Pack away the hula-hoops and never mention them again

The letter request:

I supervise this guy at work and I really think he should date another of our co-workers, because she’s great and they have a lot in common. I know nothing about him really so I’m not sure how to broach it. Is it bordering on sexual harassment? Can I tell him I require it as part of his job?

 

The letter:

Dear Steve,

Team building. How does it make you feel? I know, I know, it can feel forced and naff and awkward BUT it can also be a cool way to learn some crazy arse skills you wouldn’t dream of learning otherwise. Like semaphore flag signalling, for example. Or hula hooping. Or writing a rap song.

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Matt Damon, Sexiest Man Alive

The letter request:

Matt Damon is working on a film based around Coal Seam Gas – ‘Promised Land’. It will be released in Australia in early 2013. I’d like to invite him to come to Australia for a tour throughout Queensland where Coal and Coal Seam Gas are major environmental issuess.

 

The letter:

Dear Matt Damon,

For quite a while now I’ve had an inkling you’re one of the good guys. When you and Ben Affleck won that Oscar and you gave a shout-out to your dad about how your seat was better than Jack Nicholson’s, that cracked me up. And your impression of Matthew McConaughey always angling to take off his shirt – classic. And when you were crowned the Sexiest Man Alive and said that thing about being an ‘aging suburban dad’ – super sweet. So you see, even though you’re a total stranger who lives a million miles away (figuratively, if not literally) my impression of you has always been, ‘That Matt Damon, what a great guy.’ Which is why I was thrilled but not surprised to hear about your upcoming film Promised Land.

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An extra fifty bums

The letter request:

My local hotel has no designated or obvious dance floor. They have far too many wall-mounted televisions playing sport, a smaller room with two pool tables and a juke box and one TV connected to that playing music video clips but no space to dance near the juke box. I would recommend they move their pool tables into the bigger room and create some floor space near the jukebox for dancing in the smaller room where they should also move their lounges. In the past, this place has been renowned for its great outside dance area, good bands and music. Keep the dream alive baby!

 

The letter:

To the Publican at the Spinifex Hotel,

You can’t deny that supermarket aisles are the true unsung heroes of the supermarket. People rave about variety and price but where would they be without those quiet and unassuming patches of linoleum between the shelves? Without aisles, how would they see the produce? How would they access their favourite box of muesli bars and their preferred brand of cheese?

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A symbol of the passing of the digits

The letter request:

So, I adored my old phone number. I’d loved and cherished it since 2000. My number’s finest quality was that I could remember it. Yet I was also attached to the journey associated with it. So, I was forced to give up my cherished phone number in an untimely manner – circa mid 2010  – by the combined incompetencies of Telstra and Virgin. Now the phone number formerly known as mine, has a new owner.  From slow-drip accounts: a “young person”, “a girl, or a preadolescent teenage boy I guess”. I know this because I failed to uniformly tell anyone much about my change in number. If you were in my orbit at the time, you figured it out. But in the last few months reports have started to trickle in, as people who haven’t called me in the last year and a half try to pin me down.

 

The letter:

Hi! Is that Amanda?

Jokes, jokes, I know you’re not Amanda. I’m Amanda.

But I’ve called 0414 xxx 051, right?

Jokes, jokes, this is a letter not a phone call. I’m not crazy. I thought I’d write, rather than call, because I know you’re up to here with people calling you and asking for Amanda, so please let me explain.

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What if…or if only…

Dear Potahter,

‘Counterfactual thinking’ is the human tendency to ponder what if… or if only…

For example, someone might think to herself ‘If only I’d made a speech at my sister’s 21st, she would know exactly how awesome I think she is.’

Or, ‘What if I’d had the foresight to go to Toastmasters every week for a year leading up to Potahter’s 21st birthday and I suddenly loved the spotlight so much that I not only did a speech, but also an interpretative dance to demonstrate how much fun we’ve had together over the years?’

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If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it

The letter request:

I have been working as an artist for 18 years (theatre, writing, movement, performance, even (short) film) and yet, why do I feel like I am going nowhere? Or in fact, needing to go somewhere? Where is the place I am going? Does it exist? How can I make a living as an artist? I often feel lost.

 

The letter:

Dear Amaara,

Everyone has a story. In fact, everyone has multiple stories. Some stories play out in the real world and some play out in our minds. I don’t mean that as in, ‘In my mind, the universal acclaim of my art affords me a lifestyle where the word Centrelink has no meaning to me whatsoever, and I can travel the world and never have to worry about how I’m going to pay next month’s rent and, oh yeah, I’m married to Michael Fassbender and our sex life is OUT OF THIS WORLD and on top of that he totally loves making me tacos and doing the dishes and ironing my expensive frocks and, guess what, he knows all the right settings on the iron so the fabric never ever burns.’

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Willy Wonka was an arsehole

The letter request:

I like my chocolate and I like having a chocolatier in my hood. Despite it’s awfully hip vibe, I’ve enjoyed meeting friends there for treats. I’ve enjoyed my interactions with the perky staff, love looking through the little window at chocolate preparations. But then one busy Saturday, as I was paying for my bill something very disturbing happened. A woman, clearly new to the job, offered to split my bill. When she enquired as to the process for doing this she was admonished in a humiliating, over-the top-way. I was humiliated, for the Monsieur, and in pain for the cashier. I understand stress, I understand frustration with people not doing what you expect, but if the incident made me too sick to return with my custom, how must she have felt? And now I’m sad for everyone. Her, him and my chocolate-deprived self.

 

The letter:

Dear Monsieur Chocolat,

Willy Wonka was an arsehole. A creative genius, yes, but an arsehole nonetheless. He took a group of kids on a tour of his chocolate factory and then treated them as collateral damage when they fell into vats or exploded.

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A spit and polish

The letter request:

The head of the school – a professor, they tell us – is an utter buffoon. Every now and then he sends out a group email to congratulate someone who has decided to jump ship. This is a reasonable thing to do. However, what drives me nuts, and also makes me feel sorry for him in a you-have-toilet-paper-poking-out-of-your-pants kind of way, is his tendency to use question marks at the end of rhetorical questions that pertain to his capacity to do something. Can you help me encourage him to consider the danger his question marks are putting him in?

 

The letter:

Dear Professor,

Do you know what an eroteme is? You probably do, being a professor and all. I have to admit that, until I looked it up just now, I did not. I don’t mind telling you that. The best way to improve oneself is to allow that we all have surfaces that could do with a spit and polish. Nobody’s perfect, right? We all have room to grow.

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Climb on board my narrowboat

The letter request:

Please could you pen a moderately flirtatious email to the head of Amazon.com? I run a small independent bookshop in England on a converted narrowboat called The Book Barge. Amazon.com is putting me out of business. I would like you to suggest we recreate the plot of ‘You’ve Got Mail’, but without my shop having to close. I don’t mind having to kiss him at the end, but I’d like some sort of watertight guarantee that he is going to pump lots of money my way so I can continue selling books. Possibly he could also buy me a yacht so I can transfer from the UK canals to the Med.

 

The letter:

Dear Jeff Bezos, founder, president and CEO of Amazon.com,

Are you a fan of Meg Ryan? It’s okay if you’re not. She sells a certain type of cute that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. What about romantic comedies in general? I’m not talking Aniston or Heigl, god help us all, I’m talking the classics, like The Shop Around The Corner. It’s a 1940s film that sees two warring shop assistants ‘unexpectedly’ fall in love with each other as anonymous pen pals. Whacky, huh? Your local video shop will probably have it.

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Crack whore Stacey

The letter request:

Could you write a letter that, in the nicest way possible, will convince my partner to ship our little family back to Melbourne or at least somewhere with trees… 

 

The letter:

Dear Stevie,

I have a lot of time for Carole King. And ‘Where You Lead’ would have to be my absolute favourite of her songs. I tell you love, when she sings, I would go to the ends of the earth cause, darling, to me that’s you’re worth I get all jittery because that is exactly how I feel about you. I would go anywhere for you.

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