Dear Charles – The Origination Myth

May 3

charles wrote…

Rechelle, what have you been up to lo these many years? I’ve combed your Facebook profile (albeit not with a very fine toothed comb) for clues to the latest chapters in the Rechelle Bishop Malin story and am gradually making brilliant deductions that are filling in parts of the big blank and leaving smaller blanks in its wake. I see that you’re a fan of Deer Creek Veterinary Hospital, which is located in Kansas. In my experience, people are rarely fans of veterinary hospitals that they don’t live close to (although I admit I was a fan of Rolf’s Veterinary Hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, for a while), so from that I deduce that you live in or close to Kansas, and may even be involved in Deer Creek Veterinary Hospital on some level. Correct? It seems like the last I heard, you were in Salina or Hays or one of those other towns in Kansas with a one- to three-syllable name? Did you ever live in a place fitting that description, or is my memory failing me? How many kids do you have? Do you live in the sort of house you used to sing about?



May 4

rechelle replied…

Dear Charles,

Did I seriously used to write songs about houses?

Enough about me – what I want to know is what the hell happened between you and Rolf’s Veterinary Hospital in Dusseldorf Germany. Why did the friendship end? Please fill in the blanks and I will tell you how many times my uterus has been torn asunder by my offspring.



May 4

charles wrote…

Well, I don’t know how serious you were about it, but you used to write (and play and sing) songs about houses morning, noon, and night, thereby leaving your afternoons free for house hunting. One of my favorite songs of yours from that era was called something like “Used To Be My House” (“Good kitchen/That house got a plenty good kitchen/Ask me how I know/And I’ll tell you so/It used to be my house”); I can still hear the haunting ending (“As a matter of fact/I’d buy it back/Right away/Today” repeated interminably) and the way you used to make the words drip with remorse. I still sometimes fog up about it when the memory crosses my mind unexpectedly, often at the most inopportune times. Anyway, I hope you now live in a house with a plenty good kitchen. But enough about you; let’s now turn our attention to Rolf’s Veterinary Hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany, a mom-and-pop operation run by Rolf and his wife Inge. I became a fan when I chanced to read an article in Vogue about the exemplary work they were doing not only in Düsseldorf, but also in a suburb of Düsseldorf in which the east edge of their property was located owing to a surveying error. I admired their principles, which were summed up in their stirring slogan, “We’re here to administer medical care to animals,” and immediately became a member of Friends of Rolf’s, following the day-to-day activities at the hospital on the Internet and through materials that were sent to me through the mail. I felt a twinge of unease when I began to sense that the emphasis was almost imperceptibly shifting away from the administration of medical care and more toward grooming, with Rolf’s discovery that he had a particular talent for poodle clipping. As Rolf’s interests continued to drift more toward appearances and the Hospital began to offer purely unnecessary cosmetic surgical procedures and serve the richest, most elite, most hoity-toity portion of the population of Düsseldorf (and that suburb), Inge’s interests were proceeding in what appeared to be an incompatible direction; she was becoming more and more politically active and was soon a fervent communist. She soon wrested control of the Hospital newsletter from Rolf, whereupon the letter ceased to offer anything of any substance, toeing the Party line and painting an implausibly rosy picture of all matters concerning the Hospital and refusing to print anything by writers of dissenting opinions or any letters to the editor. It was about then that I lost touch with the Hospital. A sad tale, I’m sure you’ll agree. And now, let’s have that tally of uterus traumas you promised.


May 4

rechelle replied…

Dammit! I hate it when the vets get all ‘serving the rich dogs’ only! Nothing makes me more irate! And you forgot to tell me about Inge’s kitchen!

My uterus has been ripped open four times. FOUR TIMES CHARLES! Each time the exact same baby was brought forth. Or at least it always looked the same – right down to his genitals which we always opted not to mutilate causing one of my son’s to scream for an hour one evening when he realized that his un-mutilated genitals were never going to look like the other boys in the locker room, “I’m a Freak!” “I’m a Freak!” “I’m a Freak!” “I’m a Freak!” “I’m a Freak!” etc, etc.

He will laugh about this someday won’t he?

Now back to you and how you ended up in DC.



May 5

charles wrote…

I never did get a look at Inge’s kitchen, but given the uniformly fine quality of the facilities at the Hospital, I would be surprised if it was anything less than plenty good.

And tell your son not to worry; he’ll find the fact of his un-mutilated genitalia quite amusing later in life, especially if he decides to convert to Judaism.

How I ended up in DC, eh? Okay. In 2003, I was living in Lawrence with a woman who was going to move to DC because she got a job at the Library of Congress. Not to be outdone, I got a job at a prestigious American microbiology society that is also located in DC and tagged along, and then we split up a few months after we made the big move, so now here I am in DC with my job at a prestigious American microbiology society, which is a different job than the job I had when I first started there.

Okay, now I get one. We’ve established that you have four sons. I know the name of the first is Calder, and now I know that the name of the third is Drew; what I’d now like to know is the names of the second and fourth and the ages of all four, if that’s not too tall an order.


May 5

rechelle replied…

The second is named Charles and the fourth is also named Charles. After you, of course, we never forgot about our Charles.

Not really!

The second is named Ethan because damn that is a pretty name!  And so Hebrew! Making the whole genitalia thing even more disturbing.

My last son is named Jack, because if you have four sons, shouldn’t one of them be named Jack?

Ages – 15 (holy shit!) 13 (what the…?!?) 12 and 8. My baby is eight. My baby is eight. MY BABY IS EIGHT! What is going on?

Now – I want to know if you watch the TV show ‘Bones’ because the people on that show (which I just recently started watching and have grown completely obsessed with) are my only friends except for you Charles.

Oh! And since I really doubt that you watch ‘Bones’ because I just don’t think you do – tell me if you ever solve murder mysteries at your Prestigious Society for American Microbiologists job. I hope you do. Because a job that doesn’t involve solving murder mysteries and yet has a ‘lab’ and is in ‘D.C.’ and has the word ‘American’ in the title – is just wrong.


May 6

charles wrote…

Well, those are some fine names, even if you really did forget about me. (If I had had a child in the last 14 years, I can assure you that his or her name would have been Rechelle.) I almost had a brother named Jack, but my parents decided to give up after having three sons.

Those aren’t bad ages, either, although I sense that you feel your baby is getting a little long in the tooth. Time to invite an identical baby to come crashing through your uterus one more time?

You guessed correctly that I’ve never watched “Bones.” Should I? When is it on? What network? Is it funny? Dramatic? Suspenseful? Disturbing in a delightful way? Delightful in a disturbing way? Darkly comic? Brightly tragic?

As your only non-“Bones”-character friend, I feel a little responsible for your psychological well-being, so I almost hate to dash your hopes and tell you that my job doesn’t involve solving murder mysteries. But before you start to feel too disappointed, I should let you know that the job does not meet your criteria for wrongness in the absence of a mystery-solving component, since it does not have a “lab.” I don’t know who you were quoting or exactly what you meant by “lab,” but the prestigious American microbiology society at which I work has neither a laboratory nor a Labrador retriever. It’s a society for microbiologists. An American one. Some of these microbiologists have laboratories and/or Labrador retrievers, and some may even solve murder mysteries. I believe I might have seen one of them just the other day bounding through the woods with his dog, whose nostrils were saturated with the scent of a murder suspect, who turned out to be too crafty for the microbiologist and included a stretch of a stream as part of the escape route, knowing that dogs will lose the scent when they come to water. Curses! Well, it was a good chase while it lasted. Or maybe it was just some guy briskly walking his dog in the woods. Actually, I guess microbiologists do solve murder mysteries in a way, but the murderers are microorganisms, so there’s not much of a chance for an exchange of witty dialogue between the good guy and the bad guy. I regret to inform you, though, that I don’t even solve murders on this level, as I’m not a scientist but am concerned only with publishing the exploits of these intrepid souls. If a murder ever occurs in my department at the society, though, I’ll attempt to solve it, if I’m not the one who’s murdered. And even then, I’ll try to give the detective on the case some clues from beyond the grave.

Well, I hope I didn’t use up my question for this time with all those questions I asked about “Bones.” If I didn’t, could you tell me what town you live in and how long you’ve lived there?


May 6

rechelle replied…

Dear Charles – do you mind if I call you Dear Charles? I really feel like we had something going until I found out that you don’t solve murder mysteries. All my friends solve murder mysteries and if you don’t, I don’t know how to relate to you. I am sorry if that seems harsh. I don’t mean to come across as narrow or rigid, it’s just that I have standards. If you want to continue to be my friend (on Facebook or otherwise) you will have to either solve a murder or commit one.


P.S.  I still live in small town Kansas.  I have lived here for a freakin’ eternity.  I would rather live anyplace else on the face of the freakin’ earth.  I use the word ‘freakin’ to display my proper Midwestern, up-bringing.  I work at a freakin’ garden center.  We solve plenty of murder mysteries at the garden center and sometimes we commit them. I like my job… even if we don’t have a ‘lab’.


May 7

charles wrote…

Rechelle, you may call me anything you wish, up to and including “late for dinner,” although “Dear Charles” seems a little incongruous with your announcement that you will forsake my friendship if I don’t start solving murders or committing them. I admit, it looks bad, me, living in a city where murders are committed frequently, with not one successful murder or solution to a murder to my credit, while you’re living in a quiet Kansas town where murder is a rarity and yet are solving and committing murder after murder, apparently as part of your duties at the garden center, but in my defense, the police effectively have a lockdown on murder-solving activity here, and, of course, I have competition from other amateur sleuths as well. Try as I might, I just can’t get the police to hand over the essential information they’ve collected, and I can’t collect any myself because they don’t let me near the crime scene, so they definitely have an advantage over me. In contrast, apparently the people in your town call the garden center whenever there’s a murder and garden center employees seem to be allowed to collect evidence and interview suspects and people connected with the case to their heart’s content. So, you have a strong advantage over me in this area, too. I’ll comb the papers for a murder to solve this weekend, unless there’s a good movie playing somewhere, but I can’t promise I’ll be able to overcome these unbelievable odds, so I hope you have a change of heart.

I was able to put a couple of clues together to determine the nature of “Bones,” though. Since the characters on the show comprise your entire circle of friends (apart from me, who is in danger of being kicked out of the circle), and since you say all your friends solve murder mysteries, I have deduced that “Bones” is a show about people who solve murder mysteries. You will, I hope, admit that that’s a pretty flashy piece of clue-putting-together-to-determine-something.

My question to you tonight is this: Why don’t you move? You don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about the town in which you live. What’s keeping you all from just hauling off and leaving for the greener pastures of, say, Salina or Hays?


May 8

rechelle replied…

Dear Charles,

I am in the witness protection plan. They moved me here so that I would eventually commit suicide and then they could stop worrying about protecting me. But I am on to them dear Charles. I have figured it out!  And since I now know that I was hidden here only to kill myself, I have started telling people (like you dear Charles) where I am. Because if the right people figure out where I am, I won’t have to kill myself anymore. I will be shot dead instead.

So, as much as I want to encourage you to either commit murders or to solve them, so that we can continue to be friends, I would like to point out the consequences.  AND I hope to GOD I am not TOO LATE!

1. Getting involved with murderers and murder-solvers may very well land you in the witness protection program.

2. If you get into the witness protection program – they might send you here.

3. Once here – you will kill yourself.

So think hard before choosing murder over a movie this weekend.

PS – Did you know that I was an atheist? I wonder about your thoughts on this Charles. After all, you do work with microbiologists and have published their exploits which I am sure involves the eternal search for what I like to call ‘the God particle’. Have you written on the ‘God particle’ Charles? Has anyone at that ‘lab’ – sorry but I do think of it as a lab – discovered the God particle? In the show ‘Bones’ that stars all of my closest friends (except for you Charles) they are always talking about ‘particulates’ which tend to coat everything and lead to clues about where the ‘bones’ have been. I can’t help but notice that the words ‘God particle’ and ‘particulates” share the root ‘partic’ which I have come to believe means ‘witness protection program’. So I frequently include it in my missives in order to further betray my whereabouts.

If I die before you get this Charles – please know that it was not by my own hand. They found me. But that is okay. At least I am not in Kansas anymore.


May 8

charles wrote…

Witness protection program, eh, dear Rechelle? Well, now I’m really conflicted about whether or not to pursue murder and/or its solution as a pastime. If I don’t, I run the risk of losing your friendship, and if I do, I run the risk of being sent to your town, where I will entertain thoughts of ending it all or, if these thoughts don’t find me entertaining, end it all. This is a very difficult decision, so I hope you will be good enough to grant my request for a 1-month extension without termination of your friendship while I mull it over. Actually, your town doesn’t really sound that bad (I would get to see you again and do a spot of gardening with some of the fine merchandise for sale at the garden center, and I understand from the official town website that I would have easy access to the Oz Museum, the Columbian Theatre, and beautiful City Park [which, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, features Kansas’s only authentic stone Dutch mill], among other places and things with very high historicity quotients), but what sort of living arrangements do the witness protection people make for you while they wait for you to do yourself in? Do they find (or assign) you a job and get you a house? Or do they just give you a new identity? (Or perhaps they don’t even do that; I notice you’re still Rechelle Malin, which, if memory serves, was exactly who you were before.) Please let me know what sort of services they’re willing to encourage suicide to get out of providing. I hope you’ll give up your attempts to have yourself done in, but if you absolutely refuse to, might I suggest that a better way to go about it would be to simply leave rather than trying to draw potential killers to your town? At any rate, I will have nothing to do with your plan to have yourself shot and will in fact do everything I can to thwart it. If any of the “right people” ask me, I will tell them that you live in Brevig Mission, Alaska. That should keep them busy for a while.

I had no idea you were an atheist. (I know nothing beyond what I knew about you before we lost touch in the 90’s, what you’ve told me so far, and what I can glean from your Facebook page.) I’m kind of surprised to hear it, because it seemed like you were far from an atheist when I last knew you. When did this happen? My thoughts about it are that you’re probably right. I’ve been an agnostic for most of my life, but I’ve been leaning in a more atheistic direction in recent years. I looked up the God particle on Wikipedia and am not sure I grasp the concept completely (or, to put it in a more accurate way, I’m sure I don’t grasp the concept completely), but it sounds like a physics problem, so it wouldn’t be covered in the field of microbiology, which is the study of living things (very, very small living things). I should also let you know that I don’t write about the exploits of microbiologists but rather am involved in the publication process for materials they’ve written about their own exploits. Anyway, can you simplify the God particle concept for me, or must I read the Wikipedia entry more carefully? Don’t forget that the word “particular” also contains the root “partic.” I’m not sure there’s any significance to that, but I thought my use of it in my letter might draw the attention of the “right people” away from your whereabouts while they waste their time on me for a while.

Hoping you are not dead and will not be anytime soon,

Dear Charles


May 9

rechelle replied…

Dear, Dear Charles,

Please note – I am not trying to be overly affectionate by addressing this letter to ‘Dear Dear Charles” it is merely in response to you signing your own letters ‘Dear Charles’ forcing me to appear a bit heavy handed on the warmth of the salutation. In truth, I only use one ‘dear’ to denote the proper greeting and the second ‘dear’ as a part of your seemingly preferred name. If for some strange reason you were to sign your next letter ( and I do hope there will be a next letter and I am becoming something of a crack addict to them) ‘Dear Dear Charles’ – then the subsequent letter from me would have to be addressed ‘Dear, Dear, Dear Charles’. I hope you understand what I am trying to explain here. It is a bit complicated and in fact, makes an explanation of the ‘God particle’ astoundingly simple. Let me break it down for you. The God particle is a particle of God.

The end.

You can move on with your life now.

I did want to get back to my uterus if you don’t mind. At one point you seemed to be inordinately fascinated with the comings and goings or should I say the entrances and exits or maybe it is better to say the breaking open and the scissoring back up of my uterus. Looking back at that point in our relationship, I am somewhat appalled. I don’t exactly know how we got on to the topic of my uterus – as even though I am an atheist – I do have my standards and I don’t think it is appropriate for you and I to be speaking of my uterus on such colloquial terms. And no – I have no idea what ‘colloquial’ means – I am just using it here because it makes me sound much smarter than I actually am, the same way that I like to occasionally throw the phrase ‘God particle’ into various conversations. It is not because I have any knowledge – it is just because it makes me SOUND like I have knowledge. Surely, living in D.C., surrounded by microbiologists, you understand. But again, to sum things up, the ‘U’ in uterus does not refer to ‘you’ dear Charles. As dear as you are to me and even as ‘dear dear’ – you need to remove yourself from my uterus and never speak of it again. My uterus really needs to remain completely vacant and even people who are willing to draw fire on my behalf by frequently using words that have the root ‘partic’ in them are not welcome ‘all up in there’.

Also, I am a little perturbed at what seems to me to be a casual reference to your doubting of my participation in the witness protection program. First off – I want to say that when I said ‘witness protection plan’ and you did not correct me, I was deeply disappointed. I fully expected that you would mention my error or at the very least make a sly and subtle sideways comment about my participating in the ‘plan’ rather than the ‘program’. At that point, I would be able to both correct you and make you feel small and stupid by informing you that the witness protection ‘plan’ is a subdivision of the witness protection ‘program’ for people who are basically born into it due to the timing of their births coinciding with the biblical return of ‘You Know Who’. That’s right Charles, I might actually be ‘the second coming of Christ’. You might actually be receiving a ‘Facebook message’ from the God particle herself. So even if I tried to kill myself, it wouldn’t work. Which further explains why ‘they’ felt comfortable placing me in suicide-ville, Kansas. I might be God. The fact that I might be God – has no bearing on my atheism. The fact that I choose not to believe in myself is far from an unusual condition. People frequently don’t believe in themselves. Why should God be any different?

I do have a question for you dear Charles. What is that thing on your head? And what would Susie think if she knew that you were a ‘leaning towards atheism agnostic?’ Would she continue to friend you on Facebook? And where is the ‘library of congress’ girl that you had to ‘out do’ now? Does she ever commit or solve murders at the Library of Congress? Is that why you broke up?

Yours Truly (except for my uterus),



May 11

charles wrote…

Dear Rechelle –

Thank you for your explanation of the problems caused by my recent attempt to come up with a “stage name” that I could use if I suddenly and inexplicably (or gradually and explicably) became famous. I believe I understand the problem even better than I understand the God particle, if such a state of affairs is possible (and it is), so I will go back to the drawing board and never again consider using the name “Dear Charles” to set myself even further apart from the little people if I should wake up famous someday, as I now realize that a substantial number of my fan letters would begin with an unsightly repetition of the word “Dear” (or one too many repetitions, anyway, if my correspondents actually were overly affectionate).

I’m a bit surprised that you wanted to revisit your uterus with me to make the point that the two of us must never revisit your uterus (if you’ll forgive the colloquiality), since it hadn’t been mentioned recently in our correspondence. Naturally, I’m a little bit sad to bid adieu to any part of our relationship, but if I do have to give up a part of it, and if that part is your uterus, so be it. Just let me get it out of my system. Your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus, your uterus. There. I think that’s done the trick. I hereby resolve never to mention your u-know-what again unless you mention it first.

Sorry I failed to play into your hands by mentioning the “plan”/“program” discrepancy. You should give me a little more guidance about what seeming errors you want me to bring to your attention in the future. Your explanation of your witness protection situation answers some questions but raises others. What entity is behind the witness protection plan? Since it’s a subdivision of the witness protection program, I assume it’s run by the same people. Wouldn’t that be the federal government? How is it in their interest to send you to suicide-ville without changing your identity? What are they protecting you from? Are there lots of other possible Christs in town, or are they being spread around the country? Anyway, I must say that the revelation that you might be God has got me leaning away from atheism and put me firmly back into the agnostic camp.

What is that “thing” on my head? Oh, nothing much. Just a top-of-the-line deluxe Smutley’s lampshade from the Royale line, one of only 37 minted for the Tiara Tier of Smutley’s Signature Collection of Fine Shades. Smutley’s is only the Most Trusted Name in Light Diffusion, that’s all.

I think Susie has a general idea of my spiritual orientation, although I don’t believe we’ve ever discussed it directly. Her list of Facebook friends includes people of every spiritual stripe. Well, actually, there may be one or two stripes missing, but I don’t believe she’s ever unfriended or declined to friend anybody because of their religion or lack thereof, except maybe people who are exceedingly loud-mouthed in their Facebook offerings about bigoted aspects of their religions.

The “Library of Congress” girl now resides contentedly in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and works in public radio. She’s never committed a murder or solved one, and that’s one of the things we had in common.

Now I have a couple of questions for you.

1. What led you to become an atheist?

2. On your Facebook page, a comment from someone named Lucy indicates that you have a blog. How do I access it?

Truly Yours (except that I don’t belong to a certain part of you that shall remain nameless unless you mention it first),

Precious Treasured Charles


May 29

charles wrote…

Well, dear Rechelle, you’ll be impressed to know that I located your blog by using nothing but my wits and Google. Actually, I didn’t even need my wits; Google offered me the suggestion “Rechelle Malin blog” before I had even finished typing in “Malin” and then took me right where I wanted to go.

However, although I found your blog ridiculously easy to find, I found it fairly difficult to navigate. Although my main motivation for seeking out the blog was to satisfy my morbid curiosity about your conversion to atheism, I also had a more general curiosity about you that did not rise to the level of morbidity but nevertheless demanded satisfaction, so my plan was to begin at the beginning (even though a quick scan of the site revealed that the main fuckus of my interest, your conversion, had happened fairly recently) to give myself a running start and to get a sense of the evolution of your thinking in the time leading up to the big event. Although I saw an “archive,” with each month listed, on the right-hand side of the page, I noticed that when I clicked on a given month, all the entries for that month included only the first two or three sentences and then ended abruptly with “[…].” Having discarded my wits completely at the first sign that Google would be happy to do all my thinking for me, I was at a loss to figure out how to access the complete posts from these truncated versions; however, it did not escape my notice that the vast majority of posts accessed by scrolling to the bottom of each page and clicking “Previous Entries” were complete, so I began each session with your blog by repeatedly scrolling down and clicking “Previous Entries” until I reached the point at which I left off in the previous session. Thus, early on, it took me 10 or 15 minutes to get to the post I wanted to read next, and you can imagine my sense of progress and accomplishment as this prep time decreased with each session. I’m not sure whether or not I want to know if there’s an easier way to access the complete versions of the earlier posts now that I’ve read the entire blog the hard way, but I think I do. Is there?

At any rate, I was delighted to discover that my efforts began to pay off right away, as all my initial questions about your house were answered in the first posts. It’s apparent that your kitchen, as well as the rest of the house, is plenty good. I found the entire project a rewarding experience, as your writing is consistently engaging, thoughtful, and/or entertaining, and several times you crossed a threshold into greatness, particularly with the posts on atheism. It was truly exciting to watch the revelation of your newfound lost faith unfold, with a month’s silence after last Christmas being broken with your enigmatic poem about the disappearance of God having no effect on your enjoyment of the darkness, setting the stage for the enthralling series of announcements and proclamations that followed. I may have found it extra exciting because it was what I had been waiting for, but it’s possible that I would have found it even more so if I had simply been surprised with it. I’m kind of sorry you had comments turned off for those first atheist postings, because I wondered how your readers at the time would have reacted; it seems like by the time you turned the comments back on, you had an almost completely different (larger?) audience who endorsed your new direction. I know that you regularly get praise heaped upon you by your legions of adoring fans, so I won’t browbeat a dead horse (I wouldn’t anyway, actually, since there’s no way you’re going to get a dead horse to spill any useful information or do what you want unless it’s keep lying there).

I do have one suggestion for improving the blog. You’ll be able to bring yourself in spitting distance of perfection if you visit apply its teachings (especially point #4) to your writing. You’ll also save some copy editor a lot of trouble when your first book is being prepared for publication, and that might subsequently make it easier for some screenwriter to write lines for Reese Witherspoon in the movie version.

Anyway, I’ll continue to keep current at your blog, now that I’m all caught up.

I have one question for you at this point: why does Pioneer Woman call her husband “Marlboro Man”? Please don’t make me investigate her blog to find out.

Well, I have an evening of wild gestation planned, so I’ll be off now.

Happy anniversary,


**********************************************************************June 1

rechelle replied…

Dear Precious Treasured Charles,

I was so happy to receive your latest letter as it was filled with the praise of my favorite subject – me. How I love to read letters that sing the praises of myself and of my blog. I must however pause to suggest that you probably know exactly where you can stick that comma-Facebook-instruction page doohickey site of horrors that you sent to me. That’s right!  Straight up into your uterus!

But perhaps I should explain.

My gross, consistent, and erstwhile violation of grammatical correctness is done so purposefully, with great style and as a pheromone infused smoke signal to alert other great minds that also resist the hindrance of ‘the rules of grammar’. That being said, I only wish that you wrote a blog Charles. Not only so that I could rip it apart with Nazi like revenge, but also so I could steal material from it and claim it as my own (with significantly worsened grammar, of course). But then again, perhaps you already have a blog and are only waiting for me to make a Google search and find out for myself! Wait one second while I venture forth and Google ‘Charles Brown blog’.


Unless you are a dynamic copywriter with a vast knowledge of key words that generate Internet traffic, I don’t see anything that looks as if you currently write a blog under the moniker ‘Charles Brown.’ Of course you could use a pseudonym, but how am I ever going to figure out what it is if you don’t start placing obvious yet obfuscated clues in all your letters!? May I suggest writing the clues backwards! Or maybe in pig Latin! Then I will be able to FIND YOUR BLOG! At which point the ripping will begin.

Please realize Charles that the scissoring is only a gesture of devotion. I do long for the day when the sand bags of grammar that have weighted you down all these years will drift away and your unfettered soul can rise to the same heights as mine! It’s beautiful up here Charles! Come breath the clean, crisp air Charles! Let it puncture your polluted lungs with the knife you formerly wielded during frenzied acts of comma splicing!

And please let us not speak of the blogger who we shall not speak of as even the thought of thinking of her fuels me with enough retribution to cancel my subscription to the Internet forever!

Hate, Hatred, fuming hate. HATRED, HATEFUL HATE, HATE on top of even more HATE! HATE with a side of hate and please give me some EXTRA HATE with that!

Actually – there isn’t much hate these days. Oh there used to be! But in my new and highly evolved state of atheist, anti grammarian, I find that hate is a useless emotion and reserve it only for


Okay – I might not be quite as over it as I would like – but it is passing.



She calls her husband Marlboro Man because he died of lung cancer and rose again three days later.

He is the Christ figure in all her tales. She is also the Christ figure. But she has yet to die, because I have yet to kill her… with my poisonous pen!

Now back to you Charles. Tell me where your blog is. If you don’t have one – you should. You should start one today. Except that if you are writing a blog I probably won’t get any more letters from you and I will miss them. I think we both know who the truly talented writer is in these missives –and it ain’t me mister!

If you can’t be bothered with your own blog – please consider writing something on mine. I am happy to provide a sacred (and comma free) space for you. My readers would dissolve in meaty hunks of roasty satisfaction after only a few lines from you dear Charles. They would slide off of their bones into a pool of decaying human gravy and then be featured on an episode of ‘Bones’. You will finally be able to murder someone Charles. I am only too happy to help.

Your only real friend,



June 2

rechelle proposed…

Charles! Charles! CHARLES!!!!!! I just had a brilliant idea!  BRILLIANT! What if I added a ‘Dear Charles’ section to my blog? And what if YOU were ‘DEAR CHARLES’??? People could write in and ask you questions and tell you their secrets and their problems and you could try to HELP THEM! Or you could try to NOT HELP THEM! Or you could just write about whatever you wanted! Wouldn’t that be FUN!  Yes! It would! You need to do this. I am in the midst of a major re-design on my blog and could easily add a new section called -wait for it… wait… wait…   ’DEAR CHARLES’!!!!! C’mon Charles! It would be fun. You are a great writer and more people need to read you. Unless you are already a well-read writer and I just don’t know. Please tell me that you will think about it.


June 2

charles considered…

Hmmm. Dear Charles, eh? Well, I must say it has a nice ring to it, and I also must say I’m truly honored that you think I’m good enough to be on your blog, but I must give the matter some thought before I plunge in, or even dip my toe in, as I’m not sure I’m up to the task.

For one thing, I fear I’m not as fearless as you are. For instance, I had started reading the current posts on your blog while I was at the same time catching up with the older ones, and so I read your first post on outlawing peanut butter the day it was posted, and I was going to post some silly comment about how outlawing peanut butter would create a crime problem by creating a market for illicit peanut butter on playgrounds and so on, but then I read a few of the comments that had already been posted and discovered that the forum had degenerated into a serious discussion of banning peanut butter in schools and that there were a few commenters who were aghast at the insensitivity of other commenters who were making light of the situation, so I decided not to post for fear of further enraging these people. (Of course, you came back the next day with another post making further fun of the situation.) If I’m that timid about posting some ridiculous comment that people would probably just ignore under a pseudonym, I can’t even begin to fathom the stage fright I’d feel at suddenly coming in out of nowhere and claiming my own feature on your blog. Everyone would expect it to be good; and then what if it wasn’t? How do you envision introducing the new feature? Is there a way I could ease into it, and sort of gradually emerge from the shadows?

Another potential problem is that it takes me quite a while to write anything of quality. For instance, it took me 32 minutes to write this sentence. This sentence took only 12 minutes and 28 seconds, but it’s really just filler and doesn’t even approach the brilliance of the preceding sentence.

I’m not saying no, and I’ll think about it plenty more, but these are a few of the initial thoughts I had at the prospect of doing a feature on your blog. I’m very happy that you asked me, though.

And to show my gratitude, dear Rechelle, I’ll save you further investigative work by telling you that although I may or may not be able to write dynamic copy and although my knowledge of key words that generate Internet traffic might be considered “vast” by someone who is not sure what a key word is and has never experienced the Internet, I don’t have a blog.

And here’s something else that’s been weighing on my mind. Rechelle, I’m very concerned that your blatant rejection of the rules of grammar could be indicative of a serious medical or psychological problem, probably both, plus maybe some serious spiritual, emotional, technical, mechanical, and mathematical problems. I know you don’t want to hear this, but you need immediate help for each and every one of these problems. I hate like the dickens to have to be the one to tell you, but you’ll thank me when you’re cured and thinking like I do. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest grammarian physician-psychiatrist and have complete medical and psychological workups, and if you see a punctuation-loving clergyman on the way, talk to him. Actually, maybe you should drive to the grammarian physician-psychiatrist, but run, don’t walk, to the car. And take care not to run over that punctuation-loving clergyman on the way. As you can no doubt imagine, my slavish devotion both to your blog and to the rules of grammar and punctuation has put me in a somewhat awkward position, and serving two masters is becoming more and more uncomfortable for me each minute, so I’d really appreciate it if you could alleviate my anxiety by getting the help you need to embrace good grammar and punctuation, thereby combining my two adversarial masters into one convenient, easy-to-serve master. Please understand, I make this urgent and drastic recommendation only because of my immense concern about your health. I’m really not giving myself a thought. I just threw in that bit about my two-masters problem because I hoped that the opportunity to alleviate my intense suffering would give you the motivation you needed to get your running, not walking, shoes on and head for the car.

As for your suggestion that I stick the helpful comma instruction page I so thoughtfully forwarded to you straight up into my uterus, I’m afraid that will be impossible. You see, my uterus is off limits to you just as yours is off limits to me, and I’ve decided to make mine off limits to that comma page as well, so for that reason (and possibly one or two others, but that’s the main reason), the page will not be undergoing any gestation (wild or otherwise) in my uterus.

I’m not sure I see how The Blogger Whose Name Must Never Be Mentioned’s husband, who died of lung cancer and then rose again three days later, has much in common with the real Marlboro Man, who was crucified and then remained dead, but I suppose there’s some tenuous Christ connection if you put the two men’s stories together and then take out the inconvenient bits of each story.

It took me 26 minutes to compose this closing line,






See why I had to BEG  him to be on my blog!

Charles and I continued our correspondence, hashing out the details for his participation on my new blog.  I may post the rest of our letters in the near future, but first I have to see if anyone bothers to read through all of these and gets even a thimbleful of the enjoyment that I got out of them.

Ultimately Charles and I decided that he will write an advice column answering letters in much the same manner that he answered mine.  So if you have any problems, concerns, issues, if your back seizes, your neck spasms or you sphincter occasionally twitches out of control, if you question the meaning of life, where god came from, or how best to manage your cockamamie boss, Charles just may have the answer for you.  OR he may NOT have the answer for you.  Either way, he is at the very least, available to give it a go.  And receiving a letter from Charles is a bit like being wrapped in a warm chocolaty blanket of careful attention, warm humor, and nutty weirdness.  What more could you ask for in a letter?

To write to Dear Charles at this time, you can send your letters to dear charles at live dot com.

You may want to sign your letters with an alias, as Dear Charles hesitates to wrap anyone in chocolaty goodness who is not properly masked.