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Man searching for woman: I am in possession of the greatest joke in the world.


This, of course, is a lie. I’m an asshole and an alcoholic and I’m looking for something similar. I like alcohol because it has many uses, including the following: Fending off reason Making beautiful those things that aren’t Purging your stomach Enlightening the dumb Inducing slumber Producing courage Spinning a room Enabling denial Opening conversation Befriending peanuts I wrote a poem one time and it was very good so I consider myself a poet. The first line was: I do not like doctors. The last line was: So occasionally I eat watermelon. It was only two lines long. Do you like it? Often I wonder what it might be like to die by explosion. Please reply with a picture of your face. Or your breasts. Or both. Preferably both. And maybe a name. And maybe your phone number. Please have most of your teeth or at least dentures. Supposedly, The Giant

Dear Giant, Please find attached to this message the requisite photographs. Please be inclined to view the face first and the breasts second. You will notice that I have taken great lengths to look presentable. Fondly, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, I have received your picture. I like the way your hair appears to be of silk or maybe cheap wool. I’m glad you are beautiful. I hope you don’t mind that I am mediocre in this respect, if not a little subpar. Please find attached to this message a picture of my face. You will notice that I have not included a picture of my breasts. This is because I don’t have them. Well I do have them, but they are different than yours. They are smaller, inevitably less attractive and not very much fun to play with. Perpetually, The Giant

Dear Giant, You are not handsome, but I find this to be charming. Bland people are forced, by the nature of circumstance, to supplement. Perhaps they are poets or playwrights or photographers. Perhaps they are scientists. If they are not these things, they live in trailers. Sometimes. Other times they are boring and they do boring things, like build computers. Do you build computers? I wasn’t able to sleep last night because I was thinking about you. This is strange because I’ve yet to meet you and you will likely turn out to be rotten or dull. But still I could not sleep. Your poem was nice, although there are many that are better. Kindly, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, I have fallen in love and out of it many times and so I am very good at describing what it is like. Since I anticipate falling in love with you, I’m going to tell you about it. Falling in love is like eating a steak, only you are trying to swallow the entire thing without chewing it and so it inevitably becomes stuck. Falling out of love is similar, only opposite. Your body recoils and fights for air because of the steak in your throat. Sometimes you choke to death. The people that choke die or they get a therapist. Other people vomit and then try swallowing the steak all over again. These people are stupid. I tend to drink, hoping the liquid will force down what’s blocking my air. Certainly, The Giant.

Dear Giant, I do not drink. Never in my life have I put a glass of beer or liquor or wine to my lips. Never have I cursed my liver or my stomach. Never have I been forced to wake and meander about my day when instead I should be waltzing. I hold a vicious hatred for you. Let me explain why. I’ll explain why later. Momentarily, Sunshine Girl

Sunshine Girl, You remind me of my mother. She is, in certain ways, a truly appalling creature. Her behavior is simple, her methods archaic. She prowls around shopping malls and grocery stores in search of people who litter, steal candy or put their gum on the undersides of public tables and benches. She watches and waits for someone to commit such a crime and then pursues them with haste, confronting them with force and shattering their sensibilities with language that includes: litterbug and conscientious. She says these things and disappears. She is nameless, in certain ways. She is feared across my city, though nobody would recognize her. This is strange. You would think, by now, that somebody would have taken her picture or smothered her to death with a teddy bear. You remind me of her for some reason. I do not know the reason. Is this strange? Forever yours, The Giant

Dear Giant, I have discovered the reason for which I hold a vicious hatred for you. Your poem is shit. But this is meaningful, isn’t it? They say artists are nothing but people of passion who fall into talent with age. Are you young? I think you are because you are immature and say stupid things. They say artists are drunks. Are you a drunk? Yes. I know because you told me. And don’t artists hope to die tragic deaths? I believe they prefer to die of tuberculosis. You are young and you are a drunk. And you fear or lust after death by explosion — which, while not as romantic as tuberculosis, still maintains a sort of haste that may drive you to brilliant composition. I hate you because you are unrealized. It is impossible for me to care any less about your mother than I do right now. I hope she dies of cancer, particularly the kind that inhabits those things that make her a woman: her ovaries, her uterus, her breasts, her cervix. It will be her penance. For what? For birthing you. Simply honest, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, It has occurred to me just now that I have fallen in love with you. Do you find this sentiment strange? Do you find it welcoming? Do you find that, in your heart, you feel the same about me? I have a strange feeling that you must. I know a song on the guitar and the first line of it is: Someday I’ll wake up. There is a beautiful chord progression that I play with it when I sing. I was singing it just now. It made me think of you. Quietly contemplating, The Giant

Dear Giant, I am going to trust you with something very close to my heart. I hope you will not take the information and use it to break me, to crush my spirit and leave me helpless. I am scared that I will be sucked out of an airplane window. For this, I never fly. I am scared that I will be the subject of laughter. For this, I never tell jokes. I am scared that someone will miss me when I die. For this, I know no one. I am scared that someday I will die. For this, I smoke habitually. Warmly, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, Take solace in the fact that there is not enough pressure at 35,000 feet to suck you out. Take solace in the fact that you will never be the subject of laughter – you are not even remotely funny. And dear girl, please know someone. At least one. Do not fear that they will miss you when you die. I am quite sure that nobody misses anyone else anymore. When you die, you can be sure that every close relative and friend in the room is thinking solely of themselves, of how glad they are that you are in the casket instead of them. And, if you take solace in anything, take solace in the fact that you will live forever. Prophetically, The Giant

Dear Giant, I had hoped that you would send me a list of your fears as I have sent you one of mine. In sharing our dread, we might have become closer. Instead you have belittled me. I feel as if every emotion I have ever carried in my breast were false, momentary, elaborate and foolish. Sheepishly, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, Below please find a list of those things that scare me. I am scared of only three things. I am scared that I will die alone. For this, I buy goldfish. I am scared of parasites and tropical diseases. For this, I never travel. I am scared of crash-landing face first on the ground. For this, I never jump from high places. Regrettably, The Giant

Dear Giant, You will die alone. Have you ever considered traveling to lands of ice and snow? You could always wear a parachute. Dramatically, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, I have nothing but time. Did you ever think, as child, that you’d have too much time? Every happy moment ever lived is over in a blink – recess, childhood, romance. Have you considered if this is strange? God is playing a prank us. Do you see it? Have you laughed yet? The only moments that linger are the ones you wish would pass quickly. I have many such moments and so it seems as if I have already lived forever. I have decided to quit composing poetry. Your critique of my poem is heartfelt and true. I fear that I have neither the words nor the rhythm to incite rebellion or lust, and so there is no place on the page for me. Tragically, The Giant

Dear Giant, A true artist knows when they are not welcome and so they acquiesce, resigning their post as the ignored and the irrelevant. Congratulations on your arrival. Have you considered building computers? I have heard there is money here. Heaps of it. Mounds. Piles. Sacks. Chests. May I suggest that we each compose a paragraph professing our feelings for the other? This way we will know precisely where we stand. I will begin: There is the possibility that I lust for you. I feel as if I want to know your touch and your kiss, although I know I never will. I am frank and I apologize for this fact, but in earnest I would not change it for the world – it is chemical, it is who I am. I may love you despite your flaws and imperfections. Isn’t this love? I am sure of it. When you chase after a person knowing precisely where they are broken, that is love. Perhaps I am wrapped in it, as a child may be wrapped in a felt blanket imprinted with colored animals – blue bears, purple elephants and yellow hippopotamuses. Essentially, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, While I have not encountered a good and fitting path for my future, I am decidedly against building computers. I have heard, from more than one reputable source, that there is the hazard of electrocution to consider. I would feel awful if you were to take to sobbing after discovering I had perished in such a manner. Consider the following a profession of my sentiments: What happens when I am old, when I am ailing, when I am weak? Will you love me then? Will you consent to my death if I wish it? Will you consent to living forever if I so choose to never die? These are relevant. Maybe you will love me despite time and so I will fail to appreciate you until you are wasted and gone. But isn’t this love? Isn’t this what love is? Love is what happens when you forget a person exists. Love is what you feel afterwards, when they are dead. You don’t miss them. That is not the right word. Simply, they are absent and you are acutely aware of this fact. Somehow, I feel that when you are absent from my life I will feel it acutely. Absurdly, The Giant

Dear Giant, I feel we have arrived at a plateau. But have I told that I prefer the ocean? That I prefer rough coasts, sharp cliffs, rocky mountains and the flesh of a man seasoned with dried seawater? Recently I have considered purchasing a bicycle. I believe there exists at least one bicycle in the world that has two seats. Shall we buy it? I have a vision of us pedaling across the country in exactly a straight line and arriving at the ocean past sundown. The water will be black. The sky will be black. We are chilled, but we have coffee in a thermos. We watch as night dies and the sun pops up. We will stay for an early morning hour. And then we will find a new place to pedal. Shall we go? Magnetically, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, It is impossible that we be together. I fall in love often. I fall out of it more often. But I have a strange sensation in my brain. It feels commonplace, but essential. It’s as if I have woken from a night’s sleep and taken a mug of coffee. Only the feeling never wears thin. I am afraid, then, that I have fallen in love with you truly. And that I won’t be able to fall back out. You have told me you are afraid to be sucked out of a plane with a hole in its window. If this plane were a metaphor for the circumstance of love, I am afraid of remaining inside: the hole in the window, and the excessive pressure pulling me out, is welcome in my world. Reverently, The Giant

Dear Giant, Have I told you that I have been awake for weeks? Since your first message I have not been able to shut my eyes. How terrible is it to live a morning as if it were midnight? To feel as though the sun does nothing but pull on your eyelids? Still, you do not see me complaining about it. And you must stop. Beds are unnecessary and rest is redundant. Where do we go from here? I am on a road and I am without the tools necessary to navigate: a compass, a map, a vehicle (preferably silver, although a dark and somber blue will do), a bottle of liquor and a mix-tape. Emphatically, Sunshine Girl

Dear Sunshine Girl, There is a funny joke that God plays on man. Have you laughed yet? I think it might be the funniest one of all. The joke is: everyone you ever knew, and anyone who might mourn your passing, will die. What happens after this? There is no proof that you existed. And there is no one to care whether you ever did in the first place. There is a song about this. Maybe someday I will sing it to you. Where we go from here is simple. The nice thing about this place is that you don’t need a compass, a map, a vehicle, a bottle of liquor or a mix-tape to arrive there. We are going to nowhere in particular. I’ll see when you arrive. I’ll be the man wearing a smile and a blue tuxedo. Quietly, The Giant

An insomniac, Ian Bassingthwaighte writes because there is nothing else to do at night. His favorite food is Cheerios.

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