In today’s episode you’ll hear a heartfelt apology, a letter about self discovery, and a note to an old friend.
If you’d like me to write you a letter, click on “Request A Letter.” But fair warning: I will stalk your social media, and I will read the letter on the podcast. If you write back to me, I might read that on the podcast, too.
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- Letter Talk is written and produced by me, and my sister Amy edits my writing. This episode features music from Kevin MacLeod.
To whom it may concern:
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
“It’s not too much fun to know yourself too well or think you do – everyone needs a little conceit to carry them through and past the falls.” Marilyn Monroe
“The one self-knowledge worth having is to know one’s own mind.” F. H. Bradley
“The deadliest foe to virtue would be complete self-knowledge.” F. H. Bradley, What the fuck F. H. Bradley? He sounds like he’s in more of a crisis than any of the rest of us.
“Parkour is really a practice of getting to know yourself, what you’re able to do, what are your limits. As you train, you start knowing what you can do.” – David Belle
Well, how the hell am I supposed to create something that I don’t necessarily know? Should I be coming to terms with the person I am or deciding to create something better? If it’s a mix of both, how much in either side of the spectrum? Also, society asks that you “be yourself?” How do you do that?
Where do you start? I guess you can go from the things you like about yourself and then go through the things you don’t like about yourself. Or, you can do it the opposite way, so you can start by crying about the fact that you’ve never sent the Christmas cards you wanted to and that you cried to get out of jury duty, and then end with feeling ok about yourself because the thing you like the most about yourself is that your skin is reasonably taut over your calf muscles.
I’m not necessarily on the side of either idea in general, but I want to know what you think, because I feel like you know who you are, but you’re not afraid to try to reinvent yourself. On the surface, Domino’s is all about making pizza. Every since you began in 1960, you’ve been dedicated to making pizzas, to an extent you’ve always known who you are. However, this has never stopped you from trying to find yourself in the world of pasta and fries, and sandwiches for some reason. Recently I’ve seen you’ve even branched out to salad, which is insane, because I thought it was illegal for a pizza parlour to sell salad in addition to america’s favorite cheese covered carbo load.
I know that we can all learn a lot about ourselves from your example, so any guidance you have on this topic would be wonderful. Thanks for your time.
Stay chill, bro.
Dear American Hi-Fi,
You’re the band I’ve known for such hits as “Flavor of the Weak” and “The Art of Losing.” You were one of my favorite bands growing up. I listened to your self-titled album all the time. Additionally, I thought it was kind of neat that your lead singer looked like he could be the little brother of Chris Jericho, my favorite professional wrestler. I’ve enclosed a picture of early 2000s era Chris Jericho for reference.
One of the first concerts I ever went to was an American Hi-Fi concert. The first one was tragically a Three Doors Down concert, at the Donald Trump inauguration. Also, I have a time machine! Just kidding, I went to the Three Doors Down concert because Tantric and Lifehouse were playing there, too. I thought Tantric was neat, because their guitar player looked like a the little brother of Chris Jericho, except with dreadlocks. I’ve enclosed a picture of early 2000s era Chris Jericho next to the guitar player from Tantric for reference.
I remember being really excited about seeing Lifehouse, too. I got all the way up to the front, and between songs, I yelled, “TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF!” at the lead singer of Lifehouse. He didn’t look like early 2000s era Chris Jericho, but that was a rude thing to yell and I feel bad about it to this day. Granted I was only 12, and didn’t know better, but also I was raised better than that; he’s a human and not a piece of meat. (I will enclose copies of this letter in my apology letter to the lead singer of Lifehouse).
But I digress. I remember seeing you at the Reno Hilton (it’s now referred to the as the “Grand Sierra Resort”), opening for Everclear in the Grand Theater…the one Reno people keep wanting to put entire planes on for some reason. One of my friends from high school had her graduation there and they stood on the wing of the plane. None of them were graduating from an airline pilot high school, so I thought it was fuckin’ bullshit.
I bought a shirt that was probably way too risque for a 12-year-old to wear at that concert. It was black, with “American Hi-Fi” written in little sparkly stones on the front. On the side the shirt was cut and string wove the sides of the shirt back together. I wore it with fishnet sleeves with thumb holes (my favorite at the time!), and gigantic JNCO-esque pants.
I wore that shirt until I grew out of it, but I had one last hurrah with it a few years later in high school. American Hi-Fi was playing a show at the New Oasis in Sparks, Nevada (which is now called Millennium Nightclub, which is odd because it was named that about 15 years after the millennium started). It was a headlining show in a nightclub that holds about a thousand people. I showed up wearing my inappropriate American Hi-Fi shirt, because I’m that guy. Anyway, I had a great time at the concert.
I stood in line for a while to meet you guys after the show, and when I finally got up to the front to talk to you I froze up, got awkward and said, “I saw you guys back when you were cool!” There was an awkward pause, and I said, “You’re still cool…eh, you know what I mean.” And what I’m hoping to say is that I hope it didn’t hurt your feelings, and if it makes you feel better I went to the show at the Reno Hilton only to see you guys, not Everclear… but now that I think of it, it probably doesn’t make you feel better because I read on Wikipedia that your lead singer now plays drums for Everclear, and now I’m afraid I accidentally disrespected you again.
I hope you accept my most humble apology for my actions as a dumb teenager, and if I offended you any as a dumb adult. I still think you’re cool, and I still have a few stickers of your “Hearts on Parade” album my old drum kit’s bass drum head that I keep on my wall to prove to all my friends who come over that I’m “punk rock.”
I hope all is well, and I’ll make sure to come see you if you’re ever playing in DC or Baltimore. Since I don’t have a shirt of yours anymore I’ll probably wear my t-shirt of early 2000s era Chris Jericho. I’ve enclosed a picture for reference.
Stay Chill Bros.
Long time no talk. I feel bad that the last time we hung out, it was just for a quick lunch. Also, thanks for supporting me that one time I came to LA for a comedy contest that was most likely a pyramid scheme. I guess I’m glad I learned about those from comedy instead of from Mary Kay or Amway. Remember when I lost to a girl who pulled her pants down? I don’t remember the context of why she did it, only that it was a punctuation mark for one of her jokes. I learned a lot about comedy that day.
Anyway, I’m not sure if I ever said this, but thank you for being my closest friend when I lived in LA. I wasn’t there for that long, so I’m really glad that we kept in touch. I still tell stories from us hanging out to people, and I think about them pretty often.
There was the time we went to the Office where they filmed the Office, which I found really exciting. It’s so great how much meaning you can put into a ratty building in the middle of the San Fernando valley. I also think about that time we found you that really nice office chair on the street in Silverlake, and we threw it in the back of my truck on the way home from the bar.
Or one drunken night during a party, when I agreed to buy everyone pizza as long as I didn’t have to talk to anyone on the phone because I was too shit-faced. You stepped up and ordered the pizza, because you’re a solid bro.
I still tell everyone about that bar we used to hang out at in Silverlake. It was basically the garage of somebody’s house, and they tried to make it look like a law firm with old leather chairs and books all over the walls. Or shit, maybe it was an old law firm and they turned it into a bar? Or maybe it was a bar they turned into a law firm, and we were drinking in a law firm? I don’t know. They only sold drinks out of the bottle, and their main selling point was Rock Band karaoke. The stage was basically three planks of wood about five feet off the ground. We could have fallen to our deaths up there, and then sued someone for it, because I think it might have been a law firm. The song was always “Spaceman” by the Killers and we’d bicker over who got to sing. I think our friend Jim picked the guitar every time, and ignored our squabbling.
That shit happened around eight years ago, which is probably not very shocking anymore, because I mentioned that we were singing “Spaceman,” and that song is old now. I think it’s really magical that you can have a friend that you saw all the time for a few months, move away and keep in touch for that long. Thanks for that, man. It’s a really cool feeling.
Daniel, you’re a really cool fuckin’ dude, and I’m pumped that you’ve found happiness. I haven’t gotten to know your lady very well, but she seems really great. What I do know is that she sat through an entire pyramid scheme comedy contest in a bar that looked like it should have been a lingerie shop, and that is a lot to ask of any person. Point being, it’s cool to see great people find each other. Tiffany is a very lucky lady, and you’re a really lucky dude.
Stay chill, bros.