Formletter 1992

by Chris Taylor---July 20, 1992

[This letter was sent to 100 or so of my closest friends in the summer of 1992. I had just graduated with my Bachelor's degree and had this crazy idea that I could keep in touch with a lot of my friends by writing silly letters like this one. FYI, the original letters were sent on the back of a postcard (yes, the print was rather small).---CCT]

Dear Bill Clinton or Current Resident,

Let me start by saying that pretty much my whole life has been a preface to this occasion. I might add that if this is Current Resident reading this I have been getting some of your mail for a number of years. Let me know where to forward it. Most of you are probably wondering what this thing is, so let me clear that up for you. This is not a pretzel. This is not a credit card or even a credit card offer. This is not a musical instrument (although it could be used as one). This is not a form letter asking for money! It's a form postcard asking for money. There, now that I've got that out of the way, I would like to digress for a little while.

Most form letters are boring and not worth reading, but this is different. If you read this postcard in it's entirety five times and are not completely satisfied, please return it to me with postage due for a complete refund. My attempt is to make this postcard read as if I were actually there just telling you these things in a conversation. I hope this does not prove to be inconvenient for you if you happen to be sitting on the toilet while you read this. I am not actually there with you, it only seems like it.

If you think this card is more Chris Taylor than you can handle at one time, read parts of it over a number of weeks. By way of introduction, I feel it would be appropriate to relate a few "highlights" for me this summer.

As you probably know, I have been commuting to EROS Data Center to work. One day I chose to go rather early to work. It was about 3:00am and still dark when I passed a car that didn't have it's lights on. As I passed I honked and motioned to him that his lights were off. He looked over at what I presumed to be his wife, and she said something to him. Then he rolled down his window and yelled, "It's okay. I'm blind. I can see in the dark." Now I know why they have the braille lettering on the drive up instant cash machines. Another interesting incident occurred when my brother and I drove out to New York to visit relatives last week. We pulled into a gas station and I filled the car with gas and went into pay. A woman stood behind the counter. I soon learned that she had all the subtlety and wit of a speed bump. She must have had a few pages stuck together because she told me that I was ugly. No big deal, right, I could take it. I've been taking it for twenty-two years. However, we had been in the car for a number of hours and I was less than my usual pleasant self. I turned to her and said, "I may be ugly, but you're fat, and I can have plastic surgery." I don't know if it was the car that came crashing through the front of the store and hit her, or what I said that made her start crying.

With the extra commute to and from work, I have had a little more time to think. I have worked through most of life's difficult questions, but there are still a few that puzzle me and a few questions about you that I didn't bothered to ask you when I had the chance. I have listed a few of them in hopes that you may be able to help me with them.

1. What is the funniest thing you have ever seen?
2. Does spaghetti grow on trees or is it the root of the common garden weed called the thistle?
3. How many pints are there in a normal sized trash can?
4. How many lights does it take to change a janitor?
5. How many times do you wake up in the middle of the night?
6. Which came first, the platypus or the egg?
7. How many natural mothers do you have?
8. How long does it take you to tie your shoes?
9. How many times do you wake up in the middle of the day?
10. How many fish can you catch on one hook?
11. Is your mouth as dry as mine?
12. Does pizza come in brown paper bags?
13. Do quitters never lose?
14. Why does the sky sometimes turn purple before sunset?
15. Are you sick of these questions?
16. Am I really crazy or do I just look funny?
17. Do camels spit? If so, what?
18. Did Charlie Chaplin really get third place in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest?
19. Is General Mills the largest toy maker in the world?
20. At what speed does rain fall?
21. Is it really illegal to shoot open a can of food in Spades, Indiana?
22. Has it ever rained cats and dogs?
23. Are you still sick of these questions?
24. Can you read in braille?
25. Why does a gorilla sleep 70% of the time?
25. Does concentrated orange juice really think harder than regular orange juice?
26. Does money grow on trees?
27. Are potatoes brown because they are trying to hide in the brown dirt and their skin is their camouflage?
28. Does the stingy man really pay the most?
29. Where does tuna fish come from?
30. Do two writes make twice as long a paper?
31. Did you notice that there are two questions numbered 25?
32. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?
33. Why is chewing gum sticky?
34. Are diamonds really forever?
35. Why do bicycle tires have spokes?
36. How long is too long?
37. Is up really down if you're upside-down?
38. Does an eel have a tail?
39. Is $1.10 a lot to pay for gas?
40. How many minutes are in a mile?
41. Is red or green on top?
42. Who runs faster Tom or Jerry?
43. Are piano keys black and white because they looked better in those black and white movies or because Beethoven was color blind?
44. If a person sleeps more on the average, will he live longer?
45. ?lamron eb yhW
46. Does the room spin when you get dizzy or do you get dizzy when the room spins?
47. What is the best thing to think about between the time you stub your toe and the time the pain reaches your brain?
48. Why do they dye pistachios?
49. If I used my left hand for a year, would I be a better artist?
50. Is chance just a form of ignorance?
51. Can the taste of a substance be predicted by its molecular makeup?
52. Is molecular makeup what makes the world look so pretty?
53. Are all bulletin boards tacky?
54. Is one man's relief another man's pain?
55. Can the wind blow from all directions simultaneously?
56. Why do people use big words when they could use diminutive ones instead?
Well enough questions. As you know, I graduated this past spring and am now eligible for employment in the non-minimum-wage arena. However, I have chosen to continue the life of meager means and attend graduate school. I am confident that many of you have heard the horror stories of many x-graduate students who just couldn't make it. In case you haven't, allow me to make up a few.

Once there was a woman in Pittsburgh. We will call her Gina. Gina really wanted to make a difference. Ever since being exposed to subtraction in third grade she had always been fascinated by it. Due to financial difficulties Gina had to abort her quest to make a difference and just stick with addition.

Edward Hamilton has a sad story as well. Eddie was in his second year of a Ph.D. program and things turned sour. A number of home improvement projects gone bad caused some financial difficulties that Eddie couldn't seem to deal with. Eddie dropped out of school and went off the deep end. He swam to the other side and got out of the pool. He then went off the shallow end. He knocked his head on the bottom of the pool. I know that there is more to this story, but Eddie doesn't remember it.

As you can see from the last two stories, graduate school is not a picnic. I am not looking for sympathy. I am not looking for empathy. I am not looking for apathy. I am not looking for antipathy. I am not looking for telepathy. I am not looking for osteopathy. I am not looking for a handout. I am not looking for an easy way out. I am not looking for my socks. I am not looking. I just want to give you the opportunity to assist in a noble cause. I have heard that money is the root of all evil. I have also heard that we need to have roots. Therefore, I am asking you to consider this matter. I am not suggesting that my experiences will be like Gina or Eddie's if you choose to slap the hand that has written to you. I realize that my situation will probably be much worse. I am prepared to deal with whatever I am forced to endure. However, in all fairness to you, I am offering you the opportunity to make a difference. Do you really need that pair of jeans, sofa/love seat set, CD, or book for your history class? Don't make a hasty decision now and then regret it the rest of your natural born life. Please, take some time to consider the question: "Does the universe revolve around me, or can I make a difference in the world in which I live?" Given the chance that you may decide correctly, and choose to assist me in a monetary way I have included number of ways of contacting me this fall.


Chris Taylor

107 copies were made for Chris Taylor at a cost of $n per copy.

Where 0.0 < n < 0.2

This letter is copyrighted 1992 and I retain this copyright. You may freely copy it as long as this copyright notice remains intact.