Letter 35: Simple questions and mild retardation

January 16, 2008


I’ve had so much caffeine today I can see through winter…to the blazing cold sun that fevers my dreams. I do not know my name. I cannot find my way. Yet letter day must go on. Let’s get down to business.


You seem like a fairly on the ball adult; were you this bright as kid?


Ridgemont, Ill

 Not at all. While I had some esoteric books smarts, and my share of woodland savvy, I was near autistic in my ability to apply that intelligence in any functional manner. A brief sampling of just how far from the ball I was.

-A teacher once felt it necessary to tell me “When you rush, the strings on your mittens catch fire”. This was said without irony, and with a naked contempt unbecoming in a child educator. 

-I was banned from making toast by myself from ages 7 until 9, as I was unable to make the connection between prebuttered bread and the spontaneous toaster fires that sprung up with such regularity. [1]

– I once dug a trench along one side of our house because my Dad complained about the neighbour’s dog crapping on our lawn. I felt this would provide a buffer between us and the furry crapster. When called, by my Father, to explain my rational I forgot my original intent and claimed it was for a fort I was building, in the middle of our lawn…that was just a hole.


What do you do with posts you don’t use? You guys have a pretty consistently level of quality so I figure there must be a pile of stuff in the graveyard. Have you even considered shopping them out to lesser websites?

 Chief shut yo Mouf


 Our consistence of quality is not so much the result of editorial forbearance, as it is my tendency to get bored while writing crappy stuff and abandoning it mid stream. There are few finished pieces in the graveyard, but several wrecks aborted in mid sentence.

  For instance: Esmeralda sent me a half complete post I wrote at her house on New Years Eve, a year or so back. It lost steam after the first few paragraphs, but the intro contained an interesting true life anecdote that I feel like sharing. (Ties in nicely to the “I was a little retarded as a child” theme).

New Years Resolution : 

The first New Years Resolution I can recall making is “Don’t get my head stuck in the Banister again.“  That goddamn thing was my kryptonite; I just could get past the concept of being able to place my skull somewhere I couldn’t retrieve it. We moved before I really got the chance to test my will, but I like to think I could have stuck to my guns regardless.”

 After that it rambled into an unseasonable bitter diatribe about how setting unreachable New Years resolutions created failure dynamic that eroded the capacity for personal growth. Not too entertaining. So I scrapped it.

 So to answer to original question: What do I do with unpostable material? I scrap it for parts: pulling out whatever clever phrasing, or piquant ideas, that  can be ham fistedly jammed into a piece at a later date.



Tell me something random.

Duke…just Duke.

I drank so much water today I fear I may actually be leeching the calcium from my bones. This requires me to got to the bathroom so often my coworkers think:

  • a) I’ve developed a serious Coke habit
  • b) I’m a chronic masturbator
  • c) I spend my days weeping uncontrollable at regular intervals


Why don’t you have contests anymore?

Arthur Surrogat


 In concert with my recent conversion to Islam I felt it justified that I grow a lush beard. 12 days later a thick and tidy beard holds a place of facial prominence, emitting gravitas like a world weary neutron star. While I have appreciated the instant respect it garners, it is a crime against Allah to conceal the perfect bone structure he bequeathed upon me [1]. So I’m going to shave this week. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity for a little reader involvement: in the form of a “Pick AJ’s new facial hair” contest.

 Here are the rules options

  • – You may chose from any of the following styles that about 1 inch of hair growth can accommodate (it’s only been couple weeks).
  • – One vote per person
  • – Impassioned appeals but accorded the weight of two votes (as per my discretion).
  • – The shaving and subsequent style will be recorded publicly in an elaborate photo essay.
  • – I will look damn good regardless of chosen.
  • – This Beard is getting Itchy so a winner will be chosen by this coming Monday.


[1] This was as painful a state of affairs as one would imagine.

[2] He came to me in dream and told me as such. I was also encouraged to


25 Responses to “Letter 35: Simple questions and mild retardation”

  1. scott Says:

    A.J., leaving your appearance to the same capricious Internet that cheers on suicides and self-mutilation is an act of bravery that flies defiantly in the face of good sense.

    Of course I choose Hitler mustache.

  2. Tough but fair, Scott. Tough but fair.
    I have to bend to the missives of the masses.

    Thank Christ I’m banging a Jewish lass now or it would it would be another trip to the Simon Wisenthal center for me.

  3. Wait….can I thank Christ for that?

  4. Pollyanna Sassmaster Says:

    “Wait….can I thank Christ for that?”

    Hell yes: My Roman-Catholic half demands equal acknowledgement. Here’s a picture of the pendant my R.C. grandmother gave me in recognition of my mixed religious heritage:


    Also, I vote for the trucker ‘stache.

  5. idealogue Says:

    Fu Manchu!

  6. Esmerelda Sconeflinger Says:

    the mutton chops ! the mutton chooooooooooooops!

  7. max Says:

    I am voting no beard no stashe and also I am partially unclotheed while I type this and appealing which hopefully gives me extra points.

  8. conundrum Says:

    I’m so conflicted

    The Dali – to reflect your creative but quirky self


    Circle Beard with Van Dyck pointy chin whiskers – to reflect your devilish nature.

    Maybe I should just ‘vote early and often’ under multiple names.

  9. Conundrum: I don’t have the folicals to pull off the Dali. Circle beard should be no problem though.

  10. Rodney Says:

    My vote is for the fu man chu, or the porn-stache.

  11. Rodney Says:

    Note: I too am partially unclothed…does that give me points or take away points?

  12. Monkey Says:

    I say go with the trucker ‘stash … the ultimate in means of protraying and air of engaged indifference and enlightened hobohood.

    As random as thoughts can be, the fact of ym association with a certain German lass made wonder if I ought to’ve suggested the Hitler option. Alas, Jewish ansestry roiled my soul to the effect of abandoning such a course of action.

    So what is the prize exactly? Cause it ain’t a contest unless there’s a prize.

  13. Jive Says:

    Far left Column, 3rd from the top. Nothing says pugilist like mutton chops connected to a mustache and a bare chin. This will make it clear that anyone who messes with you ends up in the Thames. Put on a bowler hat and less developed nations will spontaneously start sending you tea and silk and may even lease you an island or two.

  14. “Nothing says pugilist like mutton chops connected to a mustache and a bare chin.”

    Ahhh, the Sebastian Shaw…my favorite as well (aside from the porn stache…which I could transition into).

    “Put on a bowler hat and less developed nations will spontaneously start sending you tea and silk and may even lease you an island or two.”

    If I grow it you have my solomen promise I will aquire said hat…and perhaps a sword cane.

  15. w0rmwood Says:

    I won’t lie, my primary vote was going to be for the Fu Manchu: and not just because it has the word “man” in it.

    However, I have been swayed by Jive’s eloquence and now wish to vote Sebastian Shaw!

    All i can say is MONOCLE!

  16. engtech Says:

    I’m with Jive on the Sebastian Shaw. It also bears your chin, which ultimately is the deciding factor in how long you will keep any beard.

  17. thekenji Says:

    I also throw in my vote for the mutton chops, aka Sebastian, aka colonial power, aka the empire where the fun never sets

    You are one of the few people I know who can make it really work.

  18. NotMike Says:

    Maybe you could post a picture of that J.J. Vallon fellow for reference. I think his mustache shows that he’s really got things together.

    Ultimately, I’m certain my vote would settle on that.

  19. max Says:

    I see disaster on the horizon if your interest in the opposite sex is an issue but you will be worshipped by young men at Comicon probably.

  20. w0rmwood Says:


    Canadian women dig beards!

    Or at least put up with them to gain access to our other extraordinary powers!


  21. max Says:

    Those had better be seriously extraodinary other powers to overcome a fu mancu. LOL

  22. Cal Says:

    you forgot to mention starting a brushfire and trying to extinguish said fire with bare feet. or attempting to tackle a semi-life sized cast iron deer to the ground. i could go on, but i might draw attention to my own “genius” during those times.

  23. max Says:

    “starting a brushfire and trying to extinguish said fire with bare feet. or attempting to tackle a semi-life sized cast iron deer to the ground”

    Wow, this is like watching “Big Foot The Movie.”

  24. AJ.Valliant Says:

    “attempting to tackle a semi-life sized cast iron deer to the ground. ”

    There was no attempt my friend…allright there was intial attempt…then sweet sucess and severed Antler as trophy. The brushfire/barefeet thing was pretty on point.

    *Cal you old, horsethief…what brings you to my corner of the internet.

    (Cal, like Rodney, is an old Croney from back in the day).

  25. Rodney Says:


    How the hell are you?

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