Sunday, February 03, 2008
Even Though You Didn't Want One, I Wrote You A Letter
One of the funniest things I ever did with my buddy Steve happened one long overnight shift. We were monitoring a bank of CCTV's and we were both getting a little punchy. Looking through the various drawers of the security desk, we found our boss's stash of stamps. We decided to put them to good use. I can't remember which one of us found the birthday card, but once we found it we knew what we had to do.
We were going to wish a stranger happy birthday. Everyone has birthdays. Even strangers. We got the phone book out and picked someone at random. We each wrote a little "happy birthday" message. I don't remember exactly what I wrote, but it was something along the lines of "hey, don't know when it is...but when it comes around next time--happy birthday!!!"
Now, imagine if you went to the mailbox and got a birthday card from two goons you didn't know. Just out of the blue, it's not even your birthday. That, my friends, is a memory. That's a story you tell at parties..."Listen to this guys! There are some really strange people in this world..."
I like doing that for people. I like giving people strange stories to tell. Like the kids who got to go home and tell the tale of the wild man who yelled (from a speeding car) "I know where you mustache!" That's a story I wish I could tell.
Anyway, I got up today and wrote a few letters. Since I haven't gotten any new bites, they were all to my family and Terri. After I put the stamps on my letters, I recalled sending that birthday card, and decided to send a random letter to someone in the white pages. Instead, however, I ended up looking for anyone with my last name living in the St. Louis area. There was one. I didn't know of anyone in my family (distant or otherwise) living in the STL area, so I was intrigued. What was even better was the first name--there wasn't one given, just the initials "G.L."
I don't know about you, but that sort of thing stokes my imagination. I imagine a very old, kindly looking woman. "Glenda Lee" she's called. She lives in a tiny little house, full of glass knick-knacks and lacy/frilly things. I can see her getting the mail and finding my letter. She can't read it without her reading glasses, which she perches at the tip of her wrinkly nose. Her cat, Mr. Sniffles, will purr and rub himself across the back of her legs while she reads my letter.
Here is what I wrote to "Glenda Lee":
Dear G.L. ___________,
You do not know me, but I am a fellow __________. I moved to St. Louis nearly three years ago to attend school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now that I have graduated, I have decided to take up permanent residence in the greater St. Louis area (as I have found a wife here, and enjoy this part of the country). As I was writing letters to my other relations, a thought occurred to me—namely that I was the only ___________ in this area, looking in the white pages I discovered that I was incorrect.
My grandfather was Ivan ___________, he resided in Independence Missouri until his death several years ago. As far as I know, he has family in California and that’s about it. Even if you aren’t “officially” related to me, in my heart I consider you family since we share a relatively uncommon last name. Even if we never meet, I feel better knowing that there is another __________ living in such a close proximity.
Mr. Jason A. __________
P.S. Please forgive the forwardness of this letter.
It was only after I wrote and sealed this letter up into an envelope that I realized what a strange/weird little man I am. If anyone needed proof, there ya go.