Thursday, August 07, 2008

Never Write Fan Letters

Dear Patton Oswalt,

Last night I had a dream about recruiting William Shatner, my neighbor, to combat a murderous cult that lived on our street. We rained righteous fury on them for hours while Satan drove around in a semi. Then I was exploring catacombs beneath Reed College, where I saved this girl from a giant lizard that spit poison. She thought I was a werewolf and we were totally about to do it when my alarm went off.

That was a pretty good dream. One I thought you could appreciate. But I have another dream you might be interested in (awesome segue). Keep reading, even if your psycho-fan-spider-sense tingles.

I am about to be a senior at a college where people have spent whole quarters studying Buffy the Vampire Slayer and making elaborate installation art pieces that allow you to stare at your own asshole while sitting down. Not hyperbole. A professor last quarter was telling me about a study contract proposal that had come his way from a girl who wanted to obtain a baby rabbit, raise the rabbit, and write nice things about the rabbit. For credit.

This morning I woke up and lay in bed for half an hour, gripped in a panic over what to do after graduation. With the economy being what it is today, the anal periscope market will probably have a grim outlook for the next few decades. So what am I supposed to do? Write papers about German existentialist literature and neoliberal reform in China for the rest of my life? Listen to Wu-Tang and eat Taco Bell until Judd Apatow gives me a job?

I feel like the options are to start listening to Sting and find some job that barely dovetails with my interests, go hitch-hiking and get raped and killed, or pursue one-in-a-million chances that will make for warm hearts, broadened horizons and fat Disney film options. I'm going to try the last one before packing my bindle.

What would I do if I had total license over the events of my life and the wills of others? Living in a house made of Scarlet Johansson vaginas is kind of beyond the realm of feasibility, so the next best thing I could think of was apprenticing myself to Werner Herzog. But he might shoot me, or declare war on my decadent images, or eat my shoes.

The fantasy that immediately followed was interning for the Comedians of Comedy. Yes, that's how high of a regard I hold you in: scraping your drunken, vomit-and-semen-caked carcasses off hotel room floors, fetching Mountain Dew and dressing up as a Kobold for you and Posehn to beat senseless in your LARPing manias is at the top of my list of life goals right now.

I don't know if you're looking for help, now or ever. But imagine the things I can do for you:

• Filing
• Data entry
• Chakra cleansing
• Read the 4.0 rule books so you don't have to
• Mail Carlos Mencia cash-on-delivery bricks
• Fetch you Christmas turkeys
• Paperwork
• Enforcement

And what qualifies me to do it?

• I am an aspiring creative something-or-other and am too diminutive to prevent you from appropriating my ideas
• Anal periscope
• I have a car with leather interiors
• Beard
• I own Turkish Star Wars, Turkish Spider Man, Turkish Superman, Turkish The Wizard of Oz and Turkish Star Trek
• I know this guy who knows Patrick Stewart

This is a serious offer, because I admire your work above all other standup, it's made a positive impact on my life and I would love to contribute my energies in your benefit in whatever way I can. I'm responsible, professional-minded and I write good. I would even consider taking some time off of school if it interfered, because I can't think of many adventures I'd rather have.

Like I said, one in a million. But the risk of embarrassment and rejection is far, far less dire than the risk of coming to enjoy "Desert Rose."


Sincerely,
Horatio Alger


He read it and did not respond, which I expected but which has also been emotionally distressing enough to prevent me from viewing myself as anything but weird, gracelessly needy and over-sincere. This is the feeling that arises after writing in a congratulatory way to anyone I admire. I get the impression people look at me and think, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this guy with all the pathos? Go eat an ice cream sandwich and a Xanax."

I wrote earlier, "I feel foolish for searching for a way out. But is that what aspiration is? Looking for an exit until you finally escape?"

Just trying to find the right ladder to climb.

4 comments:

Tasha said...

Just to ad to the creepines, you should have added that you made eye contact with him in New York.

Oh an celebrities are people too, people like to be admired. Especially people like Patton Oswalt, I'm sure he appreciates that your a fan. Don't stake your on value in the reaction of random pseudo famous people.

Oh and fan letters are kinda for 12 year old girls.

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amanda said...

When I start earning the big bucks that my sure-to-be lucrative liberal-arts-with-emphasis-on-French degree will bring me, I will hire you to fetch me Christmas turkeys.

Also please do not be so cynical as to think there is such a thing as "over-sincere" or that you are being it.

Steve said...

That's a good letter. Except opening with the dream. Better to build up to that.

I just read an interview with John Hurt where he said he spent ages nearly knocking on the door of a local actor when he was young to tell him how much he liked his work and how he wishes he had because now he knows how much it would have meant to have a young man tell him that.
I don't actually know who Patton Oswalt is, though.

If I had my time again I would take my freshly minted college degree and go somewhere Else to 'teach' english for a year, then come back with no better clue what i want to do but at least slightly healed from a life of mandatory and mandatory-if-you-don't-want-a-life-of-crushing-poverty institutionalised education.

Japan is interesting. Taiwan is meant to be a lot of fun.

By 'if i had my time again' I mean I have loads more letters after my name now so i might as well try to do the same only with people who already speak english and would like to earn unnecessary and/or improbable arts degrees :-)

I'm not really very good at the 'sage advice from experienced elder' game. I would tell my 21-yo self to:

Stay open; Stop worrying so much - your insides are about to shut down from the stress; Nurture every drop of soul you have managed to preserve this far; Get back into your body with some restorative movement and therapy like yoga, tai chi, Thai massage etc; Have more guilt-free positive sensual experiences with lovely people; Go see the world, go moan for man, go moan, go roll your bones.

No hang on, that last one was Kerouac. Maybe I go ask him.