Tag Archives: suburban youth

chain letter …

I received an internet “chain letter” tonight via Facebook. At first glance I cringed … then I sighed heavily and cringed again. But, since I was sitting on the pot’, I read through it.

It is important to note that this was sent to me by someone who I suspect never sends superfluous things like this to others. I questioned for a moment whether or not her account was hacked, or maybe she was feeling glum or blue, and I was intrigued. So … I read it.

While reading the message, I was flooded with memories of my youth. Memories of opening the squeaky lid to our mailbox on Antonio Lane and reaching in to find an envelope addressed to me. It reminded me of that important and giddy feeling I had on the inside while carefully carrying it to the roll-top desk in my bedroom. Not seeing a return address, I would inspect the cancellation stamp.

“Ooo! From Arizona? Who is this from?”

It could be from Colorado, or somewhere else in California, or somewhere nearby like Cupertino or Campbell. It didn’t matter; it was a mystery that needed to be solved. I slowly would break the envelope’s seal and remove and unfold the letter.

And there it was — a message.

Letters like this always included directions about how many letters the receiver needed to send and by when. Some even contained a list of addresses to send it to. The frantic feeling of having to do what was required within the deadline would build. I would have to do this! Otherwise, the unspeakable could happen — bad luck, sadness, or something else to avoid. If I were to send them in time following the exact directions outlined, something magical could happen. Something like good luck, granted wishes, or some other mystical occurrence.

It was exciting. It was mysterious. It was entertaining. The wonder of it all. IT WAS FUN!

I could see my towheaded-self open the second drawer down on the right side of my roll-top desk to retrieve fresh and clean ruled paper, carefully counting out the number of sheets I needed to complete the task at hand. God forbid I didn’t have enough! I’d search my school binder (a Star Wars Trapper-Keeper) and other drawers in the house until my supply needs were met. I would grab a pencil, sharpen it into a point, and start the task of carefully copying the directions.

If I used a pen, I would be quickly reminded that pencil was a better option, especially considering how I deemed mistakes as a definite reversal of fortune if left uncorrected; or worse, scratched out. If my Eraser-Mate had a good eraser on it, I might use it. But, pencil was safer … it was good decision making.

If all went well, I would be able to complete the letters, fold them neatly in thirds, insert them into envelopes, carefully address them, and seal them – an act that seemed like I was sealing my fate inside each and every envelope. The sealing gum tasted like the misery and doom that would overcome me if I didn’t get them in the mailbox by the deadline.

Then, the hardest task of all had to happen … asking Mom for stamps.

“What on earth do you need twenty-two stamps for?”

She would ask this while at the kitchen counter cutting carrots, or while sitting at her sewing machine, or while unloading groceries.

“For a chain letter.”

“For what?! A chain letter? Do you know how much stamps cost?”

She would be clearly irritated and then follow up with:

“I don’t even know if I have that many stamps. Go get my purse.”

It was a good sign if the stamps were in there; or if some were found in her purse, and some in the catch-all cupboard, or some in the wall basket by the kitchen phone that held mail, address books, and coupons.

Once the stamps were adhered, and the squeaky mailbox lid was closed over the letters that were dropped in, there was a sense of relief. Then a sense of dread. Over the next few days, knowing the letters were out among the thousands of other letters floating through the US Postal Service, there was this sense of expectation.

“I sent them three days ago. That means there are seven more days until I can ask for three wishes. So then, that means that in twenty days, I will get those wishes granted. Wait! No…. Twenty minus three is …”

I count on fingers. Math never was my strong suit.

“… seventeen, so in seventeen days I will get those wishes granted. Awesome!”

Then it gets blurry. Time goes by. The letters would be forgotten along with the anticipation and the hope for whatever the chain letter promised. It would be replaced by other childhood antics, or rehearsals, or playing with friends, or reading, or anything and everything else.

Only to be remembered when, surprisingly, some random day as the squeaky lid to our mailbox on Antonio Lane would be opened to reveal an envelope addressed to me, and that important and giddy feeling would fill my insides while I carried it carefully to the roll-top desk in my bedroom.

So … I thought about it for a minute. And then I did it. I held down my finger on the text bubble in the Facebook message, selected copy, started a new message, held my finger down again, and pasted the message in it. I chose fourteen people as directed (with a sound methodology in an attempt to ensure those who receive it wouldn’t be targets by others in my list), and I clicked send.

As far as the wishes and promises it made, I highly doubt those will ever come to fruition. But I must acknowledge this: if I hadn’t received that cringe and heavy-sigh inducing chain letter, I wouldn’t have had those lovely memories, and I wouldn’t have been inspired to put them into  words that others may read – something I love and enjoy, and something I have deprived myself of.

To those who received my chain letter: my hope is that it inspires you to do something you love. Just for you.


don’t touch my poodle …

I know FM really stands for frequency modulation not frequency moderation, but I have been thinking a lot about how to moderate the frequency of my posts. Since blogging is new to me, and since I don’t want to force content, I am a bit flummoxed by how to establish a process. Besides, I like the play on words.

Should I post something every day? Do I really have something that important and mind blowing to share every day? Most likely not. I might find that I am simply stretching a Facebook status update into a blog post. For example, this post could have been this status update: “I am thinking about how often to post updates to my blog …”. Done and over with. Period and end of sentence. Except, I typically end my status updates with an ellipsis, so it would be “ellipsis and end of sentence” in this case.

Should I set a specific day to post updates? That would mean there would be a commitment. Yikes! Commitment! Run! Completing updates in that manner could set me up for failure based on the pressure to perform on command. I would have to get something up on a particular day, otherwise I would not be meeting obligations. It would be like being in a relationship and dealing with sex. When the pressure is on, or when it becomes an obligation, I want nothing of it. I guess I could do what I would typically do in relationship … cheat. You know, find a blog other than mine and post there. Or I could pretend that that blog and I just met at The Eagle, and that its swarthy good looks and pecs were h-o-t hot and would look great in my Room and Board metal bed. Then, I’d be all good for a quick posting.

Should I post only when it tickles my fancy? What is ones fancy and how does it get tickled? I must have skipped school the day they reviewed that in biology. The “mysterious fancy” could be a post in and of itself, which I once saw written as “inaovenself” by some fucktard on Facebook. Now that tickles my fancy. I think.

Should I post pictures? Should I have included a picture of Fritzy, my childhood dog, in Costs Money? Would it enhance that post? Should I post pictures of Victor, my current dog? Should I post pictures of my poodle that can’t be touched? Oh wait, I am not creating that kind of blog. And, ewww, gross … I just called “it” my poodle. It’s not a poodle, it’s my … my … never mind.

Should I post old crap? I have written many other stories (or essays, thoughts, musings, or whatever you want to call them); however, posting those seems like cheating and feels like the easy way out. At the same time, they are interesting and help explain what makes me, well, me. And that is what I really hope to accomplish: explaining what makes me, me. If only for myself.

Should I be profound? I could use this blog as a forum to share deep, meaningful, and thought provoking content. For example, my sobriety and the intricacies of navigating life through that filter, my struggles with growing up gay in a straight man’s world, my views on childhood obesity, war, peace, or how I feel sorry for toddlers in tiaras. Should I expose myself in ways I haven’t already done, or talk about the ways I already have?

Maybe I’ll start by posting some old stuff with its original posting date for transparency purposes. Those who have already read them will be reminded of my brilliance (or stupidity) and those who haven’t will marvel at the same.

That’s what I will do. Sunday night postings at a minimum, a mix of previous work with new work, and other postings as the need (or inspiration) strikes ….

Ellipsis and end of sentence.