Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Letter to Mr. Ernest Hemingway

Hello Everyone: As you may well know, I have been working very hard at becoming the hippest, edgiest, most important, best-selling, best-reviewed, and most popular writer in Today’s World of Literature. Recently, I learned some Very Important Rules for Writing from this Interwire magazine article, that, in turn, inspired another of my Good Ideas, namely to write the following letter, which I wish to share with you.


Dear Mr. Ernest Hemingway:

My name is Hugh Lafferty. I am a writer who lives in Emeryville, California. California is a United State that is far away from the United State where you live, Idaho (which, the map tells me, is the state that is shaped like a handgun, though it does not look like a gun that could shoot at very much, except maybe Canada).

I am an inventor (the Hugh Lafferty Hi-Speed Toenail Clipper), marketing expert (for Kellogg’s new breakfast cereal, Sugar-coated Tobacco Flakes) and the author of such Exciting and Useful Books as
Hate Letters to Stephen Colbert; Ouch! 101 Things You Should Not Drop on Your Foot (By One Who Knows!); and Hugh Lafferty’s Affirmative Proscriptions for Life! (For this one, I had the distinct honor of having to print a Surgeon General’s Warning on every copy!)

To get to my point (which my downstairs neighbor and copyeditor, Tom, say I should always do, rather than going on and on, like I am doing now, which is a bad habit I am working hard on correcting and one that I hope to have fixed someday), I am writing to you to convey my sad regret that I am not going to read any of your Famous Books. Among your Celebrated Books of Literature that I will not be reading are
The Bell Also Rises; For Whom the Sun Tolls and Across the Sea and Into the Old Man.

The reason I am no longer planning to read your Illustrious Books is because you are, as I have been informed, a Dead Person. In fact, I was surprised to find that you died a very VERY long time ago! And, as I have learned from this Good Advice List on an InterWire magazine, Hip and Contemporary Writers like myself should
only read books from living authors only. This is because when people buy a book by a Deceased Author such as Your Self, all of the money is poured into your grandchildren’s swimming pool, instead of water, like everyone else's. (Though I hear swimming in cash is a Very Fun and Nice Thing, I must decline, as I am already deeply afraid of water.)

To confirm this fact, I next asked my copyediting, downstairs neighboring Tom if a Dead Author’s grandchildren would get the money if I bought a used copy of one of your Fine Books and he said “Oh . . .
sure, Hugh. The grandchildren get every single penny from every single book a dead writer sells.” Then he made a wise and significant pause. “Especially the used copies.”

Now, I firmly believe that all dead people’s children should be out earning their own living and not mooching off of their parents, Grand and Not-So-Grand. Therefore, to nourish the Good Character of the Hemingway Grandchildren, I shall not purchase any of your books, Worthwhile Works of Literature though they may be.

I must admit however, that my decision leaves me somewhat confused (though not as confused as the time I asked my GPS for driving directions to Pasadena and wound up in Honolulu). Tom pointed out that reading Non-living Authors would teach me to be a better writer and reading your books would especially teach me about such important things a brevity, directness, the fine moral quality of grace under pressure, and how to hunt and kill my dinner (a New and Strange Concept, I must say, as I have always thought food animals like chickens gave themselves heart attacks so we could eat them.)

Tom also told me that reading Dead Authors would give me a sense of cont—continental--conten—make me feel connected to the History and Traditions of Literature and make us all aware of Other Worlds and Points of View That are Not Our Own and Help Us Grow as Persons (though at 5’ 5”, I am plenty tall enough living in this attic.)

Nevertheless, it has become clear to me, that only by avoiding your books, will I become the edgy, contemporary, smash bestselling author I know I am going to be. With the millions of dollars I will make from not reading your books, Mr. Hemingway, I shall be free to work on my next writing project—my debut thrilling novel:
Action in Bureaucracy: A Gripping Tale of Inertia.

BUT finally and most importantly, I cannot read your books because, as a Dead Author, you will not write review blurbs praising my books, no matter how many of yours I read and how piteously I beg,whine, and grovel at your feet.

Now, I must say good-bye, because my wife, Gladys, has wisely pointed out that it would be a much better use of my time if I wrote to Still-living Authors and suggest that they not die until after I finish reading their books (Be careful out there, Smartest Man I Have Ever Met!)

Please accept my sincerest apologies for not reading your books.

. . . and thank you for your help.

Hugh Lafferty

(Photo by My Downstairs Neighbor)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Product I Had to Send Back to the Store

Hello Everyone!

When my family and I finished watching the excellent advertising video below (created by a Mr. Dave Hill who runs what I gather is a very nice vacation spot) we all had the exact same thought you did!

No question about it! We needed new furniture!

But as you will see from the following letter, the Ikea Line of Naked People Furniture fell far short of our expectations.

“Dear Ikea Naked People Furniture Department:

Please find enclosed via this retired Greyhound bus the furniture I purchased from you the previous month.

While I and my entire family were initially extremely excited when our new furniture marched in single file up through our attic door, the experience ended in a very profound sense of disappointment for multitudinous reasons, a few of which I shall enumerate below:

1) The water refused to stay in the bathtub.

2) Once I got the ironing board to stop screaming, I could no longer iron the wrinkles out of my pants.

3) My wife, Gladys, spent a whole week turning the floor lamp on and off.

4) While it is very nice and convenient to rearrange the living room furniture by simple verbal commands, Gladys did not respond well to snide comments on her feng shui from a coffee table (nor is she one who normally kicks the furniture!)

5) While I found the lounger reached my exacting standards of comfort and obedience, I do not appreciate bursts of flatulence while I watch Barney and Friends! (Contrary to what Some People say, I do recognize sarcasm when I hear it!)

6) Water bill for last month: $75,000.

7) Food bill for last month: $95,000.

8) Line to use the bathroom: Endless.

9) The coat tree asked my daughter Zenobia for a date (and I am not telling you how that went)!

10) While the bed set provided (as claimed) comfort equal to a water bed, its constant bathroom trips kept Gladys and I up all night (and the mattress hogged all the blankets).

As a Marketing Professional and Product Developer myself (the Hugh Lafferty Indoor JetPak), I admire your marketing campaign as one of the very best of its kind that I have ever seen. However—-if I may be so bold to state-–the product itself may need more “Thinking and Tweaking” (as we Marketing Pros put it!) before being permitted to enter the marketplace again.

But rest assured! When that day comes, the entire Lafferty family will be in our starting blocks, right by Ikea’s front door!

Thank you for your help.”

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why I Want to Go to Prison, Part 2

Last week or so, I shared with you my plans to rob the Bank of America in San Francisco,Friday, October 23, 2009 at 4 PM.

I suppose you are all wondering how that went.

Unfortunately, just as I was putting the finishing touches on my mission (drawing up a proposed list of Federal Prisons conducive for the writing of books), my downstairs neighbor Tom called me on the wireless telephone to tell me that the BofA branch in that location had moved to North Carolina.

This stumped me for a few minutes, as I doubted I could get to the North Carolina BofA before closing time.

Suddenly a brilliant solution
flushed into my mind: There were other BofA branches in San Francisco. I could rob one of them!

I was truly undaunted, but when I expressed my undauntedness, Tom sternly warned me that some Very Important Friends of His in the FBI had called to inform him that everyone at the local FBI had come down with the H1N1 flu.

This meant, therefore, there would be no FBI agents at the BofA to arrest me when I made my daring afternoon raid.

What’s more, if took the MUNI bus, I might catch the H1N1 virus myself!

This was something to ponder.

It is a good thing that I do not get out of the house very often.

Thank you for your help.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The High Cost of Breathing

The Breathing Meter for the Lafferty House
(Ours is the one on the top)

Hello Everyone:

Today, I learned another Very Important Thing from the Smartest Man I Have Ever Met. He told me in his blog that breathing air in Tribeca, a neighborhood in New York City, costs 15 cents!

I immediately wanted to know: Is that 15 cents per cubic foot? If so, that is a lot to pay for the air that you breathe! In Emeryville, we pay 10 cents per cubic foot, but 50 cents per cubic yard. There is no discount for breathing air in bulk, so we do not run or otherwise exert our bodies very much (unless we are being chased by the always hungry East Bay Street Wolf.) We cramp up a lot, but we do save lots of money.

I asked Hodgman if he could possibly post the rates for breathing in the many various neighborhoods of New York? As my family and I would like to pay a visit to New York City someday, it would probably be a Very Good Idea to post these rates. I wonder if they have breathing meters like we do in Emeryville? Except for the one that is hooked up to our house, ours look like parking meters. Sometimes I have a hard time telling the difference, which is why my wife, Gladys, does not let me out of the house very often.

Talk about the high cost of living!

Thank you for your help.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Am Worried About Bacon

Hello Everyone:

Please watch the moving video program below starring the Very Nice Congressman.

After watching this video, I became very concerned and sent the following e-mail to President Obama:

"Dear President Obama:

If you are planning to, please do not eat another bacon-lettuce-and tomato sandwich (BLT). According to a moving video picture I just saw starring a very angry but nice congressman, the Republican Party will ban bacon if they find out you have eaten another BLT sandwich. I would be very very sad if this happened, because I like BLT sandwiches very very much and eat them every single day. If the Republican Party banned bacon, they would be just LT sandwiches, which does not sound very appetizing to me.

Maybe if you put something like boiled spinach, green pepper or eggplant in your sandwiches instead, that would be better, because I would not mind if the Republican Party banned those three unpleasant foodstuffs.

Thank you for your help.

Hugh Lafferty"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why I Want to Go to Prison: Part I

Hello Everyone:

This recent "blog" posting from The New Yorker about a woman who wrote many of her books while she was in prison has inspired in me a very smart and good idea that is sure to help me finish the book I am trying to write now. I would like to share it with you and ask you what you think:

"Dear FBI Director Robert Mueller:

My name is Hugh Lafferty. I live in Emeryville, California. I am also the author of two very worthwhile and readable books: Hate Letters to Stephen Colbert and Paint! The Substance that Covers the Earth!

I am working on a new book called Gravity’s Rainbow: The Prequel Where Tyrone Slothrop Meets Stephen Dedalus. Writing this book is turning out to be a little harder than I expected. (For example, there were no V-2 rockets raining down on Dublin, Ireland in 1914 -- at least as far as I know.)

To overcome the creative roadblocks I have been encountering, I think it would be a very good and smart idea for me to rob the Bank of America on California Street and Kearny in San Francisco, on October 23, 2009 at 4 PM (unless the MUNI bus system breaks down again, in which case I may very well be somewhat late).

Just when I am making my “getaway,” you will arrest me, put me on trial and have me sentenced to Federal Prison for a very nice long stay. This way, I am sure I will be able to finish my book without distraction.

Some (among them my wife Gladys) have suggested that I commit a lesser crime that would result in a shorter jail sentence, such as Blackmail. Unfortunately, it turns out that Someone Smarter and Faster than I got to David Letterman before I did.

In addition, a very long jail term in federal prison would also allow me much more time to finish the many other books I want to write without distraction. Among them are:

When Life is Unfair: Penis Envy from Mozart to Strom Thurmond;

Rip-off! How Cynthia Ozick Stole My Ideas, Changed Her Name to Dan Brown and Made Millions; and

'I Just Wanted to Ride in the Air on a Big Crane': How I Discovered the Truth About Al Gore's Global Warming Campaign.

You will note, of course, that all my books have very long titles. This is because my research has shown me that people buy more books that have long titles than books with short titles, especially titles with colons in them. As I have learned from long experience, books with long titles take longer to write. So, I am sure my time in jail will be well spent.

Should your FBI agents not find me at the bank exactly at 4 PM (Thank you again, MUNI!), please ask them to be patient as I will be there to rob the bank as soon as I can. I am recognizable by my hirsute, height-challenged physique and white shirt and blue tie. I will also be wearing matching pants and shoes.

I look forward to meeting you and the FBI.

Thank you for your help.

Hugh Lafferty"

And, of course, thank you for your help.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hello Everyone:

Tim Goodman, a TV critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, thinks he is very clever to come up with the idea of combining the concepts of Dexter with Ken Burns’ National Parks documentary.

But I am even more cleverer . . . rer than Mr. Goodman by 1.573 million miles, because, just recently I have completed my very own screenplay I am calling Dexter Meets Ken Burns.

Dexter Meets Ken Burns is about how Dexter discovers that Ken Burns has been using fake backdrops and CG effects in his National Parks documentary. Enraged, Dexter kidnaps Ken Burns, but accidentally assembles his killing room using crumbling plastic sheets and ties up Ken Burns with old used duct tape that has lost its stickiness. After chewing his way through the duct tape and rope, Ken Burns escapes. Dexter must now stop Ken Burns from releasing his next six-part,
12-hour documentary How I Escaped Dexter. Will he do it in time!?

I have already left phone messages with Showtime, Ken Burns and Michael C. Hall, but I guess they are very busy because they have not called back. If we cannot get Mr. Burns to play himself, I am sure Vin Diesel will and if we cannot get Mr. Hall maybe John Hodgman will be available to play Dexter (and as Hodgman is the Smartest Man I Know, I am sure he will accept).

Please feel free to offer any of your casting ideas. Your name will be included on the “thank you” list of the end credits (though Showtime may decide I am asking too much).

Whatever the results, I am very very sure this will be remembered as Hugh Lafferty's Best Idea!

Thank you for your help.