I woke up this morning wondering—after an initial ohmygosh the cat is dead! thought that lingered from a really horrible dream—why people don’t write letters any more.

Yeah, I know. The thought wasn’t connected to anything specific and was oddly out of place. Who contemplates an old fashioned method of communication first thing in the morning? Especially tacked onto thoughts of the PsychoKitty being dead?

Obviously, I do.

When I was a kid I wrote to my grandparents about once a month or so. I imagine those missives were mind-numbingly boring—as if they not only knew who David Wolverton was but cared that he was ‘the smartest person EVER!’—but hopefully they appreciated the time I took to actually sit down with them in mind and write out some of the things that were going on in my pathetic little life. When I moved away, I wrote to old friends and tried to hold onto those ties to my teen years. I wrote to my parents when they were in Okinawa.

Anyone under 20 might be surprised that there was a time when the mailman brought wanted mail, not just bills and junk advertisements. People used to write honest to goodness letters; no email, no long distance phone calls (because long distance calls cost money! and we were all “thrifty.” cheap.) No IMs on cell phones or a computer. Heck, as far as I can remember, when I was a kid a computer was something that occupied an entire room and it took 20 scientists armed with reams of punch cards to operate.

So we wrote each other letters. We had pen pals, people we weren’t related to whom we wrote regularly. Heck, once in a while the school would have a fund raiser, and for 50 cents we got the address of a complete stranger to whom we could write and try to become pen pals with. And most of them weren’t in prison.

Then came cheaper long distance phone service, so we started calling more often. Then came things like Compuserve and Prodigy Online and the early days of AOL, and we connected through email and bulletin boards. And then the Internet. Real time chat, instant messages and lightning fast email.

Now the mail man delivers stuff we mostly don’t want. A genuine, handwritten letter is a rare thing.

But then the sleep cleared away, I saw that the cat was indeed alive, and when I sat up I could see my laptop on the other side of the room.

And it hit me.
We do still write letters.

We write letters just about everyday to dozens, potentially thousands, of people. Some are relatives, some are old friends, some are potential new friends. Some are potential stalkers. But we do write to them, with the same care (or lack thereof) with which we used to write to our grandparents and pen pals.

Only now we call them “Blogs.”


Dear [insert your name],

Hi! How are you? I am fine. It rained today but that didn’t keep us inside. We went to a movie and then grocery shopping. You would not believe the insane people out here! I swear, I want to hit them all with a stupid stick. Wait, I think someone already did that. Truthfully, what I really want to do is buy a tank and run them all over, squishing their little pimple heads into the asphalt. I want to hear them go “pop” and watch their brains ooze. Who taught these people to drive?

Tomorrow we’re going to the YMCA—yes, yes, we finally joined—and some young hunk is going to meet with us to tell us how fat we are. He’s going to check blood pressure and body composition and then show us how to use the equipment. If he tells me I’m in danger of being harpooned in the pool, I’m going to give him an atomic wedgy, one so hard his jockstrap will cover his face. But I’ll be polite about it, of course.

Well, the cat is yelling his little fool head off. He’s in the bathroom and needs to use his litter box, but he seems to think he needs company. I have to go tell him to be quiet for 10 minutes and to poop all by himself. It’s not like he’ll fall in and drown.

Write back soon,


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