Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Anonymous Letters and Anonymous Turds

I haven't posted here since the demise of the Manny. Nor have I written very much at all, despite the desperate pleading from my legions of fans for the sequel to my novel, The Hundred: Book Two. It's in the works, I assure you, you girl who sleeps with Book One beneath her pillow (that doorstopper must give her a crick in the neck!), you wanna-be author boy in that one school in the Bronx, and you creepy guy in the trench coat at the end of my driveway. Fans!

I just happen to be very busy right now. We moved to a new state two months ago. (Rah Rah Connecticut! And hurrah for our state animal, the Sperm Whale! Really? I just Googled this and I am a little shocked. And thrilled. Did you know that Moby Dick was based on a real Sperm Whale who was called...wait for it...Mocha Dick! He roamed the South Pacific in the 1840s. I'm not kidding at all. From Wikipedia: Mocha Dick was a notorious male sperm whale that lived in the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th century, usually encountered in the waters near the island of Mocha, off southern Chile. He was often accompanied by Whatta Dick and Totall Dick, his brethren, who pretty much destroyed everything. Mocha Dick survived many skirmishes (by some accounts at least 100) with whalers before he was eventually killed.)

Told you Mocha Dick was real! You were inclined to disbelieve me, weren't you? His bwuddahs are real, too!
So, back to me and my writing, or lack thereof. I wrote several songs in the last few months, and they even have real chords! And I can play piano and sing! (Albeit like a dying goat.) I also wrote some anonymous letters to strangers in my old neighborhood, before we moved. No, no, they weren't those sorts of anonymous letters! Not the kind of letters that also include a turd lovingly Scotch-taped to the envelope. (Although, I must say, some individuals might have merited such a delivery.) They were lovely handwritten letters, containing hope, inspiration, intriguing quotes, and sometimes a full shot glass worth of Vodka, if you wrung them out carefully.

I did it as a sort of experiment. I was feeling a little ill-at-ease at times before our move, and also overwhelmed, so I thought: Why not spread some love/happiness/surprise/whatnot into the void of the neighborhood by penning these completely original letters and then slipping them into random mailboxes? I'd write them at night. No copies were made, so I can't prove to you what they said. Of course, there's the beauty in it, right?

Then, on the way to the gym or the post office the next day, I'd scan houses and mailboxes for the right "vibe." When the house felt just right (maybe maybe it would have a little sad feeling, as if the people who lived there might need one of my letters), I would quietly steal up the walkway and slip the letter in the mailbox and then scurry away.

Then I would always get a really pleased feeling, like the kind of feeling you get when you have placed a pickle under your friend's pillow and you can just deliciously picture them discovering it at 3 a.m. and shouting, "What the fuck? Who would put a fucking pickle under my pillow?!?"

This is simply a pickle. Ever found one under your pillow? 
Except this was awesome and different! Not a pickle. A nice letter, written by a former English major with a Master's Degree in Writing. Me! So instead, they might say, "Honey, there is a psychopath around here writing anonymous letters filled with goopy sentiment, and the paper smells a little like Cheetos. In fact, there is some orange detritus on the edge of the paper here. But, gee, I feel so much better suddenly about my life, and now I shall write anonymous letters as well and the joy will spread throughout the world and defeat terrorism and other bad things. Yay!"

Weirdly, after delivery of a letter, something good would often come my way. Not checks and barrels full of money (Poo poo on you, The Secret), but a bit of good news, or a happy day, or someone using the serial comma without provocation, or some such.

I don't know if anyone reading this received one of my letters, but, by gosh, you should note it in the comments if you did.

So when we moved into our new home, a new sort of anonymous "delivery" began to appear. As background, our family loves board games and has often played the game "Balderdash," which is the same thing as the old game "Dictionary." In Balderdash (or "Bladder Dash" as someone most famously called it) you get an obscure word and then everyone has to write a phony definition that will fool people and garner votes. One day when we played, the word was "Thob." Someone submitted the definition: "A poo that doesn't flush." Ever after, should a son fail to flush the toilet after expulsion, it was by definition a "Thob."

Thobbie the Thob!

Then it began.

Day Two in our new house: I enter the downstairs bathroom and find a horrible, fat Thob covered in acres of toilet paper. "J'accuse!" I said to our youngest boy, who denied any part in the matter.

Day Three: A fresh Thob discovered, same toilet. Same acreage of TP. Many fingers were pointed.

Day Four: More Thobs, this time in multiple toilets. We suspect copycats. Guests are present and they are also queried.

Day Five: Another lone Thob in a toilet previously unsullied. The atmosphere is grim in the house, and accusations fly.

Day Six: This time, a Thob in the toilet closest to the boys' bedroom. Middle Child discovers it and reacts with terror and wild running-about. "It smells bad!" he cries.

Day Seven: Quiet and peace reigns. Is it over?

Day Eight: A new Thob! Back to the original, with a full roll of toilet paper nearly hiding its glistening pelt. Horror in the household.

Soon after that, the Wild Thobber left off his repulsive activities, and we have not seen a new Thob since. But I await its arrival, with anticipation and a little bit of glee.

For who amongst us hasn't wanted to leave a surprise for someone else? Or find one. A pickle under the pillow, a Thob in the executive washroom, an anonymous and completely random letter to the lonely, housebound person who used to work in the sad office with the diner plants and the candy trays at every fluorescent-lit cubicle? A little cairn of rocks where there isn't supposed to be one. A note duct-taped underneath a bench in an out-of-the-way train station, from which very few people ever leave. Write letters to the world.