Thousands of Words, Two Pictures

16 June 2001

Hey you! Go read my story! Butterhead is available on Speculon. Oh yeah, and other people wrote stuff, too; read their stories, when you're done with mine. Timprov is in the middle of the redesign, but my book review should be available there soon, too; I'll let you know when it is. I like "Butterhead." It's fun. And it grosses some people out, which is all for the better. I'm going to do at least one other Minnesota-local dark fantasy story, but I really need to get into the Saint Paul Winter Carnival before I can do it. That one seems almost normal compared to the butterheads. Almost. We'll have to fix that.

I went to the post office yesterday to send rejected fantasy novels to a certain sister-in-law who shall remain nameless. Oh wait. I only have one of those. Anyway, we didn't want these books any more, and Sarah recognizes that they aren't great literature, so we can send them to her. If she was going to think they were great literature, we'd have a moral issue. But she'll just enjoy them for the trash that they are, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying trash. So while I was there, I tried to take care of a problem Timprov has been having. See, some of his mail has been returned to its senders with notices like "Forwarding Order Expired." This would be bad enough if this was mail from before we moved here, because that forwarding order should still be going through. But it's addressed here.

It did not help that Cheech Marin's stupid twin was the postal clerk.

At our old apartment complex, our assistant manager was Cheech's good twin. Nicholas. (Neeeecolaaaas, actually.) He was really cool, but that's who he was. Well. This postal employee was the third in a set. And he didn't appear to have anything chemical helping him to be stupid. He did it all by himself. So imagine the vowels elongated in everything I tell you he says.

"Did you move recently?" he asked.

I explained that we had, but that the stuff that was getting returned was addressed to our current address, with which we have associated no forwarding orders.

"Well maybe somebody in your house with this guy's last name moved out a year ago...?"

No. Not hardly. And we've gotten mail for the previous tenants. None of them had the last name of Cooper. None of them had a last name even approaching Cooper.

He kept casting about for other answers, less and less probable answers, while assuring me that, "This always has a reason. Always has a reason." (It reassures me to know that, unlike the rest of humanity, postal employees don't make mistakes. Always has a reason. So I suppose my parents' friend Al had a reason when he left his ham sandwich in someone's mailbox instead of delivering their package? Yes, and the reason is: Al was not paying attention.)

Finally, he said, "Well, you're going to have bring in the letter so that we can see why it didn't arrive."

I stared at him. "We'll have to bring in the letter."


"So that you can see why it didn't arrive."

He nodded contentedly, having solved the problem.

"That's going to be a little hard, don't you think? Because, see, it didn't arrive." He gave me a blank look. "It didn't get here. So it's going to be a little hard to bring it in. Because the problem is, it didn't arrive."

"Well, but that's what you gonna have to do."

My brain hurt. I left.

So, anyway. On a happier note, my brother-in-law Daniel (the middle one) brought his digital camera to Matthew's graduation. (Birth order in Mark's family: Mark, Daniel, Sarah, Matthew.) And sent me some of the pictures! So here they are for your viewing pleasure. Not all of them. Just the two I liked best.

Me and Matt. We are so wryly amused. This is the case more and more often when I'm around Matt, which I think is a good thing. It makes me happy that he will viciously mock me from time to time. Then I can do the same with him, and all is well. Matt was still in his becoming-a-person process when I joined this family. I was never worried in the slightest bit that he wouldn't become a cool one. I was a little worried that he would become a cool one and then not let us see how. Thankfully, that doesn't look like it's happened.

(Nobody can do "private" like a Gritter. Every time I make a new friend, there comes a point in the friendship where the person says to me, "You know, maybe it's that I haven't spent much time with Mark, but I really feel like I don't know what makes him tick at all." Depending on how insecure they feel about it, they say something like, "I don't know if he even likes me." And then I nod and say, "No, you probably don't." It's not like there's some great key to Knowing Mark that I can then hand over. People are more complex than that. But he's a very private person, and sometimes that gives new people a more easy feeling, knowing that it's Not Just Them. The rest of the family is good at this, too. I can be sitting in a room with all of them, all six of them, and feel alone. Not alienated -- anybody can do alienated. Private.)

All of the sibs. In order, right to left: Mark, Matt, Sarah, and Dan. This picture makes it look like Matthew is only an inch or two taller than Sarah, not quite as tall as Mark. Let me dispel that notion immediately. Matthew is slouching. A lot.

I don't know much about this sibling thing, but I do know that it's fun to point out to all of them that their Little Brother is taller than they are. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot.

It's my godfather David's birthday today. David, in case you're wondering, is the best godfather ever. No question. (I love my other godfather Joe, too, but he wasn't around as much when I was little.) David is 14 years older than me, and I do not remember a single instance in my childhood when David said to me, "Go away, Ris, you're bugging me." or "I don't have time to play with you, kid." Name me another 17-year-old who would take time out of hanging out with his friends to play with his little cousin/goddaughter, without even thinking anything of it, every single time. And David made the transition from treating me like a kid to treating me like an adult with scarcely a blink. David is awesome. Every kid should have a godfather like him.

Come to think of it, so should every adult.

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