On Sublime Writing and Dead Turtles

Allow me to share with you a brilliant piece of writing I encountered this week from a most unexpected source. I have no theme to build around this post. I couldn’t even divine one after I asked my subconscious to come up with one in my sleep. Perhaps a lesson on knowing your audience? How to incorporate humor in unlikely places? Let me know if you can come up with one.

My son is heading to a YMCA summer camp in August, and I just received by mail the Parent Handbook. It encourages parents to write their children letters, but feels the need to inform us of what subjects to address. We should ask if they are making friends, enjoying their activities, having fun. Then it gives an example of “What Not To Write”:

Dear William,

We are having a ball at Disney World! You would love all the things to do here! I guess you know that Grandma isn’t doing too well. We may have to put her in a Nursing Home soon. Well, gotta run. The line is moving for Space Mountain!

Love,

Mom

P.S. Your turtle died on Monday.

I have to end this post now. It’s hard to type when I’m convulsing with laughter.

About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

8 Responses to “On Sublime Writing and Dead Turtles”

  1. What a riot! I’d say your son will be in good hands at camp.🙂

  2. You’re kidding me, right? You wrote this letter to poor William yourself and signed it Mom.😉

  3. I am tempted to write a short story in which that letter actually gets written. Lots of ideas in my head. All of the cruel, some of them funny.

    Hmmm… tempting.

  4. I’m a little frightened now. Um, what parent in their right mind would write something like that. Oh, and is it something like when they put warning labels on things like “don’t poke yourself in this eye with this” on a package containing a knife set? Because someone actually did that? I’m not sure I want to know. Both funny and a bit freeky, that letter.

    • You know, I hadn’t thought of that, but there were probably some lawyers who wanted that in there to avoid liability for who knows what. I think the writer then had fun with the assignment, though.

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