Letters to Ted Kaczynski: Part I

[I began writing letters to Ted K back in 2011. I needed a muse and so I designated Ted K as the would-be receiver of my epistolary confessionals. I have and will never sent these letters to Ted K. They’re for my own amusement. And now yours. I plan on posting them intermittently. Following is the first such letter I wrote. I hope the NSA or FBI or whatever has a line item for CNF.]

Dear Mr. Kaczynski,

I first want to thank you for your prompt reply. As you say, we just go through the motions. For that reason I want to try my best to explain. Our perception is not merely what we apprehend on a conscious level. There are nuances. Like the way our teachers illustrated stellar collapse with cartoons and talking insects.

I thought they said sprained at first, but what do they know? It was probably a result of these relentless jumping jacks. What do I care? Why do I care? Pour some fish down my throat and call me Jack Daniels Jr., Robber Baron of the Little American Ocean.

On the up-swing, I’ve lost 15lbs in the past seven weeks. The same can’t be said for everything. You know how it is. What did me in was the catering gig. It was a wedding celebrating the union of a spritely young divorcee and a fifty-something VP. They booked it at this sanatorium in Skokie called ‘Misericordia,’ which as a word sounds like an Aligherian invention. We worked in a kitchen the size of a Petsmart. Most of the time I ran empties from the bar but by the end of the night I had a limp like a Vietnam vet. You were never enlisted, were you? I’d support you either way, but these are our options: Drop a cinder block on few bicuspids and sip mint juleps on the weekends, or spend four years doing pushups and getting beaten by Duracell-packed tubesocks. Uncle Sam failed me as a role model.

With a bum knee, my flight to Boston failed to be a gas. I was cramped in coach and because it was a last minute thing I had a layover in Detroit. I was only there for two hours but that’s still two hours more than anyone should have to spend on Michigan soil. In its defense, DTW is a damn nice airport. I’ve spent a lot of time at Midway, so I know what I’m talking about. What would happen to Detroit if DTW went out the GM-way? Michigan is the USA’s finest testament to the strength and longevity of Bold American Industry. I just read that the city has a less-than 50% literacy rate. Internet nerds raised $60k to erect a Robocop statue at the heart of Eight Mile. Peter Weller has become the Aryan laughing stock of Masonic International. What’re your thoughts on the DC Pentagram? (This is a getting-to-know-you question. Be as direct or circumspect as you wish.)

I bid (bide? bided? bought?) my time by people watching, comparing gaits and breast sizes; trying to guess the weight of the Tennesseans being carted to Gate A1. What is this obsession youthful and sometimes non-youthful women have with yoga pants? Is this part of our Great Slovenization? We’re pretty well into the 21st century. Slop is the new Betamax. It sips on 666-calorie macchiatos and showers in Diet Coke. Then again, I shouldn’t point fingers. I swallowed a four-egg omelet whole while waiting at ORD that very morning. The woman sitting next to me on the plane fell asleep on my arm. The only thing worse than trusting a stranger is being entrusted by one. Wouldn’t you agree? This is a greeting card sentiment, but truth is truth. She woke up on her own and had apparently found a way to use her cell-phone at 30k feet. I’m surprised the plane didn’t start flying backwards.

When I finally got to Providence, my friend picked me up in his GMC (go fig). He gave me an update about the kinds of girls he’s into and how he’s gunning for this kick-ass third-shit job that pays like a billion dollars. He smoked four cigarettes in twenty minutes. We stopped on the way to Ashland because he needed some weed bad. He lives with his mom.

This reminds me, in my first letter to you. I forgot to ask about Seeley Lake. I’ve always wanted to visit Montana. 147,000m(2) of Pure Anglo Autobahn. I bet you could fall off the earth out that way. I once saw My Own Private Idaho. Is it like that?

Anyway, we ended up at my friend’s Friday-night stomping grounds; a low-ceiling’d strip mall joint called The Corner Pub. The Bruins were on and I was told my beard would help me fit in. The air quality is different in New England—like long-cut Skoal, Wintergreen flavor, and a side of 2-1 Jim Beam. Wings to go.

Conversations involved the complexities of lures, baits and Asian carp. What else is there to talk about really? My jeans were too clean to pass for Real Deal, but they liked my joke about the California wildfires. I drank a Grateful Dead (Long Island Iced Tea with Jim Jones’ Kool Aid) and chased that with a Coke heavy on the Jack, which was itself heavy on the water. The microwaved French fries were congealing in my stomach, so I walked across the street to the 7-11 where I snorted a line of Ibuprofen and browsed the bin of free shot-glasses. I snagged a pair that said “Old Geezer Pleaser.” There was a sun-bleached mosquito at the bottom of the “Daddy Drinks Because You Cry” glass.

Grieved as he was by the Bruin’s eventual unsurprising loss, I paid for my friend’s dinner while he paid for my drinks. I did the math and he came out ahead.

Remind me to tell you about Newport in my next letter. Meanwhile, please enjoy the bag of Carmellos I’ve included in this mailing. It’s the least I can do.

– bvl

By Ben van Loon

Writer, Researcher, Chicagoan

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