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.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Letter To 103.9 The Bear

It just occurred to me that this it the second radio station I've written. Also, I apologize for the terrible updates this week; Thanksgiving threw me for a loop (I cook, not just show up.) I will work on building a back log this weekend so I may continue posting each weekday starting on Monday.

WRBR Radio
237 West Edison Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545
Attn: General Station Manager

Dear Sir or Madam,

If I may, I would like to offer you cordial greetings from Columbus, Ohio. We have many radio stations here in the capital city of the Buckeye state, but I must confess that none of them hold a candle to the sheer rockicity of The Bear. You broadcast at such a high level of awesomity that I sometimes think I can pick up your signal on my car radio, if I can only tune the dial just right. Unfortunately, I then realize I am picking up 103.9 Talk FM, and what I confused for rock is actually Dennis Miller, who is simply god-awful. I thought perhaps it was just Nickelback.

Anyway, the reason I am writing you today is because I am a very punctual man, and I like to plan ahead. I always set my clothes out on the chair the night before I go to bed, and I always notify my special lady friend three days before lovemaking so that she may properly hydrate. As station manager, I'm sure you can relate to adhereing by a strict schedule. Please excuse me for a moment while I perform my 8:30constitutional.

Thank you. Now, I will be visiting my grandmother, who lives in Mishawaka, on the 26th of December to celebrate the Christmas season with her, and I would like to request a song as I arrive in town. At approximately 6:40 PM I expect to be between Lapaz and the US 20 Bypass exit on state route 31, well within your listening range. If it pleases you, I would like to request "some Queens of the Stone Age."

So you don't think me unreasonable, I have left ample wiggle room as to the actual song selection, as I'm reasonably assured that any QotSA will fit my mood that evening. Just to be clear, though, I particularly enjoy the piece "3's and 7's." Just putting that out there.

Please let me know as soon as you can if you anticipate fulfilling my request, as I will need to adjust my plans otherwise. I am prepared to request "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits from Oldies 94.3, and four minutes of static from U93, if necessary. Good day to you.

In Rock We Trust,

The Correspondent

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Letter To Penn Tennis Balls

I don't get how tennis is scored. One set Serena Venus will win by, like, 6-2, and then the next she'll win 7-6. It makes no sense. What are they playing to??

Kevin Kempin
Vice President Sales and Marketing
Penn Racquet Sports
306 S 45th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85043

Dear Mr. Kempin,

Hello and right back at ya! Do you get it? I imagined that you first said hello to me, followed by a friendly colloquial greeting. I then "volleyed" my reply back as if volleying a tennis ball back to you, referencing your company's main product. We can do this all night, mister!

First of all, I'm a big Penn fan. But not for the reason you think! I actually don't play tennis. Sure, my girlfriend and I will occasionally knock a few balls around, but we don't know what in the heck we're doing. Usually she hits them so hard they go flying over the fence and I can't even find them again. No, sir, I'm no Robert Kendrick or Alberto Martin, but I do love Penn tennis balls. Why? Because of the tubes!

Seriously, I don't think I've ever lived in a house that didn't have a couple of your tennis ball tubes lying around. You can do anything with these things! Store pennies in them, store nickels in them, store quarters in them. M&Ms, Tic-Tacs, toenail clippings, water...the list is endless. Have you ever thought of just selling the tubes?

"Penn's Tennis Ball Tubes - You've Probably Got Three Lying Around Already!"

What about a Christmas ad campaign, and this really attractive young man is giving his girlfriend a present. She unwraps it and it's a kitten stuffed into a Penn Tennis Ball Tube! I bet those guys at Jared Jewelry would drive straight home and kill themselves. I know I would if I was them.

Another great idea I had was bottling the scent of fresh tennis balls and selling it as a fragrance. Imagine the same Christmas commercial, except this time the girl is spritzing herself with Penn Tennis Balls. The man hugs her and then gets this look on his face and whispers something in her ear. She giggles and then winks at the camera. The next thing you know we see the foot of their bed shaking, and it knocks a tube of Penn tennis balls off, the balls spilling everywhere. Don't tell the FCC, but the balls symbolize ejaculation. Get ready to be a millionaire!

Well, listen. You let me know what you think about my ideas and I promise I'll keep on buying Penn Tennis Ball Tubes. Extra-duty felt - because it's Penn!

Your Serve,

The Correspondent

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Letter To the PTA

Sandy, can't you see I'm in misery? We made a start, now we're apart - there's nothing left for me. Love has flown, I'm all alone. I sit and wonder why-i-i oh why you left me, oh Sandy...oh, Sandy baaaaby someday when hi-igh school is done, somehow, someway our two worlds will be one. In heaven in forever and ever we will be. Baby, say you're stay. Oh, Sandy.

This has gone on much longer than I first intended.

Sandy Nekoloff
Ohio PTA
40 Northwoods Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43235

Dear Ms. Nekoloff,

How are you, Madam? It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I've heard you are doing great things with the Ohio Parent Teachers Association. My mother was a teacher. May I ask, are you from the parent side of things or the teachers' side? I guess my mother was from both, although it often felt like just the teacher side. She was a cruel and relentless woman, who kept a hickory switch in every room and sent us to bed with stories from "The Young Gentleman and Lady's Monitor," a 19th-century book of etiquette. My father was less brash, and would infrequently reward us with gingersnap sweetbreads.

To get to the point of the matter, I have long been a fan of Disney movies, ever since my mother took us to see the last half of Bambi, "after the frivolous introductions" were over, as she put it. Every time a new Disney film comes out I find myself excited to see it in a theatre. Unfortunately, I have not been blessed with any children of my own, and going to a cartoon movie is both embarrassing and awkward for me. Therefore, I would like to rent 1 (one) child for a 3 (three) hour period the weekend of December 5th and 6th, so that I may not draw attention while I enjoy the Walt Disney production of Bolt, out in theaters November 20th.

I understand that it is both illegal and uncouth to rent a human being, so I will in fact not pay you or the PTA anything. We can use the term "borrow", if you like. I will, however, treat the child to his or her movie ticket, along with one candy item that I will purchase before the showing at a CVS Pharmacy. You needn't worry, I will conceal the candy myself and not implicate the child whilst I smuggle the contraband inside the theatre. The risk is all my own, while the reward (a delicious cow's tail or Bit O' Honey) will be shared with my new young friend.

My only requirement of the child is that he or she not talk during the film. Laughing is permitted, provided it is not obtrusive and blends in with the rest of the audience. Afterwards I will want to discuss what we both thought of the film, and the child must be civil while I rehash various plot points and thematic devices I deem either successful or trite. I will close this conversation by asking the child whether or not he or she would buy the film on DVD when it comes out. I expect an honest answer, and will reciprocate with my own candid opinions.

Thank you for reading my modest proposal, Madam, and I trust I will hear back from you within the time frame allotted. I would like to see the movie in early December so that we may avoid the Christmas vacation crowds. And please, no small Guatemalans.


The Correspondent

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Letter To the English Department

Letters beget more letters. So it was written in the Book of Numbers.

Dr. Robin L. Inboden
Chair - English Department
Wittenberg University
P.O. Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501

Dear Dr. Inboden,

Hello, how are you? I'm fine. You would be so proud of me. I started writing this letter and the little Microsoft Office paperclip asked if I needed any help, but I clicked "cancel"! I graduated from the English department at Wittenberg University; I don't need any help writing a letter! Plus, I'm an adult now so I can make all the mistakes I want and nobody can stop me (such as using punctuation outside of quotation marks). USA! USA!

The reason I'm writing you is to ask a question that has caused me shame long enough. I feel a little stupid having to come back to you to ask this, but can you please explain to me what irony is? I've always sort of thought I knew the right answer, but in the back of my head I've always felt like I was wrong afterwards. Kind of like when I voted for Obama.

I'll give you some context. I recently wrote a letter to the man in charge of grapes (the fruit, not the computer programming environment), and while I wrote it I was eating a banana. I thought to myself, "This is ironic!" Then later I felt remorse and shame, because I didn't think it was really ironic at all. How can I be so stupid?! This is why I haven't been published yet!

Naturally I went online to look up the definition. I had to because I sold all of my old text books to pay my internet bill. I learned that "Verbal irony is a disparity of expression and intention: when a speaker says one thing but means another, or when a literal meaning is contrary to its intended effect," ("Wikipedia"), but I don't think that works. I meant everything I said to the Head of Grapes.

I also don't think it was dramatic irony, because I knew what the letter meant (I was asking him why my grape bag had a zipper that didn't work). To be honest, I think the whole thing was closest to Socratic irony, because I asked a bunch of  questions about grapes. In the end, it will be he who teaches me (think about it). But then how does the banana fit into everything?

Anywho, if you could write me back with an explanation I would really appreciate it. I'd even be down for coming into one of your classes and helping teach some current English majors all about it. I'm going to be on campus soon anyway to help plan a new major with President Erickson (he knows what it's about, I wrote him a letter).

In Calibri,

The Correspondent

Works Cited

"Irony." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 18 Nov. 2008 21:45 UTC. 
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 10 Aug. 2004. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Special Thanksgiving Treat

Apropos of the letter to John Madden, here's my recipe for the Thanksgiving Turdukenigobinail, which I wrote last year for I thought it might be a nice mix up from the letters. Here is the original link.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means you've got a little over a week to get your holiday menu in order. This year, instead of serving that same tired bird to everyone at your table, why not go for broke with a main course that's sure to impress? We at just so happen to have a time-honored recipe we think you'll all enjoy. Except for vegetarians, but they don't count.

Thanksgiving Turdukenigobinail

A petting zoo's worth of small to mid-size barn animals
150,000 Butanes of heat/energy
A bag of water softener salt
Mrs. Dash Table Blend

Okay, first thing you'll need is a pig, a turkey, a duck, a chicken, a quail and a Robin's egg. Take that egg and stick it in some warm sand, then forget it for about two weeks. That's right, just set it (on a calendar) and forget it! When it's done, take it up to a strong light and make sure the inside is dark. This means our Robin fetus is done. But wait! Don't do anything with it yet, we've still got a lot of prep work to do.

Pro life? I'm too busy being pro-delicious!

Now, time to start deboning those adult bird carcasses. The key to deboning a turkey, duck or chicken is to maintain the integrity of the meat while removing the ribs, sternum, leg bones and pelvis. If you're going to do this recipe more than once, I recommend getting a bird deboning machine, as seen below.

With your birds deboned, you're ready to scald the hair off your suckling piglet. The key to pig-scalding is to make sure the water in your cauldron is at a rolling boil, I repeat, a rolling boil. I like to get a good bonfire going in the backyard before I even put my cauldron on the thing, then letting it go for at least half an hour. If you don't have a huge black cauldron you can heat your full bathtub with a welding torch, but it will take longer. Dump your dead pig in there and turn it over a few times with a pole, letting it scald for about a two minutes. Make sure you've tied a rope around the pig's head first, otherwise it will be nearly impossible to pull it out without getting hot pig water all over yourself. Don't let it scald too long, or you might pull the head clean off.

Once it's been scalded, skinning the pig should be a breeze; just peel it like an orange. Now, cut it open and get the guts out, then hose the whole thing down. Once the water in the pot has cooled, refill it with ice water and dump the salt and spices in. This is called a brine, and will hopefully kill all the deadly bacteria from your bathtub.

Now comes the fun part – putting one dead animal inside another. The duck goes inside the turkey. The chicken goes inside the duck. The quail goes inside the chicken, and the Robin fetus goes inside the quail. If you can afford it, smear some caviar on the fetus. Make sure everything's in there good and tight. Use some Pam if the parts don't fit easily, but don't push too hard. You don't want to do any smushing, you'll ruin the presentation!

Here's a rough sketch of what the whole thing will look like.

Now, take the whole sucker and stuff it down the pig's throat. If you can't open his jaw wide enough, cut the head off to get it down in there, but sew the decapitated head back on the pig when you're done. It's the same thing the vet will do for your kitty after they kill her, chop her skull off and test her brain for rabies. Anyway, enough of my silly digressing. Let's get this baby cooking!

You can cook your turdukenigobinail several ways. If you have a wood burning fireplace, you can tie the pig across the top of your chimney and keep a hickory fire going for about three days. If you have a big enough backyard you can dig a pit and fill it with hot coals, then leave the pig in for three days. If you do pottery and have a kiln, you can stick the pig in there, but this time probably only two days. Those kilns get pretty hot.

My favorite cooking method, though, is a good old fashioned Southern deep fry. Just get a hot tub full of peanut oil and turn it on until the thermometer reads 375 degrees. Try to do this sober, though. If it gets too hot, the pig will basically explode upon contact and send unquenchable flaming oil all over your body and your loved ones. This is what happened to Mel Gibson's character in The Man Without A Face.

And that's why you never heat oil above 375, Timmy! Now, who wants some Chex Mix?

It will only take a little over an hour for your meat to be cooked through, with a deliciously crispy skin on the outside. Test the inside with a meat thermometer, making sure the juices run clear and you feel the remorse of killing all six animals. Pull it out and let it cool, then pile up the Red Rider and get that thing to your dining room!

We certainly hope you have the best Thanksgiving with your family, and with this light entree on your dinner bench, we're sure everyone will be licking their fingers well into January. Bon appetit!

A Letter To John Madden

Boom! I wrote a letter to John Madden. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to track down these people's home addresses? I ought to send my resume to the FBI. They can add it to my file.

John Madden
Pleasanton, CA

Dear Mr. Madden,

It's a pleasure to correspond with you, sir. Your work in our country's greatest sport has been well-documented, and it is my great honor to be able to tell you in my own type just how much I've enjoyed your place in football's history.

Normally I'm not the type to just go writing some random letter, but while watching your broadcast last night of the Washington Redskins against the Dallas Cowboys, I noticed something I immediately thought I could help you with. Tony Romo had just pushed the ball out to one of his receivers and you commented that he "made a push-pass, if that's even a word." Al Michaels then suggested that "you just invented it!"

Unfortunately, I have to tell you that you did not invent it. The push-pass is already a fairly common disc throw in the game of Ultimate. You take the disc and, obviously, push it forward with little to no spin on it. It's a knuckleball frisbee, John! It's most often seen after a long huck, when somebody skies their defender to snag the bee only to find themselves a few feet from the goal line. They'll come down with the disc and look off a teammate streaking force-side into the endzone, then no-look a wicked push-pass for the score. It's understandable that you would be unfamiliar with this lingo. Nevertheless, the move is straight dope on a rope.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. So, what are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? Are you making another Turkducken? A turkducken is pretty sweet, but last year I upped the ante with my delicious Thanksgiving Turdukenigobinail. That's a pig stuffed with a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a quail stuffed with a Robin's egg. It's the bee's knees, John, and a real hit with the fam-damily! This year I was thinking of putting the whole thing inside a buffalo, but I had to nix my plans due to the difficult economy/interstate livestock trading laws. Something for 2010!

Well, I better be hitting the ol' dusty trail. Tell Virginia I said hello, and feel free to write me back with your favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Do you like gravy? Me too!

In Favre We Trust,

The Correspondent

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Letter To Dr. Frankenstein

Oops, almost forgot my intro sentence. So, uh, here it is.

Dr. Ronald Miller
Omega Executive Healthcare
3650 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, Ohio 43214

Dear Dr. Miller,

Let me first congratulate you on over twenty years of service to our community through your medical training and expertise. A doctor! I used to think doctors were super-human people who were ten times smarter than the rest of the population and worked every hour of every day. Then, later, I met several medical students and realized that it wasn't as difficult as popular culture had led me to believe. Still pretty tough, though. Congrats and thank you!

Moving right along, I've been noticing your commercials on television advertising your practice, and I must say you make some startling claims. In the commercial, a soothing voice states that "3 out of every 4 deaths in Ohio can be prevented," followed by a plea for everyone to get a thorough check-up. Seriously? 75% of our population can achieve immortality? That's amazing! Or is it...

Dr. Miller, I'm going to be frank. I think you should cease whatever unholy experiments you've got going on in your lab at once, for the good of mankind. Trust me, I know how enticing it is to pretend you are God. That was the best Halloween ever. But people need to die. Imagine a world without death. How would our recent college graduates ever get jobs? What would my mother's family do with all those cemetery plots they bought? Who would stop Joe Paterno?!

Plus, if nobody can die then nobody can come back to life as a zombie. That may be a notch in your pro column, but I've taken great lengths to prepare myself for a zombie apocalypse. I live in an easily defensible apartment and have several Columbus locations already staked out for refuge if the need arises. What am I going to do with this sawed-off shotgun I welded to a chainsaw? Cut down trees and then kill all the raccoons that come out? Because that actually sounds pretty awesome!

Listen, Dr. Miller, I'm begging you to rethink your work in this field. Death can be frightening, but it's a natural part of life. I think it would go against your Hippopotamus Oath to break that circle, even if the prize of immortality looms within in your grasp. Let it go, Indiana. Let it go.


The Correspondent

A Letter To the Head of Grapes

Ironically, I'm eating a banana right now.

National Grape Cooperative Association, Inc.
National Grape
2 South Portage Street
Westfield, NY 14787
Attn: President Randolph Graham

Dear Mr. Graham,

Thank you so much for growing your delicious grapes. Grapes have played such a large role in our nation's history, and every time I pop one in my mouth I smile and think of our country's ancestors who brought their family grape vines over from the Old World and built beautiful vineyards and large families with voluptuous Mexican daughters who pranced around the California moutainsides. I assume your company is a similar operation.

Since I love grapes so much, I was thrilled this week when Kroger Supermarkets had a sale on red grapes for $1.99/lb. So I went over to grab a bag, when I noticed something very strange. The plastic grape bags all have big holes in them. What is the point of a bag filled with holes? Naturally, I asked the produce manager, and he said it was to prevent moisture from building up and spoiling the grapes. They needed to "breathe" he said. I love Old World vernacular!

My real concern, though, was when I noticed my bag had a zipper pull-tab at the top. I pulled it to close the bag, but when I reached the other side the bag was still open. Thinking I had a broken zipper, I tried another bag. Then another, and yet another! All the bags have zippers at the top to close, but none of them do anything! I went back to the produce manager, and this time he was stumped. He said he didn't know what the purpose of the zippers was, but that "the grapes should still taste the same."

Well, I got home and the grapes did taste the same. But something still was lost. Maybe it's just me, but I can't stand a puzzle like this. Why design a Ziplock-type plastic bag that cannot close? That's like me designing a wool sweater with tiny piping filled with freon, so that when you put the sweater on it cools you down like an air conditioner. It doesn't make sense, and none of my drawings are financially viable inventions.

Please, Mr. Graham, I'm not trying to take up too much of your time. I know you've got to go chase your little barefooted Mexican daughters between rows of golden vines as the sun sets behind the rich-green mountain slopes, before coming inside to eat a big plate of pasta that your cheerily obese wife prepared. I know you're busy, but if you could just write me a quick note explaining the perplexing purpose of your plastic grape bags, I would greatly be in your debt.

Proudly At Your Service,

The Correspondent

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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Letter To Ornithologist David Sibley

I am having one of those weeks. I'm tired at 7:00 PM every night and I'm stuck on this one project at work that's taking forever. Fun things like this blog shouldn't be a chore. Why am I talking to you about this?!

Mr. David Sibley
45 Isaac Davis Road
Concord, MA 01742

Dear Mr. Sibley,

Greetings from Ohio! Last night I noticed several crows acting crazy in the sky outside my apartment. Concerned, I prepared to call the CDC to report a possible West Nile outbreak when my eye caught a figure on the chimney across the street. Sure enough, it was a Cooper’s Hawk that had riled up those crows. I checked it immediately against the version in my Sibley Field Guide and confirmed my identification.

Upon telling my lady friend of my discovery, however, she corrected my verbiage. “It’s not a Cooper’s Hawk,” she said in a tone that made me reevaluate our relationship. “It’s just Cooper’s Hawk. You refer to birds just by using their common names.” Flabbergasted, the idea has consumed me ever since and forced me to research your county auditor’s tax information website in order to procure your home address so I might write you this letter.

So what you’re telling me is that instead of saying, “Look, in that tree! It’s the Semipalmated Plover!”, I instead have to say, “Look, it’s Semipalmated Plover!” That’s like I’m saying, “Look, it’s Ed Ruettiger from the farm store. Hi, Ed!” I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy, Mr. Sibley, I like a little formality in life. I eat granola in the morning. I pee sitting down. I hate people who own shiny metallic dress shirts, and I don’t want to be on a first name basis with some bird I’ve never even met!

This is just like when I was little and we called our old neighbor Louie, even though I preferred calling the elderly by their formal last names. Louie was a great guy, but when he died and I went to his funeral I didn’t want to call him Louie in front of all his old friends and family. I was already uncomfortable. Why was there so much Polish food there? Why was everyone so happy? Sure, it was a celebration of life, but who wants to eat polish sausage and sauerkraut in a funeral parlor? Or was the polish banquet somewhere else? His wife was the nicest woman. She died on May 3rdth, I remember it to this day because I was in school and my dad told me when I got out that day. Everyone else parked in front of the school, but my dad parked way behind the school at this dead-end street near a park adjacent to the soccer fields. I walked that way home anyway, but some days he would be waiting there to pick me up, and sometimes before we’d go home he would take me to Videowatch by G.L. Perry's Variety Store and rent me a game for my Nintendo Entertainment System.

Anyway, Mr. Sibley, which is it? Did a Cooper’s Hawk land on that chimney, or did I just see good ol’ Cooper’s Hawk over there. Yep, Cooper’s was just hanging out, driving Crow out of his damned mind. What a bunch of characters, those guys! You let me know as soon as you can, and enjoy Concord. It looks lovely on the Google Streetview map right by your house.

Completely Here,

The Correspondent

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Letter To Milton Bradley

There is a wonderful joke hidden in here. The Aladdin of jokes. A diamond in the rough. I've probably hyped it way too much now.

Milton Bradley Company
443 Shaker Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028-3124
Attn: The President

Dear Mr. Bradley,

So many years, so many memories! I had to write and thank you for years of great family fun. None of the new games can hold a candle to Milton Bradley’s classic board games. Apples To Apples? That game makes no sense. How can the Fresh Prince of Bel Air remind someone of the word “glistening?” And don’t get me started on Mad Gab. The people that made that game can go eat Abe owners and which.

Anyway, I love your games. Especially Stratego – it’s got it all. War? Check. Landmines? Check. Spies? Check? Two bodies of water? Check! This was my favorite game growing up. My Grandma used to play it with me all the time, and I’m reasonably sure I won legitimately. In fact, I loved Stratego so much that my lady friend bought me a new copy of the game for my birthday last year. Great news, right? Wrong. I walked into that pile like an expendable Scout walking into a first tier bomb.

Let’s get started with some constructive criticism. First of all, the pieces are all plastic. I enjoyed the old metal pieces. They made me feel like a man. Please change them back, I don’t care how much it costs. Gas prices are going down, I assume metal and corn prices are falling as well. Second, the game board is folded into fourths. Why are you doing this to me? The game’s box is still the same size! I think you’re playing your own game, Mr. Bradley, and it’s called fold the box one too many times. Nobody likes the folds in a game board, but we all suffered the one down the middle because we knew it was necessary. Now you want us to suffer another fold? And a SLIT in the cardboard?! You ask too much, sir.

Also, did you switch the numbers on the soldiers? I could have sworn that a 1 used to be the best guy, but now 1 is the weakest and 10 is the strongest. This confused for me several months at first. I kept thinking I had an army of invincible Marshals, so I told my lady friend where my flag was at the beginning of every game, just to mock her. Then when she complained I was cheating I told her to go to the police if she liked. She didn’t, and I won. Bluffing is a subtle skill that all great gamers possess.

Other than that, it’s still a great game. The box itself is a little flamboyant. Does the cavalry man really need a mustache? Also, I miss the suburban family on the back of the box enjoying their weekly game night. I wonder what they’re all doing right now. I hope that kid didn’t grow up to be a goth teen. Also, the mom was kind of hot. Can you send me a picture of her? Just her, I don’ t need the rest of them.

Graciously Yours,

The Correspondent

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Letter To My Alma Mater (with reply)

Reply below.

It's not Tuesday yet. I'm allowed to post a letter really late, if I have a good excuse. Tonight I took a bubble bath and afterwards felt dizzy.

Office of the President
Wittenberg University
P.O. Box 720
Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
President Mark Erickson

Dear Mr. Erickson,

As a 2005 graduate of Wittenberg University, I’m always looking for ways to give back to my alma mater that doesn’t involve monetary donations. I have a brick with my name inscribed on it somewhere on campus, you know. Buried underneath that brick lies the secret that can save us all. Find the brick, Mr. Erickson, and you’ll find the antidote. Nah, I’m just kidding. There is no antidote.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing is tell you of an idea I had to broaden Witt’s liberal arts scope and teach the kids some useful skills for the future. While visiting my Grandmother this past weekend we started talking about the Great Depression. Specifically, I asked her for tips on how I could survive a Depression if it happened again. There was a lot of information! I was very impressed, so to compensate for my insecurity I told her what an iPhone is and how you can play Marble Madness on it. She had no clue what I was talking about, and I again felt superior.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Wittenberg needs a major program based on Depression Living. Studies show that in the next ten years, the need for people with Depression Living degrees will grow by millions and millions. What a market to be in! I understand it can be difficult to build a curriculum from scratch, so here’s some course suggestions.

First, I think you’ll need a basic course on vegetables. How to grow them, how to can them, how to make thin, cloudy soups from them. Instead of lab study, teach kids how to make pickles and sauerkraut in their cellars. Did you know you can bury carrots in the cellar and they will stay fresh all winter? Are you calling my Grandmother a liar?

Another prerequisite would be advanced sewing. How to make a little girl’s dress from empty grain sacks, how to re-sole shoes using scraps from the rubber factory. I don’t know any of these skills, but I wish I did. Just yesterday I used shoe polish on my brown dress shoes for the first time. I was skeptical that the company knew exactly what shade of brown my shoes were, but there they are, looking slightly better. Who knew?

Of course, our new major has some fun electives in it also. Tomorrow’s Depression Living graduates will need to know the history of drifter folk music and its theory. Everyone should be able to diagram “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” and they will have to write a ballad for their senior thesis. Also, there could be a course called “Games Made of Hoops and Sticks.” That one might only be two credits, we’ll have to discuss it further with the provost.

I’m really excited to forge a new line of study at Wittenberg. Can you imagine the looks on Oberlin and Kenyon’s faces when they hear we’ve beaten them to the punch again? Lutherans – 1; Presbyterians – 0. Anywho, let me know when you’d like to meet to appoint a department chair (wink wink).


The Correspondent


Friday, November 7, 2008

A Letter To My Blog Twin

I found out this man has a blog with the same name as mine! You can read it here.

*Note: As was pointed out by a really attractive girl I've never met, I did have two versions of this letter up. To explain, I changed the part about my lady friend and her sister when I decided it wasn't that good. I'm still not that happy with the current part, but this is the version that was mailed.

Mr. Jeffrey Thomas
Surrey, North Dakota

Dear Mr. Thomas,

I’m writing to inform you that you have infringed upon my blog name, My 42 Cents. I totally thought of that name before you, and I even started my blog on October 6th, 2008 – a full two weeks before your first post. Even though I use Blogger and you use a different hosting site, I still think the Internet is too small for the both of us.

Just kidding! Oh my god, we’re blog twins! I always wanted a twin. My older brothers were twins and they got to live in the basement together, which doesn’t sound that great until I tell you that our basement was so awesome! They had bunk beds and a little TV with an Atari and a Nintendo, and on the side of the staircase the wall was covered in corkboard that you could stick things on, and they even had built-in bookcases and sometimes we’d arrange the pins in the corkboard to look like a penis.

Plus, they always had so many inside jokes! I remember one time, when I was little, they were downstairs reading a book about questions teenagers should ask themselves, and one of them was, “What’s the one adult thing you’d like to do but can’t?” They both looked at each other with these real sly grins and started snickering, but when I asked them what was so funny they said I had to wait until I was older. I’m 25 now, Jeff, what in the hell did they want to do?!

To make matters worse, my girlfriend is also a twin. It's true what they tell you, twins really do make up their own language. Good luck competing with that. I barely passed freshman year Russian! Dstraszwoui, mena Misha. Da. Nyet. That's it! Do you know how hard it was passing an oral conversation exam using five words? Meanwhile, the Zygote Club over here is making dinner plans using telepathy.

Anyway, now that you and I are blog twins it really takes the sting out. This is so cool, we should totally meet. I once drove through South Dakota, though, and it was incredibly boring, so you’re going to have to come to Ohio. Let me know what weekend you’ll be in town, and I’ll take you to Skyline Chili. Just please don’t embarrass me there like my mother did. She asked the waitress if they had any slaw. Not even cole slaw, any slaw. Sometimes I can’t believe we came out of that woman.

In Brotherhood,

The Correspondent

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Letter To the Governor of Virginia

Governor Tim Kaine
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

Dear Governor Kaine,

Greetings from Columbus! I just wanted to congratulate you on running such a fine state. I hear Virginia is where it’s all happening – nature, industry, commerce, reproduction and even some harvesting. You’ve got it all!

In fact, I’ve heard such great things about Virginia that I’ve decided it’s where I want to live. My situation, however, is unique. I don’t want to live in a city, or even in the rural country. To put it simply, I’d like you to grant me 300 acres of otherwise uninhabitable Appalachian forest terrain in which I can build a small cabin and live as a sheltered recluse whose rumored insanity and savagery will cause locals to invent fictitious legends explaining my shrouded past.

Now, before you decide that nobody just gives anyone free land, let me tell you some family history. My great-great-great-great grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War against the British. His name was John Shenandoah, and according to my records, George Washington arranged for him a large parcel of land at the end of the war that stretched from the Indiana – Michigan border up along the St. Joseph River all the way towards Lake Michigan. Unfortunately, he had Indian blood, and the French coward Alexis Coquillard got my ancestor drunk one night before trading him all of his land for several barrels of whiskey. This is why, in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana, there is a Coquillard Elementary School and not a Shenandoah Elementary School.

Listen, I’m not in this for an apology or reparations. That’s for another letter to Sarkozy – I’m just establishing a precedent. Plus, this would just be awesome. It’s always been a little fantasy of mine. I’ll live on the top of some little mountain, and my cabin will have a little stone hearth where I cook thick soups in handmade earthenware. I’ll build a small loft with a little ladder that leads up to my bunk, where during the summer I can take out a piece of the roof and look out onto the stars. In the winter I’ll build the fire high and deep and snuggle up in bear skins. You don’t mind if I kill a few bears, do you? I’ll learn how to dry meat beforehand so there’s no waste. You can trust me!

As you can see, it’s not that big of a deal. Nobody will even know I’m up there; I won’t change anything. I’ll grow a beard and maybe plant a few rows of vegetables – that’s it. The reason I chose Virginia was because you’ve got tons of little mountains nobody’s living on. Give me something off the side of US 60. Hey, you don’t even have to give it to me. Just do me a favor and don’t send anyone up there looking for me. A little don’t ask, don’t tell – nice and easy, Governor. If you agree, write me back that you’re on board. We’ll be safe. They won’t know which board you mean.

With Herculean Resolve,

The Correspondent

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Letter To My Name Twin

My name isn't really Name Redacted. Neither is this man's. You're just going to have to pretend. Also, my name and return address are at the top of every letter. You're going to have to imagine that, as well.

Name Redacted
5555 E 55th Street
Indianapolis, IN 55555

Dear Mr. Redacted,

Good day to you, sir! Let’s dispense of the pleasantries for just a moment so that we may address the elephant in the room. That is not a typo at the top of this letter – your name is printed twice. What’s more is that my name is also printed twice! After many long years of thinking I was the only one, it seems we’ve finally found each other. Because, as you have by now deduced, Mr. Redacted, you and I are name twins!

It takes a moment to sink in. For so many years I thought I was unique and alone in the world. You can find a million Smiths and Jones in a phone book, and you’ll even get a few Longeneckers and Merkles if you try hard enough…but a Name Redacted! Those are rare indeed, and to find one with my identical first name outside of my own family is a real treat.

Ok, enough is enough. It’s nice, sure. I bet you’re a swell guy. Here’s the thing. You’re kind of getting in my way. It’s not a real big deal, but when I Google my name I’d like to start seeing myself pop up on page one. It wouldn’t be so bad, except that you keep accomplishing things. A composer, a professor. You even have your own website. What’s left for me, the real Name Redacted? I mean, you even have several cats. That’s my thing! I’m the several cats guy, all my friends know it!

I know, I know. If I want my own spotlight then I’ve got to earn it. But would it kill you to step aside for just a little while and let some young blood give it a go? That’s what the honorable Senator McCain is doing, and I think he’s a fine example of American dignity. I promise I won’t let you down. Just give me a chance! I’ve already started several initiatives I believe will put our name on the map. Just Google my name to find them – oh wait! That’s right, we can’t, because you’re hogging the internet.

Alright, listen, I’m not really that upset. It’s a little annoying, sure, but at least you’re doing something with your life. Did I tell you I found another Name Redacted living in Iowa? This one just turned up in a phone book search. I don’t even think he has a website. You and me, we’re winners, but this guy sounds like a clown. I don’t know, maybe we can take him under our wing. You teach him all about music, I’ll teach him about writing and cats. Because I’m the cat guy, that’s why!

Fine, we’ll both teach him about cats. Let me know!

Duplicitously Yours,

The Correspondent

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.