My feelings this afternoon are better expressed in this letter I just wrote to my uncle who’s in prison right now, so I’m just going to copy and paste it here. (This is the pre-self-censoring version- I’m going to edit it and send a different version that’s more likely to get past the people that read his mail- so I apologize to anyone who’s offended by my language. My opinion is that there’s enough bullcrap in this world to necessitate some cursing to ease the pain).
Dear Uncle Jake,
So this afternoon I was scooping myself some ice cream and I had to go into the bathroom to cry because I suddenly thought, you know, there are people who can’t have ice cream. There are people who can’t have ice cream and who don’t have sweaters for when it’s cold and who are locked up in prisons and fucking concentration camps and get tortured and abused and children who are dying of rotavirus because they don’t have clean fucking water. Innocent people, guilty people, but they’re people. They’re fucking human and the only reason this shit happens is that we can’t just respect that. And then I thought to myself, what the hell is wrong with you? Your own uncle is sitting in some concrete cell in Arizona where he can’t get mailed jalapenos and you haven’t written him a letter in years- not even a goddamn letter because you can’t deal with the emotional baggage of writing to another human being just because you never write to him. Do you understand how fucked up that is?
So here I am. Writing to you because I hate the fact that your humanity can be denied and that I’m a part of that denial. How are you? Do you still feed the pigeons sometimes? Do you remember the letter I sent you in code about my caterpillar when I was eight? I do. I miss you and I think about you and I love you and you’re my uncle and you’re a human being and nothing anyone ever says or does will ever change that. Ever.
I have the birthday card you made me when I was born and it’s beautiful and thoughtful and remarkably human.
I remember playing cards with you. I don’t remember much of you but I remember your hugs and the pigeons and playing cards and the letter you sent in code and the letter you sent a few years a go that I never replied to because I didn’t know how to.
I don’t know what to tell you, so I’ll just share a few snippets of my human existence so far and maybe when/if you write back I’ll get some snippets of yours and we’ll find some way to share this life despite the miles and fences between us and I’ll start writing regularly and we’ll be like actual people.
I fell out of my chair in Spanish yesterday. My favorite shoes ever are the hiking boots I stole from my dad. I fence with some lovely people and I eat lunch with my Sociology teacher, whose existence basically just validates everything that I am and everything that I think. I’m on my school’s debate team, and the other kids are wonderful humans and we write silly ditties and rules make jokes about nihilism and AIDS. I have a crush on a girl on my fencing team and she says words like “adorabibble” and she used to walk around on all fours for much longer than is generally considered developmentally appropriate and she has the cutest collie dog named Tashtego after the Native American from Moby Dick that falls into a barrel. One of my favorite books of all time is Winkie by Clifford Chase and I think you’d like it, too and I promise to find a way to get a copy to you. I wrote a letter to my county commissioner about the anti-gay marriage amendment being proposed to North Carolina’s constitution and my Civics teacher’s husband wants to publish it. I have nightmares about getting my math tests back. I’m addicted to Youtube and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who and Star Trek and books that have words in them and I’ve met Dave Eggers, so I can pretty much die happy.
And I miss you.
Loads of very human love,
P.S. (to Katsufrakis)
Yes, I am just going to ignore the fact that the whole “daily update” thing is pretty much a joke now; and yes I do realize that by typing this I am doing the opposite of ignoring it. My logic ran away with a band of caterpillars.