Did you seriously just light that shit-stick?

The letter request:

Here is the situation. A lovely woman at my work has tried to set me up with a colleague of her friend. She told me he was a smoker and wanted to know if that was okay. I wasn’t really thinking and said ‘Sure, I’ll give it a go’. Said person (Rob) then emailed me. On the day he emailed me, a new friend from the sailing club died of lung cancer. A compelling reason to not date a smoker. Can you help with a reply for me to send Rob?

 

The letter:

Dear Rob,

I have something to confess. I’m a morning person. I literally bounce out of bed every single day. Bounce, I tell ya. I arrive at work at an hour when most other people are hitting snooze for the first of 25 times. I’m friendly with crisp air, shadowy moons that linger over early daylight and the peach glow of sunrise on inner city windows.

(more…)

He’s pretty much taught her how to be a dog

The letter request: 

My neighbour is off on a roadtrip around Australia and I want him to leave me his dog, Harvey. My own dog, Shyla, and I have become quite attached to him. The dogs are always going under the fence to see each other. Also, Harvey teaches Shyla a lot and he is making her into a more confident dog. I’m willing to give visitation rights and I’m happy to send photo updates as well but ultimately I think his dog will be better off staying with me.

 

The letter:

Dear Guy,

Do you ever feel like life is too banal? Like we respond to things in a way that is just so foreseeable that life has lost all meaning? That our existence has no sense of surprise?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

A whale could destroy a starfish in a millisecond

The letter request:

Five friends, from four different cities around the world, organise a NYE reunion at the zoo. We part with a sizeable sum for a prime fireworks position in the ‘gold’ area to maximise fun, view, and minimise toilet and drinks queue time. But on arrival we were greeted by a long bar queue that didn’t seem to be moving. The first 40 minutes, and regular intervals thereafter, were spent in the queue rather than enjoying views with friends. 

 

The letter:

Dear Zoo,

Colours do not always represent status. In grade three I was in a maths groups called the Blue Whales and my friend was in a maths group called the Red Starfish. Because both blue and red are top-shelf colours with no inherent value attached to them – and because whales and starfish each have their own wonderful and unique attributes – my friend and I didn’t know which group was the top group and therefore which one of us was smarter at maths. So I get it, colours do not always represent status. Except when they do.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

The only way is up

The letter request:

Donna, my best friend’s wife, always says something nasty/creepy/passive aggressive to me every time we socialise. Recently, at a friend’s party, she cornered me and started talking about golf – about going on vacation to play golf, about how cute her little girls are when the play golf, about how her little boys fight when they play golf… She has three subjects she talks about: doctor things (she’s a physician), at which time she uses really big terms so if you’re not a doctor you won’t understand what she’s talking about; golf, which bores me to tears; and her kids. So I came up with a plan (big mistake). I purchased a couple of books on cocktail party conversation, and a magazine subscription called Mental Floss, and suggested we meet to devise a plan where we could talk about things worldly and not about golf (did I mention I hate golf?) as a way to connect with each other on a more personal/friendly level. I sent her a text message. No response.

 

The letter:

Dear Donna,

So the other day I was reading an article in the New York Times that made me pause and think. It was about conversation and one particular sentiment leapt out at me: ‘In conversation, we are called upon to see things from another’s point of view.’

If this is indeed true, this is how I see your world after a conversation with you: You’re a committed medical practitioner who enjoys playing golf and adores her children more than life itself. True? Win!

(more…)

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?

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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?’

(more…)

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.’

(more…)