Friday, April 29, 2011

As Promised: The Greatest Preamble to a Letter Written From Cousin to Cousin Ever Written

This is a letter
A letter for Sarah
I said this is a letter, yeah
A letter for Sarah

In my head that sounds like a pop punk song. Pop punk. Your Green Day or Angels and Airwaves. No Ramones or Sex Pistols here, nosiree.

Pop Punk is what you call your father if he has a lot of piercings and a devil-may-care attitude.

“Pop punk” is the sound your tires make when you hit a pothole and they blow out. PopPUNK, fast like that.

I could keep going forever. Except that I can’t think of any more. And I’m probably not immortal. But were it not for those limitations rest assured I would spiral into eternity on an ever-cresting wave of mediocre musical genre jokes.

Want to know a cool word? “Defenestrate.” Say it. “Defenestrate.” Know what it means?

(Play the Jeopardy theme song here in the event that you desire time to guess.)

“To throw (a person or thing) out of a window.” I love how the dictionary puts “person or thing” in parentheses like that, like it really doesn’t matter which it is. Matters to the person going out the window I bet. “Curse that implicitly diminishing parenthetical housed within the context of the dictionary definition of the word that is used to describe the action that has just been taken against me mere moments ago!” they would shout on the way down. Look, it’s a long fall.

Did you know there’s also a word to describe the act of being thrown out of a window and miraculously surviving the would-be lethal fall through some random chance or fortuitous circumstance? It’s true. That word is “fortunate."

Eh, I thought that would be funnier. But damn the torpedoes, it’s staying in.


The topic in question is: what have I been doing lately? Not too much. I graduated from Columbia College at the end of 2009 and moved back home with parents to save up money so I could subsequently move to Los Angeles, home of the film industry and small rodents on pogo sticks. Who put said rodents on said pogo sticks? What was their aim? Whither doth they wander and what do they bring with them? The rodents, I mean. The rodents are the subject of that latter question. I suspect the answer is disease.

Speaking of rodents I’ve been hearing reports lately of wrathful squirrels wreaking vengeance upon the human race. Supposedly a group of them in Russia or somewhere ganged up on a dog, killed it, and partially ate it before being chased away. Reminds me of the opening line to a story I never bothered to continue:

“I think that squirrels are coming back from the dead and feasting on the flesh of the living,” said Jimmy.

“Aw, nuts,” said Mike.

I too have felt squirrely retribution in mine own time. Once when I was a kid I was chasing a squirrel across the front yard and it scattered up a tree and a moment later an acorn fell on my head. Conk. Then the Skipper slapped me with his hat and the Professor made a radio out of coconuts. The first part of the story is true.

When I was living in Chicago there was a homeless man in front of one of the campus buildings who spoke in a Cockney accent (possibly affected, nobody really knew for sure) and because of this was called Shakespeare by the faculty and student body. He was something of a local legend, having occupied the area for God only knows how long and never breaking character, if a character it was. I don’t recall him ever asking for change. Maybe he wasn’t really a homeless man but a Columbia art student who became so enmeshed in his performance-art senior thesis project that he just never came out of it. Or he had the world’s strictest acting teacher. “I won’t pass you in this course until you make me believe in the truth of the character, son.” Twenty years later and he’s still at it.

There was also a street preacher on State, by the Marshall Field’s, with a microphone and amplification technology that rivaled the average fast food drive-thru for all its clarity and electronic distinctness. Once his words were filtered through that aluminum foil speaker it became a garbled code so thoroughly undecipherable a Navajo Windtalker couldn’t break it. These are the characters that give a city personality.

1 comment:

... said...

WTF> Wow, that's fantastic.