees, though, was that Cherry Coke. It had the best kind of ice in it! I had to tell somebody, and I figured if anybody would have the time to read a letter, it would be you.

So this is the kind of ice where it's sort of crushed, but not really. It's like a bunch of little balls of ice, kind of like hail. You know what I mean? It had a lower density than regular ice, too. It was really easy to bite, almost airy, like little cheese puffs. I'm sure you already know the kind of ice I'm talking about, but I'll go on. You very rarely find it, this ice. Perhaps at a county fair corn dog booth, or at the Orange Julius in the poor mall on the south side of town. When you do, though, it turns any ho-drum meal into an extraordinary memory.

Why doesn't everyone use this kind of ice, Val? I thought of writing to McDonald's, but they're not going to listen to me. We need a celebrity behind this, a spokesman. I need you, Mr. Kilmer. Every ice-cold beverage in the country needs you. Won't you be our huckleberry?

Ok, that's all I got. Hey, is Elizabeth Shue nice in person? She seems like she'd be nice in person. If you want to give her my address you can.

Ready to go,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Letter to Reserve My Wedding

Kenneth W. Bladh, Provost
Wittenberg University
213 Recitation Hall
P.O. Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501

Dear Mr. Bladh,

Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Bladh. The holiday season has me in a bit of a sullen mood, as I wile away the days in December rain, thinking of Christmas Past and of all the opportunities I've let slip by. The people I've loved but moved on from, the people I've loved and had taken away. All while a never-ending river of God's dirty backwash drips off the roof of my apartment and down onto the oily, cracked concrete world around me. Anyway, I'm writing to you about my future wedding plans. Yay!

I'm not engaged, Mr. Provost, but one day I plan to take a wife, and as such I will require a venue in which to celebrate my lifestyle choices. After much careful consideration I have settled on Wittenberg University, where I graduated from in 2005. Where I deviate, though, is in the exact space of my inevitable nuptials. I do not wish to be married in the Chapel, since I have no ties to the Lutheran Church. I instead wish to be married at the bottom of the grassy field known as the Hollow, where I played Ultimate Frisbee for four years.

Ah yes, the Hollow. I remember her well. She was an experienced lady, to be sure, but no worn grass or cracked earth could make her less beautiful to me. I was like her benefactor, coming daily to her bosom to learn of life and frisbee, to practice my forehand and defensive skills, all the while never knowing that I was also practicing how to be a man. When my time was up, and I had to leave her to younger men, I knew I must one day return, to thank her for everything she had given me as I prepared to enter the final stage of adulthood.

Anyway, I hope Wittenberg will accomodate my request. I intend to be married in the summer of 2010 and will need chairs for about 75 guests. I'll also require armed guards at the top of the Hollow to prevent any frat boys from disturbing the ceremony with their rounds of disc golf. I will be wearing black Adidas Copa Mundial cleats, but I assure you everyone else will be in flat-soled shoes, preserving the integrity of the groundskeeping.

Please let me know how I can secure my reservation and what rates the University expects. Also, for your help in this matter, I would like to extend you and a guest a formal invitation. Please RSVP by sometime in May 2010.

Till Death,

The Correspondent

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Letter to Ms. Largin

All of my letters are what I would call intellectually honest, that is to say, a decent part of me is entirely serious when writing them. Sometimes the balance shifts between what may just be a joke and what is actually serious, and perhaps the comedy shifts as well. This is decidedly serious, so I apologize if it is decidedly not that funny. This preface was decidedly confusing and stupid.

Ms. Vernita Largin
1512 Hass Drive
South Bend, IN 46635

Dear Ms. Largin,

Hello, ma'am. I hope you are having a fair evening so far, however, I must first warn you that I am not writing you a letter. I may be writing you a letter, but only as a latent effect of my intended action, which is to write a letter to the owner of 1512 Hass Drive in the Fall of 1989. Since I cannot be sure if that is you or not, I can only take the chance of writing to you in the hopes that you are her, that is, the woman who lived in your house nearly twenty years ago.

You see, Ms. Largin, in the Fall of 1989 I was six years old and living in your neighborhood with my two older brothers and older sister. My parents were also there. One day, as we were apt to do in the Fall, we went to Boehm Park behind your home to play in the giant piles of oak leaves the groundskeeper had gathered about. I naturally dug one pile out and created a castle where I could rule over all men, specifically my older brothers, who prowled about the park on their Huffy bicycles like a couple of Gaul barbarians. Unfortunately, as both barbarians and older brothers are wont to do, they accosted my castle. Picking up a giant log (not a branch!) they dive-bombed my fort, throwing the heavy limb inside where it landed directly on my unsuspecting head. I then screamed.

Now, since I was fairly certain I was going to die, I screamed very loudly. So loudly, in fact, that you (or the previous owner of your home) took it upon yourself to follow us back home and tell my parents what a racket I had caused, and that you "thought somebody was dying!" As I said before, I shared your opinion of the situation. Nevertheless, my father forced me to walk back to your home and apologize for upsetting you. Let me repeat, I had to apologize for having a half-tree dropped on my head.

Well, I'm a little older, and a little wiser, and there isn't a damn thing my father can do to me anymore, so I am recanting my apology. I am not sorry for screaming so loudly and I am not sorry for upsetting you. I also do not promise to be more careful next time, and I will not stay out of the leaves. I understand that they are in a pile for a reason, but I could not care less if I ruin the pile. I hope I ruin the pile, Ms. Largin.

If you wish to recant your acceptance of my apology, I will understand and you can reach me at the above address. Otherwise, let us consider this long, national nightmare put to rest once and for all.

Entirely of my own volition,

The Correspondent

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Letter to Faygo

I spent a long time deciding who could sponsor me in this mission. Then it hit me. Faygo Beverages.

Alan A. Chittaro
Executive Vice President
Faygo Beverages
3579 Gratiot Ave
Detroit, MI 48207

Dear Mr. Chittaro,

Hello, Mr. Chittaro, my name is The Correspondent. I'm a long-time Faygo fanatic who can never get enough of your wonderful creme soda. Here's a delicious treat you might be interested in: blend a few chunks of watermelon, about half a cup of Faygo creme soda and two shots of Polish vodka. Now freeze it in some ice cube trays and use the ice in a glass of skim milk. Trust me, it just works. Maybe you can put it on the back of your two-liter bottles, you know, like a recipe section.

Anyway, I'm actually contacting you because I have a dream I'd like to share with you. Last year I completed the Southwest-Central Ohio Iditarod, which was previously a challenge that had defeated me for five straight years. Having finally triumphed in this lifelong endeavor, I've set my sights on a new goal: to run, not walk, the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail is a treasure of American wilderness and peaks out at over 2100 miles. Am I up to the challenge physically? I'll let my 3-day cross-county sled ride over the Little Miami River Scenic Bike Trail answer that question for me. It isn't a matter of if I'll finish the trail, but how badly I'll break the current time record.

Unfortunately, my plans have hit a roadblock. Run-hiking the trail will still take me several months, during which time I won't be able to work and make my regular car/student loan/dogsled payments. I'll also need equipment, which unfortunately costs money. All in all I'd put the cost for this adventure at $3,000 (Three-thousand US dollars).

So, I'd like Faygo to sponsor me. Faygo needs a show like this to draw new consumers into its line of sweet, cane sugar-based soft drink products. And think about this: fitness drinks are now the largest growing section of the beverage market. What better way to enter the ring with Gatorade and Water than with the new Appalachian Trail Time Record, fueled by Faygo's new FayGO Fitness Drink (we can hash out names later)! Also, and this may seem like bragging, but if you want to use me for commercials I'm very attractive.

Please consider my proposal and think of the achievement the two of us could hold, Mr. Chittaro. To conquer the Trail is to conquer God himself, to wrench His indifferent hand down from the heavens until he has relinquised not only the amoral misery of our world, but also the very meaning of Life itself.

In Honor,

The Correspondent

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Replies!

This past weekend I received two new replies, and I finally remembered to bring them into work to be scanned. I will float the following protocol out there for these replies: post the scans* and a brief explanation in a separate post at the top of the page, and also link back to the original letters which will now include the updated correspondence.

*Note: I have decided not to scan correspondence of a personal nature, especially regarding individuals (as opposed to businesses) that are unaware of my blog. I will still give a synopsis with personal details omitted. This is a flexible policy and each letter/reply will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Welch's Grapes:
Welch's gave me a pretty quick (albeit brief) reply, apologizing for something they probably had no fault in (and which I've come to realize was just my own bad luck). Also, it really doesn't matter if your grape bag zips or not. I suddenly feel very guilty for wasting Ms. Spicer's time. Although, seriously, hot name. You wanted to see me, Ms. Spicer? Yes, name redacted. We really need to do something about your biology grade...

Oh, and I got free coupons! I get a free bag of grapes and a bunch of free cartons of juice. Come to think of it, though, I don't believe I've ever actually seen a Welch's brand bag of grapes at the grocery store.

My Name Twin:

Was there ever any question that my name twin would be awesome? No, there wasn't. Name Redacted not only sent me a Christmas card, he filled the inside with a personal message thanking me for my letter and telling me about his family. Turns out he has a nephew with our same name, as well. He even sent me blank stationary with his name (my name!) printed at the top, and said he hopes we meet someday. Just great, more family I have to go visit now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Letter to Just For Men

I'm not lying when I say this question has puzzled me for several years.

Combe Incorporated
1101 Westchester Avenue
White Plains, NY 10604
Attn: President Christopher B. Combe

Dear Mr. Combe,

Hello, Mr. Combe. I find it more than a little suspicious that a man who owns a personal care conglomerate is named "Combe," but I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm writing you regarding your subsidiary "Just For Men," partly because I could not enter their online website. The introduction page has a list of countries to choose from, and America is not on the list! That's strike two, Mr. "Combe." You'd better hope your next swing is at least a foul tip.

Ok, I'm not really a baseball fan, so I looked up a foul tip to make sure my threat made sense, and it turns out that a foul tip is considered a strike. So, as the third strike, a foul tip would actually mean you're out. I'm tough but fair. Now wait, hold on a minute. I just read it again and it said most fans and sportscasters use the term "foul tip" to refer to any ball grazed by the bat, whereas the rulebook refers to a chipped pitch that lands in the catcher's mitt. Let's just use the fan's definition so you can stay alive long enough to reply to my letter.

Alright, now that we have our introduction and pleasantries out of the way, I have a question about your Just For Men products. Say you're an older guy and you don't want your special lady friend to know you have gray hair. Sure, you use Just For Men. But, um, what about down there? See, I'm only 25, so I don't know the details exactly, but when you get gray hair don't you get it everywhere? You've got Just For Men for the beard and the mustache. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Look, I'm not trying to be crude, but let's be serious. If the whole point is to get the special lady friend interested, doesn't it stand to reason that she's going to know...look down there? Then not only is the guy's age busted, but he's busted on the Just For Men, too. That's two strikes, Mr. Combe, and I know you know what it's like to have two strikes.

So my idea was another product - Just For Men: Down There. It'll have to be a gentle formula, though. I don't usually condone testing this kind of stuff on animals, but in this situation I think you're going to want to test this stuff on animals. I'm not talking about mice, either, you need to bite the bullet and buy a horse. Maybe you can modify your mustache formula. Put some aloe in there or something. Essential oils or who knows what, just test that stuff first, ok?

So you write me back about this little loophole in your product line; I'm curious to hear how you'd address the situation. I hope you've got a good one up your sleeve, Chris. That strike count is getting up there.

On The Mound,

The Correspondent

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Letter to the Head of Pixar

Doobie doobie doo.

Andrew Stanton
Mill Valley, CA

Dear Mr. Stanton,

What a pleasure to finally sort of meet you, sir! I've been a Pixar fan for many years and think your team has consistently captured the magic I see everyday in the eyes and hearts of all those innocent children. Kudos to you!

You know, I used to be a child. It's true! I used to make up all sorts of little fantasies. I remember I used to imagine I was part of an underground resistance group fighting an oppressive, totalitarian government that was always hot on my trail. My home base was the bathroom, and if I touched certain flowers on the wallpaper next to the toilet, I could bring up computer screens and weapons and bar the door from government bounty hunters chasing me. It really passed the time while I pooped.

Anyway, my imagination hasn't left me just yet, and I've recently spawned a wonderful character I think you might enjoy. His name is Lolli Oliver, and he's "the Ambassador of Fun." I included a drawing for you to base your 3-D modeling off of, but here's a little background: his body is a peach, and if children get hungry they can always eat him (he's pesticide-free). He has floppy dog ears and two antennae that allow him to fly when they pick up "love frequencies." I'm not sure about this concept, so you'll have to flesh it out yourself.
Other than that he's pretty normal, just a couple of Mickey Mouse gloves and a broom for a leg. I was thinking maybe he could be the star in your next movie, and the theme could be diversity. Like maybe there's a talking peach, and a talking dog and a talking broom, and they all hate each other until Lolli Oliver shows up and teaches them how to rock. It practically writes itself!

Please let me know if you like my concept, and maybe we can option this thing. I don't want to name drop, but I bet Harvey Weinstein would eat this up in a heartbeat. Don't get left in the cold!


The Correspondent

P.S. Please excuse the writing on my drawing, I accidentally scribbled my lunch order on it.