I had a real health scare earlier this week. Woke up with congestion, a cough, shortness of breath… Terrifying stuff. Ran for the COVID tests. Took two sticks, shoved them up each nostril, tickled the brain, dropped in the solution, and waited. Negatives! Well, hell, I thought. What’s the deal? The deal was the weather and my body reacting to the temperature dropping from 100 degrees to the mid-60s overnight. I feel fine now… A weekend of family excitement and heat and some personal reflection got to me.

Some old imaginary friends have come knocking, but of course the schizophrenic in me sees them as real, living lives of varying grandeur. A couple of them live not too far from here, I like to think… One in particular reached out to me the other day. His name is Lee Marrows, and he currently lives in Philadelphia as he has for the last fifteen years or so. The poor son-of-a-gun is a high school dropout who chased the promise of a rock and roll career into the ground, then began a modest screen-printing business, then launched a successful alt-weekly blog for the Philly arts scene. He lives off of canned corn and – I assume – prayers to Satan.

Anyway, Lee likes to travel when the demon possesses him, so he went down to Washington over the weekend to celebrate Memorial Day with some drunken fervor in our nation’s grand capital. According to him, he woke up from a hangover nap on a bench in the National Mall to see the Kentucky representative Thomas Massie walking past him with two unwashed aides. The libertarian Massie has spoke out against gun control; he spouts about the Second Amendment like an adoring faucet. You might know him from the Christmas card he sent out not too far back showing him and his entire family holding giant guns.

Sobered up, Lee jumped in front of Massie and stuck out his hand. They shared introductions. “Mr. Massie, I’m a big fan,” said Lee, a noted lefty whack job. “I appreciate everything you’re doing for the protection of our Constitution.”

“Why thank you so much,” Massie said.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you fighting for all us Americans to bear arms. Why just the other day I had to protect my own family from a beast.”

“Good on you. What kind of a beast!”

“Well, up in Allegheny I was holding a barbecue, and my neighbor tried to come onto my wife. So I ran up into the house and grabbed my vintage Luger, loaded her up, and fired six shots at close range into my neighbor’s small intestine.”

Massie apparently stumbled backwards. “My God!”

“Indeed! My wife started screaming, of course, but I could tell she was thankful. I mean, the crazy man was attacking her! A husband’s got to protect his wife, for God’s sake. But I had to run, you know. Can’t let the cops get to me. They wouldn’t understand that kind of logic, of course…”

The congressman stood stumbling like a lunatic over his words until one of his aides earned their paycheck and led him away from Lee. “Good to see you, Tom!” he called, waving in a way that looked halfway towards a Nazi salute. “Shall not be infringed, right Tom?”

Anyway, Lee doesn’t own a gun and he doesn’t know anyone in Allegheny. But Massie didn’t know that. For all the talk that Republicans shell out regarding law-abiding citizens being allowed to own guns, they sure don’t expect those citizens to suddenly become law-breaking… That asshole Lee has some genius in him. I used to think he’d write for a major magazine or have a TV show. But some of us use our talents in other ways, and he uses his to print custom T-shirts and zines during the day and get philosophical and messy on Market Street at night…

I’m sending out more emails nowadays. The phone has become a nuisance. I like to talk to friends and hear their voices, and texting is good for quick correspondences, but there is nothing like a good email. You can wax at length about something, include pictures and links as you wish, and not have to worry about paying postage. Handwritten letters are best, of course. Getting a handwritten letter from a friend is a high honor! But with stamps costing a half-dollar or more these days, who can afford to send out mail? It’s the kind of thing that makes you appreciate when the landlord sends a pre-stamped envelope for you to use when sending in rent… I know that most landlords use online banking to collect nowadays, but for the old-school folks, providing a pre-stamped envelope for the monthly check is an act of Good Samaritanism. Those who force tenants to buy stamps to send in their monthly rent should either give an annual refund or provide free laundry service. I know I’d prefer the latter…

Anyhow, that’s all… I’m sure I’ll get more correspondences from friends as I slip ever-downward into madness… Maybe some of them will even let me post the letters verbatim here. All I know is that if you think such a practice seems unhinged, you’ve haven’t begun to scratch the surface of the Internet, and I offer my heartiest prayers if you chose to do so… Maybe just stay here where it’s relatively safe and your writer has chosen to enjoy a recommended dose of sinus medication rather than whatever the jokers elsewhere consume for their creative mania.