Dear Groupon:

I do not want a Brazilian wax for Mother’s Day.

I do not want Logitech headphones, unlimited boot camp classes, half off Sushi and Asian fare, or exercise hot pants for Mother’s Day.

I do not want 68% off cubic zirconium studs.

I do not want one or three oxygen facials.

I do not want a cookie bouquet. Auto detailing. Pet therapy.

I do not want a NASCAR driving experience at the Kentucky Motor Speedway, although I do concede that this would be pretty bad ass.

I do not want Teleflora roses. I do not want laser hair removal. I do not want a family fun package involving go carts and/or mini golf.

What I want for Mother’s Day is to take a shower.

I want to stand under the water uninterrupted for more than 10 minutes without the hot water running out. I want to shave my legs without incident and I want to remember to put that brand new razor I bought last month in the shower before I get in so I don’t have to leave the shower running while I drip across the bathroom to go get it from behind that confounded child safety locked cabinet door. I want to blow dry my hair in small sections the way my hair dresser showed me so that it will frame my face in straight, smooth tresses and I want to actually apply that make up sitting neglected in my make up bag.

I want to wear jewelry, but not fancy jewelry, just the regular kind, but I want to wear it all day without fear of toddler hands snapping it in two or shredding my earlobes by “helping” me remove my earrings.

I want to not be typing this at 3am.

I want my child to go one whole day without wiping snot on my sleeve because I want her to go one whole day without a cold or without falling down or without pitching a fit because I asked her if she wanted cheese when she obviously wanted a banana with cinnamon cut into small bites on the bias.

And it’s okay, Groupon. I get it. You’re obviously not a Mom. You’re our young single friend who thinks you want to be a Mom maybe one day and so you have Ideas about what you would want or what you should want and so you don’t know that I do not want a luxury spa package, ten beginning guitar lessons, a four-device charging station.

You don’t know and so I will just tell you that really, I just want someone else to put gas in the car and maybe vac up the Cheerios in the back seat.

Hope you make someone else’s Mother’s Day something special, Robin

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Dear Words With Friends:

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit distant lately. Unreachable. Absent. The truth is, I think it’s time we both moved on.

If I tell you it’s not you, it’s me, I am not just using a clichéd break-up line, I am telling you the truth. It’s certainly nothing you’ve done. It’s not those Sad Little Emails you’ve been sending me, reminding me that “Kathryn has played a word. You’re up.” While they do make you seem somewhat desperate and clingy and thus, slightly less desirable, these Sad Little Emails also reminded me that you care. That you think I am Someone Worth Emailing. That you think of me at all.

I do like being thought of.

But Words With Friends, since we first met, things have changed. I’m no longer the carefree, unfettered girl who could sit on the couch and play speed games with her husband while watching hours of mindless evening television. I’m no longer the Autonomous Being who would sit at the coffee shop and make a few moves in a couple of different games while sipping her soy latte. I don’t know how to tell you this, so I’ll just come out and say it: I have a Child.

I know. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. At first I didn’t think it would affect our relationship (although I’m sure you noticed I started making most of my moves between midnight and 4AM)—I could do both, I thought. I could cater to this Child and also keep up my Other Relationships. Oregon Trail on Facebook was the first to go. I’m fairly certain that my last wagon party has been stranded somewhere around the Grand Canyon for the past 10 months; they’ve likely all died of dysentery. But the Child—the Child! The Child needed to be fed and bathed and changed and clothed and fed again and then sometimes she needs to sleep and she needs help getting to sleep and oftentimes she needs to be fed again and the truth is—

The truth is that every time I sit down to make a move on a game, I fall asleep.

I am not saying that you are boring!!! You are not boring! I am saying that when I sit down with you, I am sitting down. When I am sitting down, I stop moving. And as any New Parent will tell you, when I stop moving, I sleep.

I don’t want to fall asleep on you anymore. You deserve more than that.

And so, dear, sweet, Words With Friends, I am letting you go. Perhaps, sometime in the future, we can be friends. Maybe occasionally we can play a game together again (but just one, not 32 at once).

Until then, I remain yours fondly,

Robin

Dear Very Animated Couple Who Just Sat at the Table Directly In Front of Me in the Independent Coffee Shop:

I am not trying to listen to your conversation. I am not. I have on my headphones. I am listening to Jump, Little Children, which—given your age and our Relative Geography and the fact that you were not in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998 like I was when their only album Magazine was released—you have probably never heard of, but which is an album I know very well and which should be sufficient to drown out any and all Outside Noise and I need to drown out any and all Outside Noise because I am trying to focus on the computer screen so that I can keep Doing My Work and thus, Feel Accomplished.

But you are both Remarkably Tattooed and use Very Animated Hand Gestures and seem to talk even louder than the Jump, Little Children drummer can possibly ever drum and so, it is hard, Animated Couple, to focus on the My Work because I am ADHD and currently unmedicated and I can’t decide if I like your perfume and cologne (respectively) or not.

Please stop Being Interesting.

Thanks,

Robin

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Dear Overlarge Stitch n’ Bitch Group that has Taken Over 25% of the Tables and Floor Space of the Coffee Shop Down the Street and Whose Members are Completely Oblivious to the Rest of Us with Laptops:

Perhaps you think that laptops have no place in Coffee Shops, but if that’s the case then those of you knitting in front of your laptops are really blowing a hole in that Belief System. Perhaps, then, you think that holding your Stitch n’ Bitch meeting in Such a Public Venue will interest more people in knitting and thus, expand your already unwieldy group. Perhaps you are in secret competition with some other Louisville knitting circle; perhaps you are gunning for the coveted Most Members in a Knitting Group 2011 award, which I just made up here to make fun of you, but which you might think Actually Exists and that might—might—explain your taking over the front quarter of this Subpar Coffee Shop Space and filling it with your clacking needles and your vapid conversations about Knitting Parties and some guy named David who everyone seems to know and a few people seem to be asking after and who none of you have actually seen in a while.

Perhaps you have been Conspicuously Knitting in Public En Masse for a while and still think it’s a Cool Thing to Do. I get that you are a Diverse Group of Mixed Ages and Genders and Nationalities. I get that Louisville is the sort of Liberal, Feel-Good City that encourages such displays as Conspicuous Public Knitting. And I will own that Stephen and I live on the Hippie end of town where wearing Ill-Fitting Clothing from the Thrift Store and dousing oneself in sandalwood and flaunting ones Remarkable Tattoos is considered not just socially acceptable, but almost a Neighborhood Requirement.

But here’s the thing: Stitch n’ Bitch (the book—you did know it all started as a book, didn’t you?) came out in 2000.

It’s 2011.

Wake up to the cliché that you’re perpetuating and stop hogging all the tables with the best wall outlets.

Robin

PS: For the record, I knit, too. At home. Just putting that out there.

Dear Horrible Wallpaper:

Why do you insist on following me?

Don’t think I haven’t noticed.

Don’t think I haven’t been commenting on your Unparalleled Awfulness ever since the Unfortunate Rental that my family moved into in 1991 shortly before we moved to Alabama, where our new house was covered in More Unparalleled Awfulness. Don’t think I haven’t seen you, encroaching on my living quarters, complicating painting projects by refusing to be removed.

I know about you.

I know how you think.

You had your heyday sometime in the 50s, the 60s, the 70s—sometime long before I was born—yet you do not think of yourself as Old. You are Vintage. You are Retro. You are a Time Capsule. You are a Stock Image taken for a newspaper that The Onion has somehow missed but if they were to get their hands on you and on the images of the rooms you inhabit, they would pair you with headlines like “The Brady Bunch Finds Missing Kitchen: Alice Stunned” or “100-Year-Old Woman Flattered to be Named Turn-of-the-Century Decorating Inspiration.”

Perhaps you thought to best me with the unfortunate Hawaiian shirt print in the guest bathroom of the first house my husband and I ever owned. Blue bamboo lattice. Stained and dark yellow background. Orange hibiscus. And truly, we let you go on for too long, thinking there must be a way to remove you as we had the harvest gold and lime green finches in the kitchen. Perhaps that made you nervous, seeing us so steadily removing your presence from our home. Perhaps that made you cling all the more stubbornly. But I am stubborn too, Horrible Wallpaper, and with you I have learned that when all else fails, I must seek different means of conquering you. Unorthodox means. Means that begin at the paint counter and end with two coats of primer and two coats of paint. And you might argue that in truth, you are Still There, lurking behind the paint, but we both know that this is one last desperate please for Relevance in a time where you have not been Relevant in 30 years.

And here, now, in this new city, in this 100-year-old rental house, we meet again. You cling to these plaster and lathe walls in multiple layers—multiple years of paper on paper, striving ever to Keep Up with the latest styles—small pineapples of hospitality, intensely green crawling ivy, oversized bouquets of roses once thought to be elegant—but you can never Keep Up. Your roses just serve as a reminder that Dusty Pink went out in the 80s and hasn’t been seen since, except here, in this space.

You are a Time Capsule.

But you will not own us, Horrible Wallpaper. Not even in this rental cottage, where you are So Present in rooms that are So Tiny. We cannot remove you here. We cannot paint you because for some reason, our not-quite-elderly landlord seems to like you. But we will mock you. We will minimize you by covering you with posters, with pictures, with curtains draped along whole walls. And we will carry on with our lives, Horrible Wallpaper—our rich, ever-changing lives. And you will remain here, Stuck in a time period so fleeting that even before your glue had dried, you were already Outdated.

With pity,

Robin

Dear Sub-Par Watermelon:

While it doesn’t seem quite fair (and, indeed, might be construed as Rather Over-Dramatic) to suggest that you have ruined my Fourth of July weekend, I do not think it an overstatement to say that you have certainly marred the holiday’s usually reliable, traditional charm. Every good American knows that the successful Fourth of July weekend cookout hinges on certain predictable staples and events: one or two relatives arguing around the grill about the Best Way to cook insert meat product of choice here; some Unfortunate Red, White, and Blue Dessert (typically involving Jell-O and Cool Whip); eating corn on the cob but never having any tooth picks to take care of the Inevitable Dental Hygiene Issues that follow; some sort of water activity, be it running through sprinklers, water gun fights, Fun Noodle Wars at the pool, or water skiing lessons for all of the cousins and friends at the lake; eating watermelon in your bathing suit and spitting the seeds at your siblings or at your feet or sometimes at your parents’ feet until they notice, or perhaps just grabbing chunks of Juicy Red Seedless pieces straight out of the fruit salad with your bare fingers and stuffing them into your mouth before anyone can see what you’re doing and by you I mean me because I still do this and I am 32 so don’t think that I am talking about a kid’s activity because watermelon Transcends the Ages.

Watermelon is a constant.

Watermelon is the one summer holiday must-have.

Which is why, Sub-Par Watermelon, your own personal failure is so much greater than that of, say, that one Roman Candle in the pack of 12 that we bought at Crazy Sad Charlie’s Mega Fireworks (but never Sad Crazy Charlie’s because everyone knows that Crazy Sad Charlie always has the better inventory at a better price) and are now attempting to shoot off of the end of the pier and of course we are holding them in our bare hands, even though they tell us not to because how the hell else are you supposed to aim the little balls of light across the lake at that house with those people you don’t like? You are more disappointing, Sub-Par Watermelon, than the Giant Sparkler that fizzles out and doesn’t blaze in three different colors like it promised to. You are more disappointing than the iced tea that someone labeled sweet but that was really unsweet.

You are more disappointing because we Chose you.

We stood, knocking on green and white striped rinds for five minutes, hefting this melon and that one, listening for the ones that sounded the Most Hollow, the ones that would be so ready to burst in their sweetness that the rinds might split open of their own accord when we finally pierced them with our butcher’s knife. And after all that knocking and hefting and hoisting, we Chose you. You, so full of promise. We dreamed about you, cold wedges on a platter, snatched up by eager hands. We dreamed you as the life of the party. The centerpiece. The one thing around which all else might revolve.

Instead, you have become something of a Bad Blind Date—that one mistake in our past that people will talk about in hushed tones and we will hope vainly that no one will remember by this time next year. Your watery, pale interior—almost sour in its lack of sweetness—served only as a reminder that you are not even really a fruit, that you are Kissing Cousins with the cucumber we just put in the tossed salad, a fact that we had forgotten because it has been so long—decades, in fact—since we have Chosen a Sub-Par Watermelon. We have been on a streak. We have been the Best Watermelon Chooser in the family for years and years and everyone has agreed on this point, even Grampy, who never agrees with anyone on anything.

But you will not defeat me.

This Fourth of July weekend, I will go back to the grocery store or the fruit and vegetable stand and I will knock and heft other watermelons until I find a suitable replacement. You will not shake my confidence. You will not stop me from buying other watermelons. Better watermelons. Watermelons that live up to their promises. You will not bind me in shackles of Melon Choosing Fear or Doubt. This is Independence Day. This is a day for decisions. This is a day for action and bold declarations.

This is a day for Better Watermelon.

Happy Fourth of July, you deceptive S.O.B.

Robin

Dear January,

Happy New Year! I am happy to see you again—I really am—because you mean that I get to erase all of the stupid things I did Last Year, like when I ran the front corner of my grandfather’s Cadillac into That Damn Post next to my apartment parking space or like when I believed Stephen when he told me that Bono from U2 was Jewish or like when I went to that One Party and drank all of that boxed wine out of Solo cups (Franzia, FTW!) and then wrecked my Awesome Bicycle on the way home and gave myself that Gnarly Black Eye, but then you showed up, finally, and now I get to start again because you are New.

But January, as happy as I always am to see you, even though you typically involve Large Amounts of Unwanted Precipitation, I am never happy to see you dragging along with you that pesky string of Birthdays I Always Forget, starting with my Father’s. My Own Father’s! My Own Father is hard enough to buy a present for in December when all of those Mandatory Present Buying Holidays roll around because his favorite color is Purple and he does not wear ties, but to ask me to skip off and buy another present less than 30 days later, well, that’s not only wrong but also Highly Unreasonable unless you want me to buy him, say, a pair of shoes, and only give him the Right Shoe on Christmas and make him wait to unwrap the Left Shoe until January 22.

Not only that, but do you know who shares a Birthday with My Own Father? Can you guess it? You can’t. You will never in a million years guess it and so I will just tell you: My Own Husband! My Own Husband, Stephen, shares a Birthday with My Own Father and while Stephen is easier to buy presents for because he likes baseball hats and because I can always just go to the liquor store and buy him Something Fancy for Bloody Marys, it nonetheless means that I cannot really Throw Him A Party when I am really in the mood to Throw Him A Party, which is usually, like, August because nothing ever happens in August except the start of the school year and that alone means that poor Little August definitely Needs More Parties.

And now, January. Now for the cruelest trick of them all: My Own Blogmate. My Own Blogmate, Luke, has a birthday in January and it is today and that is why I am writing this to you here, now, on January 3, 2011, because you need to know, January. Because this, of all the things I could talk about today, is the Most Necessay.

It’s not like these are Incidental Birthdays. It’s not like these are Birthdays I can really be excused for Forgetting. And I know that my Facebook homepage will tell me about these birthdays on the day that they are happening, but January, if presents are involved, I definitely need more lead-time than a same-day Facebook note in the upper righthand corner of the screen that I may or may not see and what if I don’t log on to Facebook on the day of a Very Important Birthday? (Haha, I know. I will never not log onto Facebook. Just seeing if you were paying attention!)

The Truth is, January—and this may be hard to hear, I know, but if your friends won’t tell you then who will?—the Cold, Unforgiving, You-Can’t-Make-This-Stuff-Up Truth is that you should not have Birthdays.

Now I know that you are thinking “But everyone always gets excited for the birth of the First New Baby of the New Year,” but let’s think about that poor New Year’s Baby for just one second. I would hate to be a New Year’s Baby because I would have to celebrate every year with stupid plastic glasses with lenses shaped like the date of the next year of my life and with champagne at midnight and with Dick Clark or Ryan Seacrest counting down seconds at me and who wants to always celebrate her birthday with short TV personalities? (And what is with that, ABC? Is it in the job description that the host has to be 5’8”?) And who wants to drink champagne when they’re 5? Or stay up until midnight? New Year’s Baby or not, that’s just irresponsible parenting. And anyway, there would still be a First New Baby of the New Year, that baby would just be born at 12:01 on February 1 instead and we could leave Ryan Seacrest out of the whole thing and doesn’t that sound nicer all around?

Think about it, Jan. Think about how nice it would be to give all of your Birthdays to February. What’s February got? Valentine’s Day? Black History Month? You and I both know that these things, no matter how Culturally or Socially Significant they may be, pale in comparison to the Newness of You. Or maybe you’d rather share them around like the Rainbow Fish and all her Rainbow Scales in that kid’s book? I would support that. That would be a very generous gesture, doling out your Birthdays to all those other months out there that are Less Flashy than you. Like August. Think about August, Jan. Think about poor, sad Little August, who nobody likes because August makes everyone go back to school.

Think about how Philanthropic you will look.

Think about what Good Things people will say.

Think about how happy you will make poor Little August.

Encouraging the Spirit of Giving in the New Year, Especially for Birthdays,

Robin

For Luke, Stephen, Dad, and all you other Birthdays suffering at the hands of January. I haven’t really forgotten you. Promise.

Dear Katy Perry:

Let’s get straight to the point: “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?” might be, possibly, the Worst First Line of a pop song in History. Certainly it will go down in the annals as the Worst First Line of 2010. I daresay that the clever student-editors of the Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 will include it in the front section list of “Best American Worst First Lines of Pop Songs” and yours they will save until last because they always save the tour de force for the end of those lists (editors of Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 take note, you heard it here first).

I get that you were 15 when American Beauty came out and that scene by the kind of hot-in-an-emo-way, video-shooting, pot-dealing neighbor kid where he captured the dancing plastic grocery bag in the wind happened at a Very Pivotal Point in the film and that it was Meaningful and Important and has probably stayed with you because you were 15 and impressionable and let’s face it, no one who’s seen American Beauty has ever looked at a plastic grocery bag the same way since.

But I have never felt like a plastic bag.

Now, I do appreciate that your latest single, “Firework,” has an overall Positive Message about being yourself and feeling good about who you are and that you are valuable and all that other after-school-special stuff and is more or less intended to appeal to teenagers and 20-somethings. I realize that this is a message that they don’t always hear enough because they are too busy looking at the ads on their Facebook pages for lipsuction or Groupons or laser hair removal and that these ads do not send Positive Messages. I also appreciate that you’ve linked your video to the “It Gets Better” project and wish that more people would link their Vapid Pop Songs with Positive Messages to things like the “It Gets Better” project because at least if they are all linking to that project maybe we will have more dancing and fewer suicides and I do really mean that with all my heart. ♥

Yet none of that counteracts the fact that I have never felt like a plastic bag, nor does it make up for lines like “after a hurricane comes a rainbow,” which, after the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, seems like a fairly thoughtless claim (you really should talk to your ex-boyfriend, Travie McCoy, about that whole FEMA debacle). But then, such claims are in keeping with the Overarching Meaninglessness noted in other hit singles from your latest album, and yes, I am talking about “California Gurls” because there is no forgiveness in this world or the next for the “melt your popsicle, oh-oh-oh-o-oh” line, not even if you were Catholic and the Pope himself heard that confession and assigned you a lifetime of Hail Marys on his own personal rosary.

But it would be unfair of me to insinuate that I find nothing in you to admire because in many things, Katy Perry, you and I are the same. Well, not many, but in one or two, perhaps, namely that we are both Women and both have blue eyes. Nonetheless, kudos to you for not taking Russell Brand’s last name for stage purposes, not that Brand is especially offensive or that Perry is even your real last name, but I respect you for being your Own Woman, even if you are the Kind of Woman who talks a little too much about Skin Tight Jeans and Daisy Dukes. Oh, and I’m very glad that you didn’t really get bitten by that spider on your honeymoon because even though I think you might have started those rumors yourself just to generate a little more attention, no one should be bitten by a spider (fictional or otherwise) on their honeymoon. Spider bites hurt like hell and sometimes scar.

Doing my best to Own the Night like the Fourth of July,

Robin

Note: Want to get in on NeLeWriWe? Send your letters to up at necessaryletters@gmail.com.

Dear National Novel Writing Month:

Can we call you NaNoWriMo? We hear all the cool kids call you that and so, we will, too.

We here at Necessary Letters admire your Purpose and Overall Spunk: nothing says “go-getter” like an organization based on convincing hapless, ordinary people like plumbers or baristas to write a novel in a month. And while we know from our Research that you chose to make November the month of choice because of the typically crappy weather in the San Francisco Bay Area, we love that someone, somewhere, sat down and decided that the month whose abbreviation is Nov would be the best month in which to write Novels. Weather-shmeather. Perhaps you thought we wouldn’t notice that little detail; if so, then you, NaNoWriMo, underestimate our Powers of Perception.

We also must confess to Coveting Your Acronym. When we lie awake at night thinking of you (and of course we lie awake thinking of you. It’s November and we cannot help thinking of you, but only when we are not lying awake thinking of the laundry that we never seem to get done or whether or not we should go to the effort of cooking a turkey again this year), we often wonder what would happen if we had such a clever Acronym. We fantasize about the merchandise we could produce with that Acronym and we hate you a little bit for already having some of the merchandise we fantasize about ready for purchase on your website and so we resolve not to purchase it, partly because you already have it and partly because that will only make us Covet Your Acronym that much more.

But underneath our Coveting of Your Acronym and underneath our admiration, we here at Necessary Letters cannot quite shake one small, annoying, nagging thought about NaNoWriMo’s purpose:

Not everyone needs to write a Novel.

We know that you strive to discourage this very sentiment. That this goes against the very fiber of your movement and that right now, you are gathering yourself to bellow noisy and endless disagreements, but before you sound your barbaric YAWP, consider this:

Right now, somewhere, a Man sits, writing, closeted in some garret (because all writers write in garrets in ratty gloves with the fingers cut off like Jo March did in Little Women, even in August) or possibly in his mother’s basement and surrounded by his still-in-the-box Marvel comic action figures and stacks of the original Green Lantern comic books (which he has been pursuing with diligence on Ebay! every since that cheerleader rejected him when he asked her to Homecoming back in 1993). Or maybe even a Woman, since we do know at least one Woman who collects comic books, but she does not live in her mother’s basement and thus, would probably not be tempted by anything with an Acronym like NaNoWriMo. So a Man. A Man sits, writing (preferably on an old typewriter but more probably on an older model desktop that he’s converted to Linux, but definitely not on a MacBook Air or an iPad with optional keyboard) and he is writing a Novel because it is November and November is National Novel Writing Month and he has always wanted to write a Novel.

The Man in the Garret’s Novel will be wonderful because he is writing it for National Novel Writing Month and he has told everyone that he is writing it and every day, his Facebook status update tells all of his Facebook friends how many words he has written and he uses exclamation points. “Man in the Garret is a machine. NaNoWriMo daily word tally: 2,753!”

The Man in the Garret has been thinking about his Novel for a long time—maybe years—and he knows that you are not supposed to start writing for National Novel Writing Month until November 1, but he has had this idea, you see, this idea in his head every since the final installment of the new Star Wars trilogy came out in theaters and he saw it the same week his mother made him watch Sleepless in Seattle for the first time because they were replaying it on TBS that Saturday morning with limited commercials, and he found himself wondering why no one has ever written about lovers who meet on an Intergalactic Talk Radio Show. And he has read more fiction since then—more science fiction—and he has not seen any Novel where two people meet and fall in love on an Intergalactic Talk Radio Show and he has even thought of a name for his lead character (who will look just like him, only hot) and his lead character would never get rejected by that high school cheerleader because his lead character’s name will be Rock Stardust.

Rock Stardust, NaNoWriMo. Rock. Stardust.

So, because of our admiration of your Overall Spunk and Purpose, we here at Necessary Letters would like to propose a solution to the Problem of Rock Stardust (and while you may protest just to save face, we both know that there is definitely a Problem with Rock Stardust). Rather than encouraging hapless beauticians and clichéd unemployed Comic-Collecting Men living in their mother’s basements to generate 50,000 words of woefully uninspired prose inside the arbitrarily imposed deadline of 30 days, we would like to encourage them, instead, to devote their energies to an entirely different enterprise:

Necessary Letter Writing Week.

NeLeWriWe is, traditionally, the third full week in November. Why, yes, it does conveniently begin with the phrase Necessary Letter. How good of you to notice. However, we assure you that NeLeWriWe has been a staple of the writing world for quite some time and while this is, possibly, the first annual recognized NeLeWriWe, the third week in November has been a very busy time for letter-writing all around. All that looming turkey and pie and awkward, forced family interaction encourages people to put pen to paper, so to speak, and write the things that they have been meaning to write. The things that are Necessary.

NeLeWriWe lasts for six days, instead of the five days of the regular work week or the seven days of the typical calendar week for the simple reason that the US Postal Service delivers mail for six days out of any given week, and back before Necessary Letters were posted online, they were actually posted via mail with a stamp.

And so the gauntlet has been thrown, NaNoWriMo. NeLeWriWe hereby challenges you to put down that truly terrible piece about the failed attorney who joins the circus and falls in love with the cross-dressing clown and, instead, pick up a Necessary Letter. One letter every day for six days.

We can do it. Can you?

Sportingly,

Robin

Dear Self:

A few handfuls of dry cereal and a piece of string cheese in no way constitutes a Healthy Lunch. Suck it up and go buy some groceries.

Love,

Robin

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Dear Mississippi:

Your North-to-South drive is better than your East-to-West. Much like a punch to the balls is better than a knee.

Painfully,

Luke

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Dear Laundromat Close to My House:

By advertising free wi-fi, you are implying that said free wi-fi also works. By works I mean that it connects to the Internet, not that the Little Green Light on the box lights up.

Robin

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Dear Friends Stranded in Auburn:

If you hadn’t turned down the two rides offered from there back to Birmingham, things might be different, but as it is, None of Us are coming to get you. No one wants to log Five Hours of Driving just to hear a play-by-play recap.

Roll Tide,

Luke

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Dear Friends Who I Am Eating and Drinking With:

I truly do not care how much you charge my card so long as I get to go home and go to bed inside the next 30 minutes. Stop trying to divide the check while Drunk and take advantage of my Sleepy Generosity. Please.

Love,

Robin

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Dear Honda:

Could you please grow a cruise control system? It would Improve My Life exponentially.

Thanks, Little Guy.

Luke

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Dear Bouncers at that Hip Tuscaloosa Bar (All Three of You):

While I’m flattered that you think I’m Younger than I Really Am, taking my ID then quizzing me on my birthdate seems A Bit Extreme. No one puts their age at 31 on a fake ID except early 90s sit-com characters. Last time I checked, my name wasn’t DJ and Bob Saget wasn’t my dad.

Youthfully yours,

Robin

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Dear Tuscaloosa:

Thanks for always reminding me why I left.

Cheers,

Luke

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Dear Pink:

Let’s talk about lyrics. “What’s the deal-io?” and “Don’t be fancy, just get dancy” might be pithy sayings for a bathroom stall door, but they do not make for a Meaningful Pop Experience. Even Ke$ha can do better.

Robin

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Dear Sorority Girl Driving the Eclipse with the Dane Cook Bumper Sticker:

How does it feel to have Failed at Life so fucking early?

Luke

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Dear Starbucks:

It’s Rather Hard for me to get excited about your Winter Blend coffee with the snowmen on the package when today’s high is 80 degrees. Try peddling your Frosty Wares someplace north of the Mason-Dixon.

Robin

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Dear Mississippi (Again):

Wanna change that “Most Obese State” statistic? Instead of a Baskin-Robbins in every other gas station, let’s cut down to, I dunno, 1 in 4, maybe?

On behalf of your Residents’ Hearts,

Luke

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Dear Luke:

Bring me back some Baskin-Robbins. Preferrably Pralines n’ Cream. With sprinkles.

Love,

Robin’s Sweet Tooth

Dear Self-Absorbed Jaywalkers:

We hate you.

We who own homes, whose local and permanent addresses are one in the same, who are registered to vote. We who sometimes rely on your tuition dollars for our paychecks, our retirement, our Sub-Par Vision and Dental. We whose lives do not involve your class schedule, who do not care that you are late again to your literature seminar break-out session with that hot TA you want so desperately to impress with your Immaculate Grooming.

We who were up at six.

We who respect traffic signals.

We who understand what might happen if 3,240 Pounds of Determined Station Wagon traveling at 50 miles per hour leave the driveway at 8:47 and 150 Pounds of Hapless History Major traveling at 10 miles per hour leave the overpriced downtown apartment at 9:01 and the two meet at the intersection of University and Colonial Drive at 9:03, even though we did not do well in math or physics or the science reasoning portion of the ACT.

We who do not get Spring Break.

We who do not need Fake IDs.

We respectfully acknowledge your right to not respect traffic signals or your parents or your Aging Classics Professor with the unfortunate comb-over who never sees you with your iPhone sending photos of that girl from the frat house to your cousin at Loyola during your Thursday lecture. We respectfully request that you respect our respect for traffic signals and prompt arrivals for appointments with our chiropractors and marriage counselors and piano teachers, and acknowledge that we have a right to our frustration with the impossibly pedantic pace of On-Campus Transportation, behind which we will be Inevitably Doomed to spend approximately 5/8 of our adult lives.

We would like to remind you to Look Both Ways and to caution you against first making eye contact with a driver and then moving casually through the crosswalk like the Missing Beatle from the Abbey Road album cover, and we further request you acknowledge our resentment for making us sound like Your Mother.

We would like to remind you that Looking Both Ways also assumes that, should you see 3,240 Pounds of Station Wagon hurtling towards a green light at the intersection of University and Colonial Drive at 9:03, you will let said 3,240 Pounds pass before you step onto the roadway.

Anything else and we will simply assume that you are part of some University Science Experiment bent on proving Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection.

Steadily accelerating with no thought to your Sperrys, your Costas, or your Immaculate Bama Bang,

Robin