[Letter Talk] Mail Bag #23

Hiya folks. In this mail bag we have an apology letter to my hometown, a postcard about weed, and a follow up with an old pen pal.

Letter Talk is a short (~10 minutes) comedy podcast where a I write letters to anyone about anything, and I’d be honored to write one to you.


Dear City of Sparks, Nevada,

I wanted to start off by thanking you for all the wonderful years I had growing up there. Sometimes I take for granted how nice of an upbringing I had and I miss you dearly. 

I’m writing to you to apologize for a series of incidents that occurred between the year 2000 and 2010. First incident to apologize for – when I was in middle school, I begged my parents to get me a drum set and they did. I will cc my sister on this so she will also get the apology letter. Even though by all accounts as a 12-year-old drummer I was pretty good, that still doesn’t change the fact that drums are loud as shit, and part of doing any art well always includes many, many hours of doing art poorly. So in order for me to get good, I had to be bad at playing the drums for quite a while. 

The second incident is my first band in middle school. Now instead of making the sleepy town of Sparks a little louder with crap drumming, I made it louder with a band consisting of my friends Marvin and Zack, both on guitars. We played a long terrible song that lasted for about 15 minutes. It was the “Alice’s Restaurant” of shit songs. It was like we tried to put every song we ever wrote into one big song instead of just making them separate songs. Honestly, writing this is basically not cool to “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie, because that at least has one unified thought, and not a cornucopia of distressing chord progressions. 

The third incident I need to apologize for was the next band Marvin and I started. We moved from being a three piece with one song inside my room to a four piece outfit with many songs who practiced in my parent’s garage every Saturday. The noise level got way worse for the neighborhood due to the lack of insolation or soundproofing in the garage. At that time it was at least tolerable; by then we had all learned how to play our instruments decently well.

The final incident I have to apologize for is when we added that singer to our band. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember where we found him. He might have been some 14-year-old druid, walking the streets and casting spells on people. Who knows? Anyway, this is the final and most offensive thing I want to apologize for because we had a screamo band, and boy did this mystical vagrant scream. He screamed so hard the neighbors called the cops for a noise disturbance in the middle of the day. I’ve literally never heard of anyone calling the cops for noise in the middle of the day in Sparks, Nevada. They probably didn’t realize that screaming was acceptable in music now, and they figured that someone was getting murdered in my parents’ garage. The only thing that was getting murdered though, were those sick riffs, my dude. 

I hope you’ll accept my apology for these incidents, and you can trust that I will likely never have a screamo band based in Sparks, Nevada ever again. I do realize these are huge debts I owe the city, but I also know I can’t go to any festivities in Downtown Sparks without it being a full fledged high school reunion, so maybe we should call this even? I’m sure you feel my pain knowing that I can’t enjoy funnel cake during the Rib Cookoff or Hot August Nights festivals without trying to hide from people who were on my school’s leadership team. I’ll sadly have to get funnel cake elsewhere, a tragedy I have lived with for more than a decade now. 

Thanks for your time and keep Sparking!



Hi John Boozman. I read that you’re against weed legalization. Is it because your name is Boozman, and you don’t want to have to change your last name to Weedman? Because I forgive you if that’s why.

Dear Amanda or Current Resident,

First of all I feel terrible that I didn’t keep up with you. In 1996 we decided to become pen pals because we were both involved in the same chain letter. I don’t quite remember exactly what it said, but it seems like we’re not cursed, so I think we did the chain letter correctly. I did play in a screamo band with a shouting druid who might have fucked up the chain though. I hope this letter finds you well. Although, it only would if you’ve been at the same address for the last 22 years. By then you’ve probably built three more stories onto the house for all the other family members who now live there. If that sounds odd, it’s because I’ve learned everything I know about home ownership from the Sims games. 

In the last letter you told me you were 11 years old, so that means you’re probably 33 now. Oh how time flies! I still can’t believe that at 11 you were totally okay with writing a letter to an 8 year old. That’s very kind. When I was 11, I thought 8 year olds were “fraidy cats” (which is hilarious, because I’m one of the most fraidy cat people in the whole world). When I was around that age, my sister and I went over to a friend’s house to watch pro wrestling. Our friend’s 8-year-old little sister was in tears because she didn’t know that wrestling was scripted, and we happened to be watching referee Earl Hebner getting the living shit kicked out of him. I made fun of her for being a “fraidy cat,” but now I’m a big baby because I see them as people and I’m  worried about their safety. Oh how the tables have turned.

Last time we talked you wrote “My favorite animal is a dolphin.” I never followed up on that. Is there one dolphin in particular? Or dolphins in general? I like dolphins, too. When my mom was in town I took her to National Aquarium, because I always wanted to go, but didn’t want to be that weird friend who suggests the aquarium for a hangout spot. We got to see the dolphins play and it was awesome. My mom said I spent too much money on aquarium tickets, and I told her that I bought the tickets when they were half price and normally they’re 40 bucks. I think the price of seeing dolphins has probably just been affected by inflation in the last 22 years.

You also said that you love to write to people, but sometimes it takes time. Boy howdy it takes a lot of time. Trust me, I started an entire project where all I do is write letters to people, and every time I work on it, I think “goddamnit, this takes time.” Isn’t it funny how even the things you love to do are tedious somehow? Sometimes I feel like the inside of our brains can figure out how to make anything not fun if you’re not careful. There are times I’ll be hanging out with my friends or family, the people I love most in the world, and I’ll look down at my phone because there was some dead space in the conversation. It’s weird to be in an optimal situation and think, “Huh, well what else is going on?” It’s the human condition. Or maybe it’s the human conditioned by changes in technology. Wow, now that’s a bong you hang your hat on. Also, your hat is a trucker hat that says “Make America Baked Again.”

Even at this moment my dog is asking to go outside. I love walking my dog, but for some reason when she asks to go outside, my reaction is always, “ugh, this again?”

We all just want to be free wheeling part pants types who do whatever they want whenever they want, but if you truly resolve to be like that you end up just marathoning TV for an entire weekend. It really makes you think, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I hope this letter finds you well. Please don’t hesitate to write me back. I clearly believe it’s never too late, considering it’s been 22 years since I’ve gotten back to you.