A Letter Home from the Front

As a keen observer of life and art in Portland, I did not expect to become a chronicler of the Miniscule Blue Helmets on a Massive Quest as they begin their spread throughout the Pacific Northwest. Nonetheless, I am honored to have earned their trust and to serve as a confidant and ally as they carry out their enigmatic mission. Last night, while sharing a pastis with a Blue Helmet of recent acquaintance, he asked me to post a letter back home. Sensing my curiosity, he was kind enough to translate it from his native Swedish and to give me permission to share it with our readers.

My Dearest Birgetta,

I pray you will not think ill of me for having failed most miserably in my correspondence of this past fortnight. The vital mission which has carried me to this distant shore bars me, unmercifully, from the joyful task of communicating with my beloved. My conscience weighs heavy thinking of your patient forbearance. Does your heart beat with jubilant anticipation upon hearing the postman’s footfall as his rounds carry him to your threshold? Alas, do you curse my name when he arrives bereft of news from my foreign post?

We set ashore in this city one week past, arriving amidst the shadows of night to ensure that our mission does not arouse consternation amongst the habitants. I rue that the welfare of my band of brothers prevents me from revealing our precise whereabouts. Were you to learn of it, I am most certain you would squeal in girlish delight and clap your delicate hands together in joy. It is truly a glorious and amiable city in which we find ourselves billeted.

We are quartered in the southeast quadrant of the metropolis, in a lively district marked by the bohemian flair of our own Södermalm. Birgetta, you would scarcely believe how aromatic and delicious is their coffee. The young people I encounter spend the majority of their daylight hours enjoying each other's company in establishments that serve a brewed elixir equal to the best found anywhere in Scandinavia.

At night, many of our own generation join together in ensembles to create the lively music that gives this hamlet its independent spirit. Young men display all manner of hair upon their cheeks and chins. They sport charming caps with sayings and pictures upon them replete with irony! The skin of both sexes is typically adorned with inky marks. They convey themselves through the avenues and boulevards on bicycles, much as we do at home. Alas, how I long for home and the sweet embrace of my true love!

Our superiors tell us we are on a mission to protect and maintain order, yet the populace, for the most part, exists in a semblance of peace. Most inhabitants enjoy lives of idle pleasure and plentitude. They eat a diverse panoply of foodstuffs, often acquired from mobile food vendors or purchased at charming outdoor markets. My lovely Birgetta, they eat a form of fried pastry much like the klenäter we enjoy at home! One notable purveyor of this victual has taken to decorating the delicacy with all manner of colorful and unexpected embellishments. He and his associates ply their trade into the early morning hours when the cabarets are at their liveliest. I find it tremendously amusing and chuckle now to think of it. Oh, were you here to share my elation and high spirits!

I am not so naïve to believe that all residents are satisfied with their conditions. Just this past week I was commanded to observe an assemblage known as a “Town Hall meeting.” The topic of discourse was the reform of this nation’s system of caring for its populace. I am confident that my Birgetta’s kindly heart and childlike optimism will find it hard to fathom, but this massive nation has yet to discover a means of ensuring the health and well-being of all of its citizenry! And yet, my dear girl, despite well-meaning efforts to effect change to these dreadful conditions, many choose to rail and storm against their leaders. With my own eyes, I have witnessed men and women exhibiting thoroughly demented behaviours, quaking in unquenchable fear and bridling with lustful anger. At these sorrowful moments, I am reminded why our mission is so vital. I am proud to serve, though my engorgement in your absence rages unabated!

Were you at my side, Birgetta, I would surely weep with exultation, my head resting upon your feminine shoulder until your smock were soaked in my loving tears. Fear not, my dearest companion. I assure you that I am both mentally and physically hardy. My training has prepared me to endure these travails. The truest hardship is our untimely separation. Perhaps, anon, your duties as a procurement officer for IKEA will bring you to these shores. Until then, I bid you a loving goodnight and sweet dreams.

With abiding love,


p.s. Please tell Gunnar and Olaf that I have all the noblest intentions of repaying the 200 kroner I borrowed before I was deployed on this mission.

p.p.s. The Volvo keys may have fallen under the cushions of the Tylösand or perhaps the Poäng.


shobiz said...

Two questions:

1. Where do you find the time to churn out such mountainous volumes of witty commentary and delicious satire, while simultaneously keeping an arts organization running and having your many extra-curricular adventures?

2. What on earth inspired the startlingly baroque phrase "my engorgement in your absence rages unabated?"

On second thought, don't answer #2.

MightyToyCannon said...

How does the magic happen? Where do I find the time?

Here’s my first tip: If you have a five year old in your household, consider giving her up for adoption. I estimate she’s sucking up a minimum of six hours of your valuable time each day--time that you could be devoting to providing wit and amusement to an adoring public. Don't get me wrong, your daughter is cute and everything, but where do YOU find the time?

Tip #2: Learn to write while watching television. Right now, I’m half-watching Tom Cruise in “War of the Worlds.” Since he’s emoting twice as much as he needs to, I have the luxury of paying half the attention.

Tip #3: Lower your standards. Not sure that what you’re writing is good enough for publishing online? Write it and publish it anyway. The hard truth is that not many people are reading it anyway. Here’s an adage that not many people have ever heard before: Just do it!

Tip #4: Always…and I mean ALWAYS… keep your eye out for the cheap and easy joke. Find people who are good sports about being teased, then do so without mercy. The key is that you have to actually like and respect them—otherwise it’s just being mean. Did I mention that I like and respect you, so you are an easy mark.

Tip #5: It’s easier to write about cultural events than to actually go to any of them. It takes some effort to maintain the illusion of attending cultural events, but it saves time and money to stay home. (Don’t tell anyone I told you).

As for the line from the letter home: I'm just reporting the news, not making it.

Miss Laura said...

I'm finally catching up on all the blue helmet posts, and as I read this post and wiped my eyes, I had exactly two -- count 'em -- two questions. I couldn't believe that when I clicked on "comments" that shobiz asked the two very things that were on my mind.

Agreed that the key to teasing people in public is that you genuinely gotta love 'em. My Large Smelly Boys know that I'm fiercely devoted to them, even when I want to ship them back to Siberia, from whence I'm certain they came.