Today at work, while conducting extremely important librarian duties like checking Facebook and deciding which skateboarding magazine to subscribe to next year, I got a text from Rob. “Type up a letter from Alvin and the Chipmunks for Phaedra.”
Let’s back up.
Phaedra loves writing letters. She writes not only to family members and school friends, but also to cartoon and movie characters she likes. She raids my stash of free address labels to use as “stamps”. Now that she’s used up all of my envelopes, she folds construction paper and uses all of my tape to make her own envelopes. She then asks me to mail the letter for her.
The standard protocol for “mailing” these letters used to be setting it on the mantel by the door until she forgot about it, and then putting it with the rest of her drawings and school projects. However, she’s realized that the mantel move is a scam. She now insists on watching me physically place the letter inside the mailbox, where it sits for about a week and irritates the mailman.
The mailbox, as it turns out, is the problem. Since The Queen sees the letter go into the mailbox, it only stands to reason that her loyal subjects will promptly carry the letter straight to its intended recipient posthaste. Which means about a week after “mailing” the letter, I have to figure out how to answer her questions about why the hell The PowerPuff Girls haven’t written back yet. She got really pissed at the little boy from EvanTubeHD when he didn’t write back, and declared that she didn’t want to be his friend anyways. I plead the fifth on Evan, but instead of lying to her about why cartoons weren’t sending her letters, I usually nicely told her the truth: that I didn’t think cartoon characters could write letters. To which she usually gave me a look that told me exactly how fucking dumb she believed I was (spoiler alert: pretty fucking dumb).
Now, some of you might recall that our history with imaginary people is pretty shaky around here. So imagine my surprise when King Wet Blanket asked me to trick his daughter into believing that a singing chipmunk had responded to her letter. The man that got angry last Christmas when I asked him to eat the cookies and drink the milk we put out for Santa asked me to create a forged document for our daughter and claim that it arrived in the mail from a cartoon character. However, I am not a woman to stand in the way of a man and his vision, so using my extensive word processing skills, I came up with this:
Then I printed a nice head shot for Alvin and I “autographed” it. I didn’t bother to change my handwriting, because that’s how kids build critical thinking skills. Then I sealed them in a big-ass envelope with a return address from “Dave’s Street” in Hollywood, California, 90210 (because that’s literally the only California zip code I know) and I brought it home to fake-find in the mailbox.
Of course, she loved it, and totally bought it. When she ran upstairs for a celebratory screening of Chipwrecked, I pointed out to Rob that he had now officially started a thing, and I had now officially become Phaedra’s super-secret, unofficial pen pal.
“Yeah, I know. Sorry about that.”
“So explain to me how this is any different than Santa Claus?”
“I know, I thought about that, too. But then I thought, well, if she really sent that letter to Alvin or some other celebrity, the company or someone would have sent her back a form letter and some free stuff or a picture. You know, like if she sent a letter to Obama, he’d send back something.”
“Right, but Obama is a real person. He exists.”
He shrugged. “Maybe. I’ve never actually seen him.”
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