Letter from a Facebook Reader


Hi there,

This letter will take you completely by surprise, but I saw your profile on Facebook and liked what I read. Actually, I have two reasons for writing to you. First, you’re not too smart, but that’s okay. (It’s the smart ones I have trouble with), and you seem to be a level-headed sort of fellow. Besides, on your Facebook page you wrote that you believe I’m kind of a Mel Brooks only with a sadistic streak. Okay, I kind of like the Mel Brooks part but I got to tell you, that got me humming Springtime for Hitler for eight solid weeks night and day. I almost caused a forty-day flood in your neighborhood because of that, but after consideration, I realized you had what you thought was good reason for your assessment, except that I’m not sadistic. Not in the least.  Mankind wholly fabricated that sadistic stuff. Like playing a cruel joke on Abraham. I wouldn’t do that. That’s not funny. Not at all. I think maybe, because of spelling complexities, man got holy mixed up with wholly.

I’m just saying. I’m trying to be generous here.

Second, there has been so much misunderstanding about me and the world in general, and while it’s bad to be constantly misquoted, it really bugs me to have completely fictitious bunkum attributed to me, so while I’m in the neighborhood, I decided it was time I said a word in my own defense.

So. Where to begin? I suppose I should do like everybody says, and start at the beginning. Okay, the first big thing is creating heaven and earth. That’s where all the misunderstandings started. Everybody says I did it in six days and on the seventh day I rested. Come on!

Besides, back then days didn’t even have numbers let alone names, but people are still arguing over what day of the week they’re supposed to put down their weapons and worship me. Even if I did rest on the seventh day, what is the logic of believing that means you have to holster your gun and spend the seventh day losing time on the battlefield?

So okay, I created man and called him Adam. He looked nice. Then I thought I should give him somebody for a companion, so I created Eve. Boy, was that some kind of blooper! But hey, nobody’s perfect.

First thing Eve did was trick him into that apple thing. Then she started nagging him to get a job. No more hanging out at the pub with his pals. No lying around in his man cave watching football. She griped if he dragged home a two ton stegosaurus for dinner. It was never enough. Poor Adam wasn’t romantic. When this all started he used to bring her necklaces made from pterodactyl neck bones and showy skunk fur collars to show off her best raptor hide outfit. She didn’t even want him to have girlfriends. Would you believe?

Okay, so we all make mistakes. I figured it would work out. Eventually, despite, and sometimes because of their differences, some of which I think are pretty darn good after all, men and women managed to get along. Well, most of the time.

Recently I heard Governor Ventura say that nearly all the wars throughout time have been caused by religion, and he’s got that pretty well nailed all right. Almost from day one — I suppose I should really say day eight — a good segment of the population came up with the idea that what I really enjoy is a good old-fashioned bloodbath. They started off with lambs and chickens and like that, but pretty soon most people decided I’d really be a lot happier to see humans getting knocked off, preferably people they didn’t like anyway and preferably in bulk. Some people think I really get off on a good bombing, the more victims the better. I like it even better when the perpetrator blows up with. For some inexplicable reason these mass murderers have the idea that I’m waiting to welcome them with open arms and a big “Hello!” If you think I want some lunatic bomber dining at my table, then I’m writing to the wrong person.

And throughout history, people keep coming up with phony stories, like how I slipped in during the night and talked to them and told them they were “special”. I whisper in their ear and send them forth to spread the word to the people. That makes for laugh-out-loud fun movies with George Burns and Morgan Freeman, but really…

Okay, if these “special” people can get a good living and lots of attractive young women out of their “revelations”, what the hey? And that includes no taxes, big cars and an entourage. I don’t know whether to be angry or to laugh. It does irritate me that people make this stuff up, but on the other hand, seeing how lame their followers are, I can’t help laughing at the same time. How can people be so gullible about that stuff? It won’t even fly in your own courts. I can see Perry Mason right now, lumbering to his feet, pounding on his affidavits and yelling “Hearsay evidence, your Honor! Hearsay evidence!”

Of course that’s hearsay evidence. Your scientists are daily discovering just how big the universe is and it’s still growing. Here I am, hopping all over like a bunny during Easter Week and people expect me to hang around and whisper in their ears. It should be obvious to even to the most fanatic that it would be much more cost-effective and efficient if I just sent out a letter such as this instead of occasionally whispering in the ear of some over-sexed wannabe showman who’s looking for an easy buck and a tax dodge.

Over the years I’ve watched them come and go. Most of them are their own worst enemies. They bring themselves down through their own efforts. Everybody knows power corrupts, yet people still stand around, and in fascination watch it corrupt. They even help by doling out money, as well as sometimes their wives and their virgin daughters just to show good faith.

I got to tell you, I just don’t know. When I started the world I thought it would be a good thing. Nice people running around pursuing their interests. I thought they’d all get along, and by leaving them alone, I figured they’d say, “Hey, we’re all alone on this little planet in this big universe, so if we hope to survive and prosper, it’s up to us to work together for the benefit of all.”

Didn’t work out that way. Go figure.

Well, FYI, you’re still on your own here. I can’t hang around babysitting you guys. I have a life too, you know. So go forth and tell it on the mountain. Oh, these days I guess you prefer stuff like “Alert the media!” Whatever.


An interested observer

Oh man! Now I’m going to be humming that damned Springtime for Hitler again for I don’t even know how long! If I was going to whisper something in your ear right now, I’d say, “Get yourself a rowboat, kid.”



How not to have control

penI‘m sure most of us like to believe we’re in control of our lives, even though experience tells us we’re mistaken. It’s certainly a comforting thought to know that you’re totally in control of everyday events around you, but of course we know that’s not strictly true.

Best laid plans…etc. We’ve all had the experience of planning say, a picnic only to find it decided to rain that day. I remember one time when I confidently went out and bought an expensive stereo on the time payment plan only to be laid off my job a week later. And so it goes. It’s pretty disappointing to finally realize and admit that we don’t really have much, if any, real control over our lives.

But when it comes to writing, ahhhh. When you’re writing, you’re God are you not? You’re completely in charge. You dream up a plot or situation and start creating characters to act out their given parts and you have the option of changing any and everything you want to. Right?

Well…maybe. Maybe usually, but here too there can be exceptions.

I know some writers make detailed notes and outlines when they write, others less so and some just sit down and start writing. In my own case, I normally don’t do much if any outlining on the computer. Being primarily a mystery writer, I usually begin dreaming up a plot and creating at least some of the characters in my head and before I actually begin writing, I usually know the ending. I know who the baddie is and how to expose a murderer. But nearly all of this is bumbling around in my mind.  Once I begin in earnest I usually make a list of the characters as they come along so I can remember their names and anything else of importance about them, but that’s about all. I’m not saying it’s the best way and it’s certainly not the only way, but alas, it’s my way and I’m too old to learn new tricks. After all, I can barely use a cell phone and consistently hold the TV remote backwards. If it was a gun I’d be dead right now.

All this preamble brings me to the point of this.

After a number of stillborn attempts and misbegotten ideas I finally began to put together a plot for (hopefully) my next epic opus. It came to me complete with a title: “The Morgenstern Murders”.

I had this Morgenstern. He was one of those investment banker birds who made a killing in the big bust and quietly retired to a luxurious compound overlooking the lovely Pacific Ocean in sunny California. Naturally, because of the many people whose fortunes and sometimes, lives, were ruined due to his shenanigans, he had accrued a pile of enemies as big as his fortune.

Before long I was actually writing. Started off well. I was fully in charge. But then, about a week or so into this work, something unexpected happened.

That jerk Morgenstern didn’t want to be an unscrupulous investment banker. He wanted to play doctor. Doctor?!

Slipping completely out of my control this guy had decided to be a doctor instead of an investment banker. That meant I had to go back and add “Dr.” every time I mentioned his name. Luckily, on the computer that isn’t so difficult. And he didn’t like to be such a lowlife either. Enemies? Sure. As a doctor, he had opened several abortion clinics in the bay area and found his clinics plagued by protesters who marched daily around displaying placards. They even located his compound and began marching outside in front of his home.

Okay. I didn’t ask for that and didn’t expect it. I honestly don’t know where that came from, but there it is. Even my fictional characters come out and mess up my plans.

Now let me say right here that this isn’t a moral story. I couldn’t dream of writing a scathing philippic against abortionists, and I certainly can’t blame those who are against it. I write mysteries and don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to make a statement. Blame Dr. Morgenstern if you want to blame somebody. I don’t know how or why he decided to become a doctor and set up abortion clinics.  I certainly don‎’t have the expertise to speak for or against abortions. I’m not writing to make any judgments, and I’m not here to defend those who don’t believe in abortion and I can’t judge the doctors who perform this service. Being a male, I’ve never had occasion to consider having an abortion. Fortunately too, the possibility has never come up in my extended family. Everybody related to me already has plenty of kids and more on the way. I suppose one thing in favor of abortions would be the savings in birthday presents, but I kind of enjoy all those little birthday parties even when the cake is on the heavy side.  On the one hand, I wouldn’t advise anyone to have an abortion, but on the other hand, it’s certainly not up to the likes of me to tell women I don’t even know how they should live their lives.

I hope to get this book finished before the end of the year, and God willing, it will be available early next year and I’ll be done with the late Dr. Morgenstern. Yes, despite his change of career, he still gets whacked. (Call it fate, Kismet, destiny.) And although he isn’t really a bad guy, I’m just not that emotionally involved with him to be upset at reading of his demise.

So the takeaway here is that we’re not only not in control of our lives, but evidently we aren’t always in control of our fiction either, but I guess that isn’t all bad. Makes the whole journey more interesting and sometimes even fun.

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