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Bus A Move

“…one of those quiet heroes we have all across America. They’re not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day they work hard. They aren’t seeking the limelight. All they try to do is just do the right thing.” — President Barack Obama, November 3, 2008

Due to construction, the F train was replaced by a shuttle bus this weekend from Church Ave to Stillwell Avenue. I got on the bus at Avenue U, but there was also road construction between Avenue U and Kings Highway, so the bus had to make a detour. When I got on, the only other person on the bus was a woman who was asleep. I started reading my book, and a few minutes later, the driver asked, “Hey, did I miss Kings Highway?” I looked up. He had indeed.

“Yes,” I said.

“How do I get to Kings Highway? I’m from the other side of Brooklyn.”

‘That might be the case,’ I thought but did not say, ‘but I could have sworn that there was a written test that included basic geographical knowledge of the streets of Brooklyn.’

Then I remembered New York State Penal Law Section 120.05, subsection 11, which makes it a Class D violent felony to assault an MTA employee. So instead of assaulting him, I actually stood next to the driver and had to show him which way to go!
speedd
At one point, I said to him, “Hey, that woman back there is asleep. We should make a movie about this and we’ll call it Driving Miss Lazy.” He laughed so hard that the bus actually swerved, which resulted in my foot crossing the yellow line. Normally, I would feel bad about committing such a blatant violation of bus rules, but by that point, I felt entitled to a few privileges.

When we finally got to Church Ave, I said to the driver, “Since I helped you out, can I take the bus for a spin around the block a couple of times?” He laughed. I was serious. The answer was no. “Come on,” I said. “I gave you directions. I made you laugh. Our relationship seems to be a bit one-sided, does it not?” At least I had bothered to ask. In Randall Kennedy’s outstanding book Subwayland: Adventures In The World Beneath New York, he writes about a subculture of New Yorkers who have a strange obsession with public transportation. One of those people was Darius McCollum, who once stole the E train back in 1980 and rode it six stops. I didn’t get a chance to tell this story to the bus driver because the other passengers wanted to exit the bus. Little did they know that if it hadn’t been for me, they probably would not have been picked up at all. Either way, the natives were getting restless, so I exited the bus.

cc: Incubus
Charles Atlas
Minnie Driver
Rosa Parks

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Spare Me

As a writing prompt, I chose to answer the following question from Wes Hazard’s Questions For Terrible People: 250 Questions You’ll Be Ashamed To Answer.

Pop Quiz: Would you rather be beaten to death with: a) a lead pipe, b) an Academy Award statue c) a bowling pin? Explain your reasoning in detail.

I would like to start off by saying that I would prefer to not be beaten to death, but that’s probably obvious. I also want to immediately eliminate the choice of being beaten to death with a lead pipe because it’s boring and unoriginal. I would choose the bowling pin, but let me first explore the Academy Award option, because it has the potential to be interesting.

In the ninety years that Academy Awards have existed, there hasn’t been a single instance in which someone has been murdered with the trophy. If Jimmy Kimmel hosts next year’s ceremony, this might change. Why? For the last two years, Kimmel has hosted the show, and both years, he surprised “regular, everyday people” by either bringing them into the ceremony, or bringing movie stars to a movie theater located directly across the street. I don’t know if Kimmel will be hosting for a third year in a row, but this gag is on the cusp of getting old, and if he does, I don’t see how he’ll be able to continue this charade without incorporating some form of violence. If you combine America’s love of violence with their love of celebrity culture, then it is almost inevitable that, at next year’s ceremony, Kimmel will take a bunch of actors to the movie theater across the street from the awards ceremony, where they will immediately bludgeon people to death with Oscar trophies. Viewers at home won’t be the only ones to enjoy this. People in the movie theater will beg to be bludgeoned. “Oh my God! Channing Tatum! I’m your biggest fan! Hit the left side of my skull! It’s a little softer than the right side!” Covered in blood, people will get up from the floor midway through being murdered in order to take selfies with their executioners, making it a point, of course, to create some complicated hand gesture with their fingers in order to look like rappers, even though they’re white and aren’t even sure why they’re doing that. They’ll then post the photos on Instagram before losing consciousness, writing:

OMG! Was literally in a movie theater when Julia Roberts literally walked in and literally started literally hitting me with her Oscar. Literally the best night of my life. #AcademyAwards #Literally

The next day, newscasters will comment on how funny and charming the whole thing was, not once mentioning that James Holmes is rotting in jail for doing something similar in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.

Out of all three objects—a lead pipe, an Academy Award statue, and a bowling pin—the Academy Award is the object that I am practically guaranteed to never come into contact with. My social circle is extremely limited, and it certainly doesn’t include any Oscar winners. According to Gregory Baer’s book Life: The Odds (And How to Improve Them), one’s best chance of winning an Oscar is if they’re a music director or composer. Baer writes:

The guild is not very large, and there are often multiple Oscars awarded each year. If you are a music professional and are involved in a movie project, your odds of winning an Oscar are 1,666 to 1 each year. In contrast, the odds for some dopey actor are 20,000 to 1.

I don’t know any music directors or composers. Nor do I know any cinematographers, editors, sound editors, costume designers, directors, screenplay writers, or documentary filmmakers. I know a few dopey actors, but none of them are going to appear in a major motion picture, much less win an Oscar. Even if they did, I would not be in their homes, or at the Academy Awards, so it’s a near certainty that I will never be in any geographical proximity to an Academy Award. Getting back to the examples involving Jimmy Kimmel, I mentioned that when he hosted the Oscars in 2017, he arranged it so that a group of tourists walked into the ceremony. That could never happen to me because I have no interest in visiting Los Angeles. In 2018’s show, he brought celebrities to a movie theater across the street, but I would never be in that movie theater because 1) I don’t live in Los Angeles, and, 2) I don’t go to the movies. By the way, I think it would have been interesting if Paul Reubens(the actor who played Peewee Herman) had been in that movie theater, masturbating, when Kimmel and those other celebrities walked in. If I were masturbating when, out of nowhere, Gal Gadot suddenly appears before me, I would no longer be able to call myself an atheist.
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There are only two ways in which I could ever come into close proximity of an Academy Award. The first would be this hypothetical (or at least I hope it’s hypothetical) situation in which I would have to pick which object to be beaten to death with. I’m assuming that my assailant would just place the lead pipe, the Academy Award, and the bowling pin on the table and, in a menacing tone, say, “Choose.” The other way in which I might come into close proximity of an Academy Award is if Viola Davis got tired of me constantly harassing her on social media, came to my house with her Oscar, and beat me to death with it. I’ve had an intense hatred for Davis ever since I heard this megalomaniac’s Oscar acceptance speech in 2017 when she won the Best Actress category for her role in Fences. The delusional Davis said, “I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life.” Poor grammar aside, I wondered how firefighters felt about that assertion. How about soldiers who have roadside bombs detonate ten feet away from them? Relief workers in Haiti? Doctors who work to cure AIDS and cancer? Their work must leave them feeling worthless. Surely, they must wake up every morning saying to themselves, “Why must I be living such a pointless life? Why can’t I spend my days playing make belief like Viola Davis? She’s an artist, and artists are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life.” I’ve been unfortunate enough to have spent a lot of time around actors, and sadly, that level of delusional narcissism that Davis displayed is the norm. Every time I’ve ever been with people of various professions, the artist has always, without exception, been the least interesting person in the room. And always, without exception, the artist seems to both think and behave as if the exact opposite were true. Davis’s Oscar speech filled me with rage, but it was also a pivotal moment for me, because my subsequent daily, online harassment of her, which has been going on for fourteen months now, instilled in me a sense of direction and focus that, up until that point in my life, had been missing. Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” The day I found out why I was born was on February 26, 2017. That was the day I discovered that I was born to torment Viola Davis. And if I don’t anger her to the point where she eventually shows up on my doorstep with a weapon, I will feel as if I have failed. Even if I do anger her to the point in which she wants to kill me, what are the chances that she would use her Academy Award as her weapon of choice? It’s hard to say. I don’t know how important symbolism is to her. As for the mathematical odds of this occurrence, again, I don’t know. I’m not Nate Silver, but I would put the odds at around twenty-six percent.
pet peeves
While far less prestigious, it would probably be better to be beaten to death with an Emmy Award than an Oscar trophy. The Emmy has sharp points which could result in a much quicker death, especially if one’s assailant hits a vital artery. Viola Davis has won an Emmy too, so that might just happen. What did she win the Emmy for? Hold on. I’m typing it into the Google machine. Let’s see. It says here…OH FUCK! She won an Emmy for her role in the series How to Get Away With Murder. Maybe I shouldn’t antagonize Viola Davis after all.
emmy award
The Stanley Cup is the perfect murder weapon because the people who are tasked with handling the cup have always worn gloves so that they don’t leave finger prints on it.

The Pulitzer Prize looks like a large coin, like a marathon medal without the ribbon that you put around your neck. If they were to attach a ribbon to the Pulitzer Prize, I would feel honored to be strangled to death with it. I would much rather win a Pulitzer than be strangled with one, but beggars can’t be choosers. pulitzer
For now, I’ll just have to settle for being beaten to death with my framed Employee of the Month certificate from McDonald’s. Getting beaten to death with the Nobel Peace Prize would also be–

“Stay focused, Keith!”

You’re right. After all, my choices are a lead pipe, an Academy Award, or a bowling pin. And I would choose the bowling pin. Bowling has played an interesting, albeit terrible, role in my family’s history. My parents met at Parkway Lanes, a bowling alley in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. I don’t know what my father said to my mother, but since he likes to state the obvious more than any human being I’ve ever known, I’m guessing it was something along the lines of, “I see that you’re bowling, huh?” Somehow, this worked.

That very same bowling alley was the one where my mother’s uncle, Danny Solimine, once bowled a 299. He had never bowled a perfect game, and on this particular night, he had been throwing strike after strike after strike. It got to the point where strangers started to take notice. And then there were even more strikes. Now everyone in that bowling alley took notice, and stopped bowling. They came over to Danny’s lane and cheered wildly as he threw even more strikes. Finally, on the last frame, a perfect game just ten pins away, he knocked every pin down…except for one. And that last pin fucking wobbled before staying upright. Understandably, Danny collapsed to the floor. This was in 1966. He didn’t get back up until 1987. Okay, so I made that last part up. But if you thought that Danny couldn’t feel any worse that night, you would be wrong, because at that moment, the owner of the bowling alley actually gave him the pin! When I first heard this story, which was decades ago, I swore that if I were Danny, I would have beaten him to death with it (and this was decades before I read Questions For Terrible People, which wasn’t written until 2016). Oddly enough, Danny kept the pin! Why would someone do that? Why would that sick fuck who owned Parkway Lanes offer Danny the pin in the first place? And even worse, why would Danny keep it? Why would he want that reminder of such a gut-wrenching near-miss? I would rather throw twelve straight gutter balls and end up with a score of zero than bowl a 299. Or maybe I could deal with the 299 if the one pin I failed to knock down occurred much earlier in the game. But to go into the last frame with a perfect score and bowl a 299? With the last pin wobbling? There’s only two ways to deal with that. You either never bowl again, or you bowl non-fucking stop until you get that 300. To say that I would have chosen the latter is the biggest understatement in the history of understatements. Not only would I have bowled every night, but I would have locked myself in the bowling alley’s broom closet so that I could keep on playing in secret after they closed up for the night. As of the last time that I saw Danny, which was at my grandfather’s funeral in 1999, he had still never bowled a perfect game, and he was already in his seventies by then. All my memories of him took place in Ortley Beach, New Jersey. He and my grandfather owned a split bungalow there, and we would go there every summer. They were nice memories, and he enjoyed his family and the beach and the sunshine. And yet I can’t help but to feel that he was doing something wrong. He should have been bowling.

Maybe Danny didn’t lock himself in bowling alley broom closets because he had better coping mechanisms than I do. Maybe his experiences while serving in WWII gave him a healthy amount of perspective that I am obviously lacking. But I would like to think that he’s somehow still alive, pushing 100 years of age, still launching balls at pins in a New Jersey bowling alley, and finally achieving that 300. It seems unlikely though, doesn’t it?

I would choose to be beaten to death with a bowling pin because bowling has played such a horrible role in my family’s history. Yes, my parents met through bowling, but they also got divorced when I was three. Worse than that, their coupling resulted in the existence of my older brother, a piece of human garbage and their biggest mistake, a mistake that they (rightfully) regret and who—you can’t make this stuff up—lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

My brother’s existence. My parent’s divorce. Danny’s 299 game. So much misery caused by bowling. My being beaten to death with a bowling pin wouldn’t erase my parent’s mistakes, and it wouldn’t give Danny Solimine a 300 game. But if I sacrifice myself to the Bowling Gods, maybe I could finally end this cycle of misery before more lives are ruined.

cc: Bowling For Soup
The Pied Piper
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Oscar De la Hoya
Oscar The Grouch

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Wishy Washy

Anne Shea, a woman that I don’t know and am not even Facebook “friends” with, posted this ad in a Facebook group:

Free to a loving home. Nearly new washing machine! PM me for details please!

This was my response:

Anne,

I’m contacting you because I’m interested in the washing machine. However, I also want to warn you of the dangers of offering washing machines for “free to a loving home.” According to the FBI, many serial killers first started out by getting washing machines for free from classified ads, where they then stabbed, starved, and mutilated the machines. One of those people was Todd Devlinson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was sentenced to twelve years in prison for torturing, sodomizing, and killing nearly two dozen washing machines that he got for free off of Craigslist. Answering a “free to a loving home” ad in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Richard Darby fed a washing machine to his pet python. Washing machines that are given away for free often end up as “bait” machines in wash machine fighting rings, where the poor machines are forced to fight each other until one of them dies. And some of the washing machines acquired from ads often end up in the hands of Class B dealers, who then sell the machines to laboratories, where they are subjected to cruel experiments. My suggestion is to charge a small fee for the washing machine, so you can keep it out of the hands of those who might want it for nefarious purposes.

Even if you don’t end up giving the washing machine away to someone who wishes to do it harm, the sad reality is that most people are incapable of loving inanimate objects. I’m not one of them. I consider my vacuum cleaner to be my best friend. One day, I drew a sad face on a Post It note, wrote underneath it, “Nature abhors me,” and stuck it on the vacuum cleaner. Most people leave their vacuum cleaners in the closet, but not me. Ever since I came up with that hilarious “nature abhors me” idea, I leave my vacuum cleaner out in the open so that all my guests can see it and have a good laugh. Oddly enough, I don’t seem to get many guests. I wonder why. Hey, I just thought of something. If I leave my vacuum cleaner out of the closet, does that mean that it’s gay?

In closing, I will admit that I live a fairly busy lifestyle, but I will still give the washing machine plenty of my time and attention. Besides, my vacuum cleaner could use a playmate. He seems awfully depressed lately. How do I know? Well, one dead giveaway is that he had another Post It note stuck to him the other day (with another drawing of a sad face) that read, “I suck.” Granted, I was the one that wrote the note (I’m full of great jokes), but you get the point.

Sincerely,

Keith Malek

P.S. Now that we’ve established that my vacuum cleaner is gay, the image of him sucking takes on all sorts of disturbing connotations.

cc: George Washington
Miami Sound Machine
Herbert Hoover

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Craigslist Missed Connections: Whole Foods Checkout Line

Whole Foods checkout line–Sat. 8:30pm in the snow and sparkles–w4m (Harlem/Morningside)

It was sweetly obvious, you in a hat and glasses glimpsing me, me in my hat and glasses smiling back.

My sister chatting away on her phone trying to create enough distraction so we could talk. Some ruse about a lost glove.

A jumbled confusion at the registers.

Doors opened, and we disappeared into the darkness.

Find me. Maybe change fate?

Life swirls like snow in the wind…

I remember you vividly, and I deeply regretted not talking to you! As an icebreaker, I thought about using the overused (and exaggerated) line of “Whole Foods? More like Whole Wallet.” I didn’t do that for a couple of reasons. First, it makes no sense to disparage Whole Foods if we’re both Whole Foods shoppers. Second, it’s not a funny joke. But even if it’s not funny, that doesn’t particularly matter as long as someone has great comedic timing, which I most certainly do; it’s all in the delivery. I would have made that stupid joke funny by simply pretending that it was funny, and then immediately switching back to a serious face. It’s called sarcasm, and I’m pretty sure that I invented it.

“No one has better words than me. I have great words. The best words.” –Donald Trump

Just replace Donald Trump with Keith Malek (that’s me) and that would be an accurate quotation.

I do, however, have to correct you on one small detail. What your sister said on the phone was, “No glove, no love,” which, quite frankly, I found to be a bit too personal of a conversation to be having in the checkout line of a supermarket.

As for everything else that you wrote, your descriptions were entirely accurate. Hats and glasses? Check. Glimpses and smiles? Check. Jumbled confusion at the registers? Check. Life swirls like snow in the wind?

This is where you lost me.

Were you thinking of “All we are is dust in the wind”? If so, I’ll have you know that that Kansas song mentions nothing about swirling. Or snow for that matter. Did you mean to say, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”? I hope that’s not what you meant, because I’m astonished at how often that stupid, meaningless movie line is quoted. And then there’s John Lennon, who said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Poor guy! I guess he had planned on working at a McDonald’s, but accidentally ended up being a rock star. Life can be really cruel like that. Speaking of life’s cruelty, my favorite quotation about life is Joseph Conrad’s, “Life is a beautiful opera except it’s terrifying.”

I once went on a date with an opera singer hours after receiving a root canal from my stepbrother, Tyler, who is a dentist. (You didn’t think I would let him do that to me if he wasn’t a dentist, did you? What do you take me for, an idiot? I learned my lesson the hard way after I let my father, who is an insurance salesman, give me rotator cuff surgery). Tyler gave me two different drugs to take, but I either took them at the wrong time, or I wasn’t supposed to combine them. I don’t remember. All I know is that even though I wasn’t in any pain, I went on a first date hours later, and was talking in God damn riddles. She later told me that I had started telling her stories during our date that I never finished…but I was under the firm impression that I had finished them. “One time, I was on the Upper West Side and…isn’t that funny?” Apparently, I had also said, “I’m surprised that you’re an opera singer, because you weigh like, ninety-five pounds, and usually opera singers…power plant.” That was almost a sensible, coherent sentence, until I came to “power plant.” I’m guessing that opera singers work at power plants? Or they start out thin but become fat after working at power plants? I’m not sure.

There’s a valuable lesson to be drawn from this, and I’ll let you decide which one it is. Is the lesson to never go on a date after receiving a root canal? Keep in mind that the root canal was painless and that my date was very attractive. Or is the lesson simply to take one’s medicines correctly after receiving a root canal? It’s hard to say. If he were alive, I don’t think John Lennon would mind if I were to take a few liberties with his life quotation by writing:

“Second dates are what don’t happen to you when you plan to take your drugs properly but fail.”

One thing is certain though, and that is that life is short. So why don’t we stop wasting time emailing each other and finally meet? And since we saw each other at Whole Foods, let me suggest that for our first date, I prepare us a gluten-free, locally grown, vegan, environmentally friendly, free range, handpicked, grass fed, soy based arugula salad topped with cage-free wheatgrass dressing?

Keith

P.S. Life is a highway. I want to ride it all night long.

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I Don’t Know Why This Keeps Happening To Me, But I Love It

Once again, I found someone’s drivers license (as well as his EBT card) on the train. You might recall that this has happened to me once before, which I chronicled on here in my letter titled “Dear Roanirt.” Anyway, I googled this man’s address, and found out that he lives in a housing project in Coney Island. I did not leave a return address on these letters, for obvious reasons. If he does somehow show up at my house, I’ll tell him, “Hey, it’s nice to finally be able to put a face to a name!” And then he’ll stab me.

April 7, 2018

Dear Colby,

I found your drivers license and EBT card on the Queens bound F train. I teach Advanced Mathematics at Columbia University. There has been a mathematical theorem I’ve been trying to prove for nearly a decade, and I will mail you your ID and EBT card only if you can help me prove it. So I suggest you put on a pot of coffee or something, because as you can see, this one is a real head-scratcher. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Professor X

cc: Joy Division

Paul Coffee

math

April 8, 2018

Dear Colby,

Listen. I’m going to need that math theorem proven soon, okay? Chop chop! Time is of the essence.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that our little project here is complicated. Like I said, I’ve been trying to solve this theorem for nearly a decade, and I realize that it’s not completely fair of me to ask you to solve it in twenty-four hours. However, I chose you to solve this theorem because I thought you showed promise. Well, technically, I didn’t exactly chose you. I just happened to come across your ID and EBT card on the train. However, I consider this to be a give and take relationship. I could just give you back your ID and EBT card out of the kindness of my heart, but I don’t believe in handouts. I suggest you read the works of Ayn Rand so that you fully understand the concepts of self-reliance. But not yet. Now is no time for reading. I need you to be Johnny On The Spot with those God damn numbers. It’s crunch time!

Professor X

April 9, 2018

Dear Colby,

When we started out on this journey together, I for one, was filled with excitement. And maybe it’s my fault for not fully explaining what’s at stake here, so I will now do that. If we can solve this theorem, we will be published in the Journal of Differential Equations. Do I have your attention now? Yeah, I thought so. So get to work!

We might be in luck. Yesterday, I worked on this theorem for nine hours, and I eventually discovered that the multivariants in the third quadrant are null, and when I tried to group the orthagonal terms solving for x36, the forcing function remained binary. I know that that doesn’t exactly solve the problem, but it’s a start. And the larger point is that I wouldn’t have made that discovery if I hadn’t put in the time and effort, which I did, despite also teaching two classes and attending three meetings. Did you put in the same amount of effort? Somehow, I doubt it.

Professor X

P.S. Look, it’s no skin off my back. I have tenure. Do you?

April 10, 2018

Dear Colby,

Please accept my apologies for the churlish tone of my previous letter. You must understand that on certain days, this theorem proves to be the bane of my existence. On most days, is the raison detre for my getting out of bed in the morning. Usually, I do not see them as math problems. I see them as math opportunities. Math privileges, even. I’m sure you can relate to that. I am Captain Ahab, and this theorem is my Moby Dick. If we plan on spearing this whale together, I must get better control of my emotions. I firmly believe that God does not give us any problem in life that we cannot handle, and that there’s a reason why He chose for us to collaborate. And for what it’s worth, I’m starting to think of you less as a colleague and more as a friend. They say that you get more with honey than you do with vinegar. I’ve always found that cash works best, but whatever. The point is that if we’re going to continue to have a working relationship, then I must be far more patient with your efforts than I have been so far. I know that you can do this, Colby, and please do not hesitate to ask me for assistance if you need it. Two heads are better than one.

Professor X

April 11, 2018

Dear Colby,

I have yet to hear from you. I asked around, and none of my colleagues in the Advanced Mathematics department at Columbia have heard from you either. Not only have you not turned in a completed theorem, but you have sent no letters, no emails, not even a phone call. It’s almost as if you’re not even trying to solve this theorem, and if my suspicions are correct, it’s because you think I’m going to take credit for all of your work, don’t you? Colby, I wouldn’t dream of it. I know that, so far, I’m the one who has done the majority of the “heavy lifting” here, but it doesn’t matter. I serve the field of Advanced Mathematics, and I see my brain as a mere vessel in that Service. I chose to work with you because I assumed that you felt the same way.

So let me make my intentions perfectly clear. When (not if) we solve this theorem together and get published in the Journal of Differential Equations, your name can appear before mine. It genuinely does not matter to me.

Professor X

P.S. If you want a better idea of how I approach my work from a philosophical perspective, I recommend that you read Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. But just like with my Ayn Rand recommendation, I must stress that you read it after we solve this theorem. Work before play!

April 12, 2018

Dear Colby,

Like all relationships, ours is built on trust. Unfortunately, you have violated that trust. Like I said in my previous letter, no one on the faculty of Columbia University has heard from you. I know that I made things slightly more difficult than they need to be by not leaving a return address on these envelopes, but according to your drivers license, you’re 6 “4.” Plus, you look quite angry. And even though there’s only a limited view of your shoulders, you appear to be built like a brick shithouse. In short, you are the scariest human being I have ever laid eyes on. But that does not explain why you have done NO work on this mathematical theorem. I, on the other hand, had a major breakthrough with the theorem just this morning, when I discovered that each catheti in the triangle that’s contained in the square root…you know what? I’m not even going to bother telling you. Why should I? If you had mailed the university something—anything—I would feel that we’re on equal ground here. Hell, at this point, just as an act of good faith, I would settle for a completed sudoku puzzle. But I bet you can’t even be bothered to do that, could you?

To be fair, I realize that I’ve been a bit selfish. My focus in our correspondence has been solely on the theorem, with hardly any mention of your drivers license and EBT card. For that, I apologize. But like I’ve explained before, our relationship is give and take. I have your license and EBT card, and you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that I’m a horse (although the ladies might disagree, if you catch my drift). However, in this scenario, you are the horse (you’re not much of a workhorse, unfortunately), and your license and EBT card are the carrot and stick. Some of my colleagues have told me that I should choose someone other than you to collaborate with, but I told them that it’s a bad idea to change horses mid-stream. “But doesn’t he lack motivation?” they ask me. “Yes,” I respond. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” “Besides,” I add, “Colby is my friend, and wild horses couldn’t drag me away from him. Yes, he’s a bit lazy, but I can’t change partners now. That horse has already left the stable.” So quit horsing around, and let’s solve this theorem!

Professor X

cc: Mr. Ed
Seabiscuit
Christopher Reeve

April 13, 2018

Dear Colby,

“We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.” –Albert Camus

Despite your failure to live up to your side of the bargain, I have decided that in the near future, I will most likely be mailing you your EBT card and drivers license. You probably want to know when, but it’s important to understand that, in life, timing is everything. To quote Axl Rose, “All we need is just a little patience.”

I’m holding off on giving you your stuff back so you can gain a deeper appreciation for the historical significance of this moment. As you wait in quiet anticipation for your identification, the nation holds its collective breath for the contents of the Steele dossier to be revealed. In case you haven’t been reading the papers, that’s the dossier that journalist Christopher Steele supposedly has on Trump, the one that is rumored to contain a tape of Trump being urinated on by a Russian prostitute. And if I’ve had to wait this long for the pee tape, then you can certainly wait a little longer for your drivers license and EBT card. I don’t mean to play hardball here, but you WILL solve that math theorem, Colby. I don’t have a tape of you getting peed on by a Russian prostitute (or do I?) but I DO have your EBT card and drivers license! It angers me that I’ve had to wait so long for Fat Nixon’s downfall, but I’d rather be pissed off than pissed on. Ha ha! See what I did there? How about this one: Urine big trouble, Donald! Ha!

My point, Colby, is that I want you to run for president in 2020. If you were to run, you would be the dark horse candidate. And yes, “dark horse” is me alluding to my previous letter with all the horse references, because both mathematically and comedically, I am a God damn genius!

Professor X

April 14, 2018

Dear Colby,

Well, I hate to say it, but you’ve pushed me too far. Since you have given me NOTHING in regards to this theorem, I now have legal grounds for a breach of contract lawsuit. You will be hearing from my attorney. Thanks for wasting my time.

Professor X

cc: Jude Law

April 15, 2018

Dear Colby,

Enclosed is your drivers license and EBT card. I’m returning it because—no thanks to you—I have solved the theorem! But just in case I was wrong about you and you have indeed been working diligently on the theorem (your lack of correspondence suggests otherwise, but let’s just say that you’ve been working on it after all) then I must provide you with a “spoiler alert” and urge you to stop reading right now.

Drum roll please!….The answer to the theorem….is 4.

Professor X

PS. I must say, your behavior throughout this process has been atrocious! Please do not ask me to collaborate with you ever again!

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I’m Removing A Lot of Posts From This Blog

I’ve decided that in 2018, I will be entering a lot of my writing into competitions. In many of these contests, the rules state that the writing can’t be published anywhere else. Sometimes, that even includes personal blogs, so a lot of my posts that you’ve seen on here will no longer be here.
ren and stimpy crying

No, no. Be strong. Whatever doesn’t win will end up back on here. And if it does win, as long as the rules allow it, I will provide links to the websites in which the writings are published.

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50,000 People Run 26.2 Miles Despite Having Access To Cars, Trains, and Buses

NEW YORK CITY– An estimated fifty-thousand people from seventy different countries ran through all five boroughs of New York City on Sunday, despite the fact that cars, trains, and buses exist. The misguided mob met at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island and didn’t stop running until they reached Central Park hours later. One witness, Eric Delman of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said, “I saw fifty-thousand white people chasing six or seven Ethiopians down Fourth Avenue. I was going to call the police, but I figured I would be putting them in even more danger if I did that.” Timothy Nealon, a life-long New Yorker, suspected that “it must be some kind of flash mob,” but admitted that he “doesn’t get the joke.” “I mean, they obviously wanted to get to Central Park for some reason,” he said, “but why didn’t they just take the Staten Island Ferry to get to Manhattan?”

“It wasn’t until I reached Mile 5 that someone in the crowd was nice enough to hold up a sign that read ‘You Can Take The F Train Two Blocks From Here,'” said German tourist Hans Von Eicher. “Up until then, I had no idea that this city had trains and taxis.” The man who held up the sign, forty-two-year-old Jeffrey Gray, insists that he’s not a hero. “I just felt so bad for these people,” he said. “Anyone in my position would have done the same thing.”

Or maybe not. According to witnesses, many people who were standing on the sidewalks were actually encouraging the runners to continue. “It was one of the cruelest things I’ve ever seen,” said Upper East Side resident Mike O’Dell. Like Gray before him, O’Dell held up a handmade sign that read: Buses & Trains Cost $2.50 Per Ride. “I had to do it,” said O’Dell. “I saw people holding up signs that read ‘Keep Going.’ I had been walking past an office supply store, so I decided to take matters into my own hands by creating a more helpful sign that would hep these poor people out.” Gray also refuses to label himself a “hero,” saying, “I felt like it was the least I could do.” Mayor DeBlasio said that he was proud of those like O’Dell and Gray. “Just like in the aftermath of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, it was a beautiful example of residents helping out their fellow New Yorkers during a time of crisis,” he said.

Even so, questions remain as to why more people aren’t aware of New York’s mass transit system. “The MTA really needs to do a better job of promoting itself,” said Harlem resident Denise Cordell. “I know that buses and trains and taxis exist, but obviously, not everyone else does. Otherwise, why else would they do this to themselves?” Cordell told reporters that she was having a picnic in Central Park and “witnessed firsthand” how much pain the runners were in. “For whatever reason, they all eventually stopped running at a certain spot in the park,” she said. “Specifically, they stopped underneath this strange looking digital clock right across from where Tavern On The Green used to be.” Cordell said that shortly after the runners stopped at that designated spot, many of them began to vomit, which “totally ruined” her picnic. “That was when it dawned on me how sadistic this whole thing was,” she told reporters. “For them to run so far that they’re throwing up? And all because no one bothered to tell them about the transit system? In fact, I’ll bet that a lot of people who were cheering them on and encouraging them to keep on running use the transit system themselves.”

One woman who wishes that she had known about the transit system is Kera Grath, a tourist from Palm Springs, Florida. While staying in a hotel in Staten Island not far from where the runners started out, she started to jog next to one of the fifty-thousand runners at the foot of the Verrazano and asked one of them if they knew how to get to Central Park. “The woman kind of laughed and said, ‘I’m heading there right now. Follow me,'” she said. So I did.”  Grath admitted that she didn’t see anything unusual about the fact that fifty-thousand people were running across the Verrazano. “I just assumed that that’s what every New Yorker does on the weekend. They go to Central Park,” she said. Grath also admitted that she had “no idea” that it was unnecessary to run through Brooklyn and Queens if she wanted to get to Central Park. “It wasn’t until I was on the 59th Street Bridge, headed into Manhattan, that I realized I had been in Queens ,” she told reporters. “I think it was around Mile 18 that I started to regret my decision of going to the park.” For the remainder of her vacation, Grath said that she wants to visit Rockefeller Center and see a Broadway show, but only if “some sort of mass transit system were to be put into place.” “Now I know why tourists stay in midtown and not Staten Island,” she added. Despite her mistake, Grath finished her 26.2 miles in three hours and five minutes, a fast enough time to qualify her to run 26.2 miles in Boston, another city that, like New York, has a secret mass transit system that very few people actually know about.