Dear,

No, that's not right.

Jan, Mark, Mom-

No.

No introduction. Best to be nonspecific should it be published one day.

How to begin one of these?

I should be an expert. I've read enough of them, out of idle and perhaps morbid curiosity. But then again, isn't it natural? I like to understand people, what they mean. The best way to do that is through letters, isn't it? Aren't most of our important historical figures preserved through their letters? Forget figures, actually, isn't our HISTORY preserved best through letters? I once read an entire biography on Abigail Adams, told entirely through her own now-legendary letters, mostly to her husband. She was an avid letter writer, capturing the spirit of the then-Independent American Woman. I'd quote her but when it comes to direct quotes my memory isn't so good.

My grandmother, whom I got along with to varying degrees, was always saying what a good memory I had, try as I might to correct her. She didn't really live long enough to be senile, but like so many of the aged when she got an idea about someone she was too stubborn to shake it. She also thought I was good at sewing, and when I'd prove her wrong she'd get angry, insisting that I was just confused, that I WAS "the grandchild" that sewed. Why, I was the one who made the frog pincushion for her, wasn't I?

I was actually responsible for that pincushion, and it was pretty cute, except that it was the brainchild of a cheapo craft book, one of those that even came with the felt cut-outs, and the materials holding it together more closely resembled fabric glue than securely fastened threads. Though the finishing of that frog, complete with my own creative addition of a little felt crown- making him, clearly, a frog prince- was probably the birth of that sensational thirst for improvement and possibility. Ok. Honestly that feeling probably came with my first breath, but the frog prince is an excellent example of my most intolerable cycle of hope and defeat, the promise of improvement with the follow up of falling short. Following the creation of the frog I was enamored of my own creativity when it came to felts and I had every intention of moving on to tablecloths, hats, Barbie clothes, and Heather McCartneys, but either my fingers recoiled at the idea or my motivation just crashed and burned and all that ever came of my fashion endeavor was a pink pillow case with stenciled rocking horses on it.

Are you getting this? Here's another one. I am a good sprinter, and always have been, especially for my weight. I couldn't run a real race to save my life (how ironic) but I could sprint you at a moment's notice and probably win. Unless you are really good at sprinting, but that's a distracting thought. You obviously can't understand the grave importance in question here- I can sprint, and in that sprint I feel remarkable, and full of hope, and not too far from that feeling one has when listening to U2's It's A Beautiful Day (is it just Beautiful Day? Fuck it). And I think, for that sprint, here I am sprinting and I'm perfect and I can go on forever- and then the sprint ends and I realize.. no chance. A sprint is all I have. 

And that's more than a lot of people can say, but obviously less than what the people who can run miles on end can say. I don't really care about those runners, not really, no, but I do care about the fact that I'm not one of them.

What I'm saying is… I guess what I'm saying is don't mistake me for someone who gives up on the sprint or the quilt or whatever. Such is not the case (Whatever the Case May Be… which was an episode of Lost. I don't know why I remember that, I stopped watching Lost mid second-season, but now that I work at Blockbuster I have to pretend like I keep up with it just so I can have something to relate to the TV fans with. Anything so long as we don't have that painful silence as I remove the dvd locks and bag their movies, anything so I don't have time to upsell the movie butter popcorn). THE CASE IS I am all too aware that I am not a runner or that I know all too well what kind of a person gives up her right to sew with a double-stitched pillow case. There are three kinds of people in the world, the people that are, the people that are not, and the people that know they are not. I am the third choice. We are a hybrid, like the intelligent zombie/vampire breed in the BOOK I Am Legend (before Will Smith showed up and subtracted a good deal of the deeper meaning and subtext- though perhaps the equation evens out with the addition of the rippling pectorals and Shrek monologues). We know who we are all too well, and that wouldn't be so bad if we were in the first category.

I'm probably the worst of all, too- people don't enlist me for odd jobs anymore because they fear for my health. Last time I helped out a newlywed couple with some painting in their garage I rollered their walls, roofbeams, and ceilings from 5AM until 8PM in a rarely ventilated area with no meal breaks and nearly collapsed by the time it was all over- quite simply because I hate bad painting jobs, and that's what I was doing. A really shitty painting job, and I couldn't rest until it resembled something not shitty, which, of course, it never did. To top it off I got primer on the green trim of their house. It seems inevitable. To write B-level papers, to always be attracted to those out of one's leugue, to always be the compliment, the grey that makes the gold shine even brighter, the off-key note that makes the on-key voice sound all the more pure. To see mediocrity for what it is and embrace it, court it… ask it to dance like Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afaid of Virginia Woolf- that is the challenge for me, and I just can't accept it. What a curse, to know yourself.

And so, here I am, trying to think of the best way to put this but all that's coming to mind is my grandma's old sewing room where I used to sleep when she'd have us over. I'd be curled up soundly on the cot, upon which I was terrified to move because ever jiggle created the most ear-splitting squeak. So I'd just lie there quietly with my walkman and the taped recording I'd made of Delilah's easy-listening radio show. In the end there proved to be only two songs that had replay value to me at the time- In A New York Minute and Whereever you Go by Bryan Adams, to which I dreamed up a very affective, tear-jerking movie montage involving Harrison Ford and Kate Winslet. Why Kate Winslet I'm not sure, I think Titanic had just come out. When my batteries would die, I'd stare at my pin-cushion prince and listen, horrified, to my respected elder's favorite news program, wafting through the hall from the living room, which happened to be discussing a mass suicide pact that had recently been enacted by a cultish group in California. Apparently the group was under the impression that Captain Kirk was waiting for them in the afterlife with low-fat smoothies and killer waves, or whatever it is that Californians would find appealing about heaven.



Anyway, almost every night of our week-long stay with grandma would play out in such a way. I'd hear interviews from the parents of the 'victims', descriptions of their activities, what they were like and how they looked when they were found dead, all 17 or so of them. Most of all, I heard their "Notes of Departure" transcribed for television, word-for-word.

See, now I'm somewhat tempted to just stick with the fall-back, goodbye cruel world, just because it's so unbelievable, but they'd probably argue that it's a pretty cold farewell, or they wouldn't get it and say it's too dramatic, and how unlike me, and there must be foul play involved. So that one's out.

I love you all, I don't mean for this to hurt you in the way it's probably going to.

No, not right either.

There's a scene in this romantic comedy that everyone's forgotten, called Forces of Nature, in which a pre-JLO Ben Affleck yells "my funeral's gonna be packed!"

Whatever.

Don't cry for me Argentina.

Alright, so I've been avoiding this, but I keep thinking about George Sanders. He was this character actor whose complicated, pretty amazing, anti-mediocre life (he played Shere Kahn for heaven's sake) collapsed in an incredibly mediocre hotel room in South America somewhere. What kills me (haha) are the words he left behind, eloquent and cold and just like the characters he played- "I am leaving because I am bored."

Essentially, that cannot be topped, and why suicides manage to continue after a note so outstanding escapes me. I mean, why do we bother?

Why am I even considering it? Not really much point. Hahaha. Think about that sentence for a moment.

I don't want to think about how much my obit will suck.

Ok, so, not to beat a dead horse (not that I would know how to beat a horse or if it happened to be dead), but do you think death is as exhausting as living? Maybe, at least to us hybrids. Figures. I guess I knew I was in trouble when I couldn't even think of a new way to go. The sleeping pill thing has really been done to death (haha again) and I really am not willing to subject myself to my own blood.

What a curse, to know yourself.

It's 3AM now, shoot. Almost time to wake up to another average day- but I guess… I guess I can deal, for now, until I think of something more workable. So. Fine. Here's to thirty more years or so of enduring the torture of hope. Hurrah for being the next-to-last picked for the sports teams. I can't wait to be accepted to those safety schools. Move awkwardly to top 40. Draw doodles in the margins and eat tuna without mayo for lunch and give birth to twins with reading disabilities. A lackluster living spell is better than a mediocre death anyway, right?



After all, if what I hear is true, you only die once.