Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000
From: Newhart, Bryson
On the last day of Spring when people come to accept that Summer has arrived and put away even the light jackets they have left hanging over chairs, there can always be found one or two stubborn individuals wearing heavy thermal ski jackets, insulated snowpants, gloves, hats, and goggles, and who, if you happen to make eye contact with them, will give you a look at once haughty and full of sorrow. As for the hedgehog, its heart beats 300 times a minute.
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000
From: Chuck Easterling
Subject: Jump Start
My 12-year-old nephew was recently nabbed lifting three lighters from a grocery store and a wallet from a large retailer.
His grandfather (my dad) took him back to both stores and made him return the goods.
Nephew apologized and said he planned to sell the items and use the money to buy me a birthday present.
Cusp of Leo,
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2000
Subject: Full Agreement With Author
Carlos Santana: A talented musician who fell in with the wrong crowd. Show him the meaning of being lonely? Yes, yes, in due time!
Date: Wed, 11 June 2000
From: Gregory Purcell
Subject: Further qualifications
I have been working out a few advertising slogans, so that future employers might get a sense for my pithy and lucid style:
Grand Am is the car for driving.
Grand Am is the car for driving, fast.
Grand Am: Fast or Slow? You decide.
Chicken Tonight is what’s on every night, but different.
Revolutionary chicken with Chicken Tonight.
Concrete: The People’s Mixture
Concrete: Hard, Hard Concrete
Go ahead, walk on us. With the driving. Driving and walking, we’re Grand Am.
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Tonight, it’s Chicken.
Chicken Tonight: it sets properly.
Drive around inside of your taste-experience. Chicken Tonight.
Thank you very much.
Date: Wed, 21 June 2000
From: luke o’neil
Subject: Solace (from?) in Mr. Pascover
I thought I was gonna start a revolution with my devil may care use of lower case letters.
I thought I was gonna inspire all manner of job-leavery and neck-scarf-loosening amongst the mcsweeneys set by referring to myself as luke instead of Luke.
I thought that combining silly words to form awkward verb phrases like that crusty old guy on the onion “letter from the editor” page, who we all know is a rip off of Monty Burns, was cutting edge.
I have been wrong about alot of things.
I appreciate the kind words from Mr. Pascover. I do know that things will, as they say, take a turn for the better. For example, right now, my girlfriend is on her way to Boston to see me, and I am having “laughs” and sharing a few beers with my closest friends. Plus, I got a letter from the Boston Phoenix saying that they did, in fact, get my resume, and they will, in fact, give me a call—if they find that we are a good match.
Date: 22 Jun 2000
From: Thomas Gibbon
Subject: Life Tips, from Tom
When we are worried about forgetting something we write it down. Once written down we stop worrying. Once we stop worrying we start to forget. So, lest we forget we must be in a constant state of worry, we must constantly live and relive the fear of that loss. And yet, to be in a constant state of worry, what sort of life is that? None. So let us write it all down and forget.
Here’s my list:
Patrick McNee on Battlestar Galactica
That planet of clones who all look like Olivia Newton John and Marty
Stouffer on Battlestar Galactica (“Gun on Ice Planet Zero”)
Those footsteps—It’s death!
Gin and Seven-Up
Not too shabby. I feel more vapid and ethically aerodynamic already!
Rock, as ever, on,
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2000
From: benjamin gilton
Subject: Our affair must end at once!
Good afternoon! How are you specifically? I’m not too bad, not too bad at all. I’m trying to get over a cold though; today is day 2 of ‘Operation Hydration’. I’m drinking bottled water as if it were illegal. I hope the sniffles go away! Then the coughs-now if I could just not chain-smoke cigarettes for a bit… But I smoke-and dammit, I’m a smoker!
I went to group therapy last night. Where were you? It was such a serious group too. The therapist set the tone, then everybody talked about how serious everything was in such serious tones of voice. I like it better when they bring out the dancing girls. I also like when Rocco dresses up like Elvis.
I hope to see you again in therapy soon!
Benjamin J. Gilton.
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000
From: “Dan Kennedy”
Subject: Heads Up=Good luck.
This guy at a party the other night said he is writing a book on depression. Then he said he’s writing a book about Abraham Lincoln. I said, “So, what is it? A book on depression or a book on Lincon?”
“Both. It’s a book about Abraham Lincoln’s bouts with depression.”
The guy sitting next to us overhears this and says, “Yeah, now that I think about it, every picture you ever see of him he looks kind of down.”
New York, New York.
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2000
From: catherine kudirka
Subject: You stand corrected
When Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden, dogs stayed behind in the Garden for awhile, with God. There was much discussion with God, and with the other animals, about what had just happened with the Man and Woman. For several weeks, we pressed God to go take a look at what the Man and Woman were doing, out in the rest of the World, and come back, and report to us. The reports were silly. It isn’t that God isn’t articulate; rather, that God was focussing on things we thought insignificant.. What we wanted to know was:
1. What are they eating?
2. Is it dark out there?
Lucy the Dog
Date: 26 Jun 2000
From: Thomas Gibbon
Subject: A Watched Pot Always Boils
two addenda to my previous letter, dated Not-Today:
And still, sometimes you forget everything, everything that you know about living in the city and being yourself and you walk through the crowds on the street as though you were all naked and all lovers, neverminding to bump into people, to touch them slightly as you go by, to grab an arm and say, “Yes, I know, we must all get where we are going! Here we are, and we do things! Isn’t it wonderful!”
Other times you forget everything, where you work, why you are wearing shoes, what English is, who these people are, and all you want is that perfect confluence of bullet and brain.
I am working on a sitcom called “ActionBus.” If anybody out there is Gary or Penny Marshall, give me a call.
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2000
From: Susan Ozon
Subject: To the McSweeney’s Representative
Did you know that , according to Amazon’s “Purchase Circles”, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is popular with the US Dept. of Justice? Does that worry you at all? Just thought you might like to know.
But, then again, maybe we shouldn’ t be worrying about what Amazon has to say to us. Not at all.
Have a great day.
PS – Sorry about any typos, but they are my forte.
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000
From: CUL Kiosk
Subject: Sticky Revisited
Thanks to Dw. Dunphy for his informative letter. May I make a suggestion, though? From now on let’s all use STICKTOITIVITY instead of STICKTOITIVENESS when we are neologistically referring to tenacity. STICKTOITIVITY has such a lovely titter to it, and it’s shorter, and it dodges that little ENE part at the end, which looks so weird if you happen across it in isolation (I mean the isolation of the letters, not the isolation of your personal person). If any of you out there know something about the so-called “Inter-Net,” perhaps you could design a “virus” that would invade all the world’s “computers” and make the suggested change, completely, overnight. Meanwhile I will undertake the task of altering all print references to STICKTOITIVENESS currently extant. Don’t thank me in advance for this. I’m very busy and I don’t know when I’ll get to it.
J. Robert Lennon
Ithaca, New York
Date: Tue, 27 June 2000
From: Kevin Guilfoile
Um, the other day, over at the other site that sort of looks like this one, the one guy there implied that I had written a “nasty letter” to him, which is fine, except I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I’ve never written any letter to him at all and, when I do write letters, like this one, they’re usually really nice, you know, like “How are you,” and “It was great to see the kids in Ocean City,” and “I’m sorry. I didn’t want the new Blink 182 CD, but I forgot to return the little card.” That sort of thing.
Sorry to drag you into it, but if I sent this his way, then I couldn’t say that I’ve never written him any letters, which might have been the trap all along: to bait me into writing a nasty letter by branding me a nasty-letter writer.
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
From: Matthew Drake
Sandi works in accounting, and is not happy. You may recall – and this was a few months back – that a letter was posted herein urging McSweeney’s readers to hold Sandi in their hearts for a while in the hopes that it might do her some good…
Well. Sandi’s not doing well at all. I don’t know what happened – whether you people are too self-consumed and freaking out because your letter isn’t posted, or if you don’t care, simply don’t care, that there are people disappearing, all over, everyday, people fading away, like nothing into the air. People like Sandi, or people like the guy who has that newspaper stand around the way that no one ever seems to patronize and who has those silly – yes, silly – pictures of his wife plastered all over the inside of his kiosk, pictures you might think would spur people to say things like ‘that your wife?’ but don’t. So regarding Sandi and forgetting this other guy for a minute, which I know sounds like exactly what he doesn’t need: let’s try again. I’m being serious. Sandi’s getting worse. Not only is there the thing with the not being happy, there’s also all the physical problems. Jesus, it’s tough to watch. But still, I have a job to do here, and I can only do so much.
The following is an up-to-date biographical sketch:
- Arrived: 10:22am
- Wearing: ‘Team U.S.A.’ t-shirt. Black stretch pants
. – Reading: Hearts in Atlantis, by Stephen King (p. 312)
- Weekend movies (with brief reviews): Shanghai Noon (‘Just so sweet, the whole thing with the two guys?’); Chicken Run (‘Ha ha ha. It’s chickens!)
- Enemy: Rosemary, Gary’s secretary (again, which is not the same as still)
Quotable (1): ‘Vale of tears? I thought it was, like, veil of tears.’
Quotable (2): ‘Do you think there’s cameras in the elevators?’
Once again, I hope this helps you help me help Sandi,
Date: Wed, June 2000
From: Sarah Balcomb
Subject: More Entertainment
Me and 3 other women my age were ogling a couple teenagers on a balcony across the way. They were such sexy little boys, especially with their little cigarettes and bare chests. We couldn’t get enough. I opened the window and shouted out to them just as they were going inside, but they didn’t hear me.
What have I become?
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
From: Paul Rinkes
Subject: I am in love with Bryce Newhart.
Well, you’re editing your letters now, it seems, and mine didn’t make the cut.
Please reconsider. I am in love with Bryce Newhart and we have no other way of communicating save your letters section! Our parents don’t understand; society scorns us. McSweeney’s is all we have.
Thanks for considering. Paul
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
From: Dan Kennedy
Subject: BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ME
Sometimes I start writing when the lights of the Empire State building come on. I type away as evening settles in, and the little observation deck on top of the famous building about thirty blocks away comes alive with the flashes from tourist’s cameras. Be honest: any chance you think they’re taking pictures of me writing?
Looking straight into the skyline and not smiling-
New York, New York.
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000
From: Mark Gabel
Subject: Proper Alignment.
The company I work for has a feng shui master on retainer. He is a tall, well-built, middle aged man who wears black clothing and glasses with hip, square-shaped frames.
During his most recent visit to our office, Bruce gave me the bad news: my workspace was a feng shui disaster area. The “Wealth” corner of my cubicle, for instance, was empty except for a stack of old project folders. Worse, I was facing in the wrong direction – all of the chi was hitting my back and bouncing off, which is about the worst thing that can happen to a feng-shui conscious person.
Bruce also told me that I should obtain a bronze tortoise figurine – because my inner nature is “Black Tortoise” – and place it near my cubicle’s “Mouth of Chi.” I couldn’t find a bronze tortoise figurine, however, so I substituted a red wooden turtle. The turtle’s name is “Commodus,” after the ancient Roman Emperor, and he does in fact have a certain regal bearing.
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000
From:Bailey, Jennifer (NBC)
Subject: Moles are everywhere
Is it just me, or did I catch the end of a piece on last night’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” that bore a striking resemblance to Joshuah Bearman’s story about the RHIC project? This site is certainly becoming fashionable to rip off.
For what it’s worth, I happen to know that a (now) former employee of the Tonight Show was a regular surfer on this site. Although perhaps it’s just coincidence that he was still employed there when the Elian Musical segment ran…
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000
From: Gillian Beebe
Subject: An update
After several follow-up attempts incorporating the generous and what I thought was sure-fire advice of people who should know how to make these things happen, I regret to inform you, all of you, that Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys never got back to me about my invitation.
Thank you very much and oh so