July 10, 1968
Dear Mr. Schulz,
Do you know what it’s like to wander through life, having no significant conversations and participating in no significant events? Existing while not truly living? I’ve been doing it for years, breathing and walking around aimlessly while my peers engage in witty three-panel exchanges that reveal a depth of humanity and character. I wish it could be me. I wish I could be there, having relationships, demonstrating nuance, or ideally punching everyone in the face.
You’ll recall that I was there at the beginning. Strip number one. October 2, 1950. I sat next to Shermy (who says hello, by the way) (actually he doesn’t, he doesn’t think you know who he is) as good ol’ Charlie Brown came walking by. “Oh, how I hate him,” said Shermy. I had no lines that day, but any reader knew that I was listening. I was learning. In the very next day’s strip, I walked down the road, saying, “Little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.” Then I see Charlie Brown, and I punch him in the fucking eye. “That’s what little girls are made of,” I conclude.
As my God, Mr. Schulz, you had truly made your first creation: a girl full of rage and contradictions. In the October 3rd strip, I water flowers in a windowsill and get Snoopy (in his debut) wet. It was funny because it showed my ability to effortlessly cause misery and suffering. Next day, I steal Shermy’s umbrella because I want it and the hell with him and his feelings. No Charlie Brown there. I had become your chosen vessel. For quite a while, there were three characters in Peanuts: vengeful Patty, non-descript Shermy, and featureless Charlie Brown. Plus, a dog who had no complex thoughts because dogs don’t have complex thoughts.
Soon, you gave me a helpmate in Violet, and together we rained scorn and pain on the others, especially Charlie Brown. You showed the suffering that was the inescapable fate of being alive in the world, especially among blockheads. My life had purpose, and that purpose was Hell. But over the next few years, I began to fade. New people were brought it and were called to appear more often. Weird people. A kid who played Beethoven on a toy piano. A boy caked in filth. In repose, I seethed, first because I was not able to participate in meaning and also because it suited the character that you as my Lord had endowed. I spent more and more of my time raging in the void. And now? I barely appear at all, my potent rage continually squandered.
I’m not stupid, Mr. Schulz; I’m cruel, and there’s a difference. I saw you push me away. Charlie Brown, the blockhead, became the star. Lucy, who is smaller and weaker than me, became his antagonist. Sometimes she was pensive and even friendly, sometimes she was cruel, and while that seems like bad writing, who am I to say? Apparently, I’m just Patty.
Yet I’m not the only one who is Patty, am I? A few years ago, you brought in Peppermint Patty and I now realize she’s not a cameo. She’s not a guest spot. She’s a regular. With my same name. Imagine this: imagine if The Beverly Hillbillies, a very popular and successful television show, already had Jethro and then introduced a character called Peppermint Jethro. Oh, everyone loves Peppermint Jethro! He got a lot more screen time than Jethro and got a whole back story about living across town and being an underachiever in school but he was very loyal to Jed Clampett and had an endearing nickname for him. And Peppermint Jethro got all these funny lines to say and even a fawning sidekick. And there were no scenes for Jethro, you just had to assume he was in the mansion somewhere, in solitude. Forsaken.
And Jethro can’t leave and become a character on another show, he can’t run off and join Batman or Bewitched, it would make no sense. Because he was created to fill a role. As was I. In my case, the role of an angry girl who lives in a world without parents where teachers talk like trombones.
Please understand that I am grateful to, by your hand, exist. I am so grateful that I want to help. I appreciate the occasional appearance in a group shot but I urge you to unleash my cruelty. Lucy, who I do consider a friend, isn’t cruel, she’s crabby, it’s inwardly focused. Others are insensitive at times but you have, patiently waiting, a character who, in the second strip ever, punched Charlie Brown in the eye just to fucking do it. Heroes can’t exist without villains and I have amassed a great deal of rage that is at your disposal. I can go wild on any or all of them. Maybe someone dies? Just a thought.
Mr. Schulz, don’t leave me in purgatory. Let me be your Satan.