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August 4, 2012

Not the Only Mythmaker ‘Round These Parts

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 10:43 am

This is a composite of two letters written to me in 2005 by an old friend, Ted: One when I graduated college and the other when, a few months later, I left for my first season in Antarctica. First of all, the kid writes a helluva love letter. But, more importantly, the person he describes in it was (and hopefully still is) really me.

I’m putting this here as a reminder to myself that the tumultuous, exegetic anxiety of this Strange Time in My Life is not all there is to my being in the world. That the person I’m striving to be, the one who’s not afraid of her own power, is not necessarily some far-off future unattainable star. She’s someone I have been in the past and will be again and, in some ways, always-and-already am.

It helped me to re-read this:


Consider this our first letter. You are going away to the iciest and most barren of foreign lands. As you put it, so much more elegantly than myself, “OMFG Antarctica!” An entire universe of experience awaits you, and yet I can’t help but believe the same applies to those who will be lucky enough to know you as a friend where you travel. In fact, I must say right now that my chance to live in the world that Rebecca Crane inhabits has been one of the most valuable and life-changing events that could ever have happened to me. Annoying generalities aside, you smell nice and you have this ridiculously cute freckly face and one kind-of jagged tooth but don’t change it because it would do you a terrible injustice.

Ever since you wrote me that letter on that day when I freaked out, I’ve begun to see myself in a completely different way. I’ll find myself reacting to situations with those typical trained reflexes and then I stop and think, “I’m better than this. I seriously am.” Life can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and you have been that for me. Like, I’m so serious (in the E-40 sense of the phrase), thank you!

So, I sit here, delirious from coffee and studying, barely remembering being conscious during my trip to the grocery store earlier today and all I want to do is write this letter. I want it to be full of errors and sloppy, just for that authentic feel. I want it to be full of all these neat, revelatory things I think about you and how fucking cool it is to know a girl like you who actually has principles and doesn’t talk much about them; you just act. In fact, for you, it isn’t even as if these kinds of things are an issue. You’re cool about it. Essentialism is false and you’re like, “Yeah, I totally knew that a long time ago. I made some sushi. Do you want some?”

So many people take the problems of their lives and exaggerate them until they’ve lost touch with the amazingness of everyday life. I’ve seen you react in stressful situations. I’ve been there through the good shit, the hurtful shit, and yes, we even marinate-on-tha-corner from time to time. You always allow yourself to be okay when these things happen. It’s like you already know the situation will get better soon enough. You’re that certain.

And then, Rebecca, there are these times when I see your freckles, and that one tooth you have and my god you’re so young! People are jealous of looks like that and I think that a large part of the reason you still have them is because you never do overreact. It’s complete innocence. You earned it for being so steadfast in your approach to life’s issues.

Which takes me to another point about the way you want humans to act toward each other. You don’t preach about how we should really hold hands more and be kinesthetic towards one another. You just grab my hand, or scratch my head, and I’m all like, “What’s going on?” and then you start talking. Because if something is good and you already know that, there’s no point in arguing about why it is good. You’ve got to just take the leap of faith and act like you know you’re doing the right thing. And I’ve seen you. That’s exactly what you do. You’ve never failed at it.

So, for you, Rebecca, I’ve gotten some things. But know that whatever this symbolic gesture is, it will continue. I want to keep giving to you because you’re so cool, and so loving, and so fun to be around. If there is ever a time when you need somebody to make you dinner or a cup of coffee or a CD or a piece of artwork, I’m here. You can just call me on my cellular telephone.

I want you to do things. I want you to discover, to keep discovering those little channels and backdoor pathways to new experiences. I want you to feel newness, a sense of newness so overpowering that you can’t sleep. I want you to write about it. I want to know every detail. Just like that time you called me out of the blue to tell me you heard some really good music. I want that from you, so innocent, so certain that my time couldn’t have been spent hearing about anything better. Because that’s what I love about you.

The message was always the same but never worth anything less. I am here and that simple fact is so amazing I can’t help but call somebody about it. Sometimes you wouldn’t respond for a few days or I’d be so wrapped up in whatever I spend my days doing when I happen to forget about how amazing this is, but we eventually got the message. When you do leave, and the reality of it begins to set in, I’ll remember those days. I’ll send that message again, though this time it will go an even greater distance. That fact will only add to the sheer amazingness of this. You can get mail in the remotest, coldest, least inhabited place on the Earth, and I will be sending you this reminder to you when you are there, again and again.

Many people believe your departure will leave a gigantic hole in their life that will be difficult to fill. That could very well be one of the greatest compliments your friends could ever give you. I happen to follow their school of thought. I could tell you that what you have done for me in this wonderful year of friendship will be enough to last a lifetime, and though true, a statement like that would only serve to cover over the fact that you will be missed and that this moment must be bittersweet. I am so happy that you will be able to travel to exotic places all around the planet. I want you to take in everything you possibly can, and I want you to wake up time and time again with a sense of wonder about the world you are living in. You are already like this, but your travels will take you even further along that path.

For both of us, the icy wonderland awaits. You will be going there. I will become swept up in it. The fact that I know I will miss you weighs heavily on my mind as I write this, but along with it, I feel a sense of empowerment. I truly care about somebody out there. No matter what she does, where she goes, or whoever she becomes, the girl I know her as will not be tainted. And I can confidently say this, knowing I am not assuming anything: She feels the same way about me.

With friendship, kindness, mystery, sex appeal, and most importantly, love.

Your friend,
Ted B

P.S. I made a music CD for you. I want you to listen to it right after the pilot tells everybody they can put their trays down and use their electronic devices.

Thank you for leaving me an anchor, Ted.

Your friend,


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