[Letter Talk] Mail Bag #30

In this week’s mail bag, we have a letter to my dad, a postcard asking In this mail bag, we have a letter to a mysterious neighbor, a delicious looking postcard, and I ask a medical association for help with a unique problem.

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.


Hi Mary,

It’s nice to meet you, and thanks for sending in a letter request! I hope you’re having a great week so far. I gotta say, your request was one of my favorites — there was literally nothing written on it. I appreciate your gusto! It’s a blank slate! Really the only thing I know about you is that you live in Baltimore and a girl (I have made the assumption you’re a lady — if I’m wrong I apologize), and, girl, I also live in Baltimore. How do you like it? I love it a lot, and I know that whenever I leave, I will miss it dearly.

I moved to the east coast from Nevada in 2014, and of the cities I’ve been to, Baltimore is the first where I felt like I actually fit in. I lived near an affluent neighborhood in DC for a few years, and I felt like rich white people were always grossed out by me and telling me what to do. I resent any place where you get stares for walking around bleary eyed in your pajamas, wandering to 7-eleven for a donut or picking up your dog’s shit. In Baltimore, I feel more at home, because I may be in my pajamas, but nobody gives a shit, except for my dog, and then I have to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up.

I’ve already adapted to the Baltimore way of living: I drink Natty Boh beer, I put Old Bay on everything, and I have a weird crush on Mr. Trash Wheel. I’m sure there will be people listening who might not know what or who Mr. Trash Wheel is. He’s basically a barge that runs on wave and solar power, and he picks up trash in the harbor and river. The twist is that he has big ol’ googly eyes and his mouth is gigantic and it looks like he’s eating the trash. I sent my sister a picture and she said he looked terrifying. In Mr. Wheel’s defense, I’d look like shit too if I floated in the Inner Harbor and ate garbage all day. 

I like how weird the city is, too. There are a ton of wonderfully strange souls here. Once I was at a bar and there was some guy who looked like if the UnderTaker from pro wrestling decided to become a magician. It was at a bar lovingly named “Bar,” which is a great name for accuracy, but a vague name for internet searches. It’s got a lot of integrity though and I appreciate that. Growing up I had some friends who had a dog named “Dog.” They couldn’t decide on a name and they were calling him Dog anyway, so there he was. Dog. The name that fit. It worked because it totally looked a like a dog. I guess it was just Occam’s Razor, my dude. The simplest solution tends to be the right one. 

Of the time I’ve spent here, I’ve had wonderful welcoming experiences from so many people. I grew up in a town where saying, “Hey, I like your shoes” to someone in a bar could yield you a new friend, and I’ve had that feeling around here. Hell, recently I started bumping into a friendly face at different places. We met after we had a good chat because I thought it was funny that he chose to karaoke to a song that’s instrumental for the first 3 minutes. I just wanted to compliment an excellent goof. Baltimore is a beautiful, unpretentious, fascinating city, and I’m happy to be here. 

I’m also happy to be writing to you, Mary! I hope things are going well, and even though I know nothing about you, I’m going to assume you’re a friendly face around here. 

Your mighty mighty neighbor,


My dog AJ loves ska music. Is it ever going to come back? She won’t stop whining. 🙁

Dear American Veterinary Medical Association,

I’m writing to you with a unique issue I have been facing with my dog. You see, over the course of having her, I’ve noticed more and more that she seems to be really into ska music. Of course I don’t have a problem with that in itself. I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit to skankin’ at a concert to the sounds of a brass-welding flash mob. I’m also a fan of the most famous ska song of them all: “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin. THINK ABOUT IT, it’s true.

Because of my dog AJ’s interest, she decided recently to take up the trombone. I’m still working out a practice schedule with my neighbors so she won’t disrupt them. I’m definitely doing that out of the goodness of my own heart … and also to make up for the fact that I heard a neighbor practicing opera while I was watching Netflix, so I just kept screaming “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” until they stopped. I guess I’m also making up for the time they heard me shouting at a bug like it was a dog. It was crawling on my ceiling and I was trying to shoo it toward the apartment hallway with a swiffer sweeper and it turned around and walked inside my apartment more. I screamed, “NO! NO! YOU GET BACK. GET OUT OF HERE,” like it would actually listen and I would finally get to scream “AND STAY OUT!!” into the hallway and slam the door.

Anyway, my main question is this: should I worry about her instrument choice? She’s a small dog, 15 pounds, 20 pounds when she puts on the special ska outfit she made. I was wondering if you had any vets that specialized in ska related animal issues in case I need to refer to them moving forward. I have been unsure of which local vets could help me with my questions. I guess my biggest concern is that a trombone might just be too large for her. I worry it might be too big for her to pick it up, pick it up, pick it up. I think I might prefer that she learn the trumpet instead… or in an ideal world, I would have her play the tambourine….or really the air guitar.

I’ve asked local ska bands during some of AJ’s auditions, but none of them have had experience with dog musicians so they had no insight. They’ve all been very supportive of her efforts, but it looks like she’s just not quite good enough to join a band yet. I’m hoping the special ska vet would have some tips to help her become better. This is her dream! And since I love her, it’s my dream, too.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated, and we’d trumpet your praises to everyone.


Alyssa & AJ