A Fake Response to a Real Email
by Solomon Philbrick
First of all, let me just mention one thing that may have led you astray in my last email. You may have gotten the impression that I have a girlfriend here, which is not necessarily true. I actually have three, one for every day off. Now, I know what you might be thinking at this point: “That stodgy old conservative Philbrick? Three girlfriends? That’s just not like him!” Well, K___, you would have been right a year or two ago, but things have changed. You know that old saying about how a man goes to California to reinvent himself? Well, I didn’t know that that applied just as well to people from California, and certainly not when I just moved a few counties away from L.A. But, well, the proof is there. I am now a college town man-slut, which is, I think, an overall improvement.
I’m sorry to hear that you miss our conversations about books and stuff. I can’t say the same, because I have to talk about books all the time and sometimes that gets to be a bit tiring. Besides, it’s not like there aren’t other nerdy guys who would be perfectly happy to talk with you about books. They’re my friends. You know them. Just get within ten feet or so and say “Joyce” or “Yeats” and you’ll be in for an earful. Even when they’re sober.
Anyway, as you may have gathered, I am enjoying school and it’s frankly too bad that you are not. Is school really so bad, though, that you had to drop all of your classes? You say that you feel old and that you haven’t accomplished anything. First of all, if you feel old now, just wait until you have to take all those classes again when you’re a year older. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you are only twenty-five and in my experience I didn’t get hit with the “old” label until twenty-six. Moreover, at twenty-eight I can tell you that things don’t change much unless…well, unless things change. By the way, don’t worry. I know you’re not saying that I’m old, just that you feel old. Well, look at it this way: the way you write “u” instead of “you,” “r” instead of “are” and “ur” instead of “you’re” (or “your”) tells me that even if you feel old at heart, you are certainly not old in mind.
Perhaps part of the reason you feel so old is that your boyfriend is barely old enough to walk through a casino in Vegas. I know, I know. When you got together you were attracted to his Perry Farrell wannabe charms and the fact that he is in a band, and it might have even been appealing at first when he left you those embarrassingly heartfelt declarations of undying love all over every online forum, but now you are both showing your ages, or at least the difference therein. Well, we all make choices in life. Not that I am completely unsympathetic toward the guy. I only see a bit of it when you email me at two in the morning, probably drunk, but this poor wretch bears full witness to the hornet-infested viper’s nest behind your heavily pierced (and certainly not unpleasing) façade. I can only imagine what it must be like for him to try to console you as you lay curled up in the fetal position and weeping while his balls resemble those of a Smurf. Then again, maybe all this is for the better. You caught him at an early age. An older guy would have run for the hills somewhere between the first manic and the first depressive.
Finally, sure, if you want to head out here for lunch some time feel free to give me a ring. Buffy and Tiffany are not particularly jealous, and if Amy complains I’ll tell her that we’re “just friends.” Those were, after all, your words.