Monday, May 18, 2009
55. Thank You. You're Welcome. (Glocken der Heimat - Field Recordings of German Church Bells)
To: Butch and David Potter, Makers of Martin's Potato Chips
As I took the elevator to the Third Floor Clinic (where a number of professionals were about to painfully laser off a particularly embarassing tattoo commemorating Rihanna's recent foray into art photography), imagine my surprise when I read the back of an individual sized bag of your barbecued potato chips. Imagine, if you will, my at first gentle shock, which mellowed into a warm sense of well-being. These were my feelings as I read the back of that bag of potato chips. These were my feelings as I read your no doubt heartfelt thanks to me, the consumer, who had just voted with his dollar and bought the aforementioned snack. "Thank you for purchasing Martin's potato chips. We take great pride in delivering to you fresh, delicious potato chips with exceptional potato flavor."
Exceptional potato flavor? For a second, I stopped salivating in anticipation of those salty treats and it seemed to me that your kind words had rerouted my salivary glands into my eyes, for happy tears welled in my eyes. "If you have any questions or comments, please call 1-800-272-4477 (weekdays 9-4 Eastern Time)." Yes, I have a comment, and I have a question, and I cannot merely "phone them in." I want that question and that comment emblazoned forever on the internet, where they will never be recorded over and will never be forgotten, as long as people google "irritainment." My comment is this: God Bless You Both, Butch and David Potter, for remembering that thanks are always welcome, that merchants are nothing without their customers, for remembering these seemingly little things that add up to a shining mountain of gratitude. And here is my question: what is your mother''s address? I would send a bouquet of roses to her, in appreciation of just how good of a job she did raising you.
Yours, Smilin Tyler
To: Juan, Night Janitor, Shenandoah Valley Hospital PICU
I staggered into the bathroom of room 3174 a shaken man. I feel no shame in telling you, Juan (if that is indeed your name, if not feel free to substitute your own), that I was ready to fall out. My child, Smilin Jr., had succesfully lodged in his sinuses the entire can of Smokehouse Inspired Almond Cubes that my wife (Mrs. Smilin) and I had just purchased at Big Lots, and the prognosis was looking grim. At the very least, it seemed that little Smilin Jr. was going to have to face life unable to smell anything but the savory waft of Smokehouse Inspired Almond Cubes. At the worst, we were looking at a cephalectomy, a possibility that was depressing me to say the least, as I had envisioned Smilin Jr. as being backup catcher for the Kansas City Royals, or at worst a batboy long enough to accrue a decent pension. True, the range of replacement heads that are on offer these days are much better than they used to be, and I had just about set my mind on a Jean-Claude Van Damme; this, however much I enjoyed "Under Seige," was cold comfort, and of course now that I look back on the whole affair I realize that that had been Steven Seagal.
So as I was about to leave an almond-less bowel movement in the bathroom of room 3174, it was as if God himself had left me a message on a loop of parchment around the seat. "This seat has been sanitized for your protection." Juan, are you familiar with what is commonly called Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"? Can you imagine if it went "San-i-tized for YOUR pro-tect-tion, toilet seat has BEEN, reDEEMED"? Can you, Juan? If you need help, I can call you and hum it for you. That is what I heard in my head, Juan. Thank you for sanitizing that for my protection. For my protection! Do you know how vulnerable I felt, Juan? And this was BEFORE Child Protective Services got involved, Juan. But when I saw that loop around the seat, I felt calm and at peace. I knew then what needed to be done. It was one of the few times in my life that I have felt such certitude.
So thank you, Juan, for sanitizing that which is so often unsanitary. Thank you. Any time you're in the Dogtown neighborhood, please stop by my house (address enclosed). I think that you will find our toilet sanitary, and I also think that Smilin Jr. is a lot more enjoyable and easier to care for with his new rubber head.
Gracias! De nada! Smilin Tylero
To: Acid Steve
I now take the time to thank you, Steve, from the bottom of my heart to the tip of my deviated septum, for not stepping on my coke with Drano, but rather with the much gentler baby laxative. So often in these [REST OF LETTER REDACTED UNDER ADVICE OF ATTORNEY]