THE MANILA envelope came yesterday. Two days before Valentine's Day.
Straight from the forlornness and eternal hope of love land. Straight from Lacy, who had placed a singles ad. And in this envelope she enclosed not only that singles ad, but also the really good stuff -- the responses. All 40 of them. Some of them heartbreaking, some of them hilarious, all of them intensely human.
And a Post-It note on these letters said, "Read it and weep." Which I did.
Thus, as my valentine to you, as my way of saying take heart, let us take a look at some of the finer replies to Lacy's ad and perhaps distribute a few well-deserved awards.
Undisputed Worst Opening Line Award goes to Bob: "Hi. My name is Bob. I am 42, 5-10, 165 pounds and married. I am looking for someone who is not hung up about my marital status."
First Runner-Up, also known as the Duh, No Kidding Award, goes to Ronnie: "Just a line or two to let you know I am answering your ad."
Second Runner-Up, also known as the Me Tarzan Award, goes to Thomas: "Hi! I'm some kind of man."
Most Adjective-Addicted Award goes to Gus: "I am articulate, humane, understanding, caring, supportive, loyal, tender, loving, kind, sensitive to your needs, high-energy, high-function, live wire, eclectic, cerebral, demonstrative, sensual, down-to-earth . . Most Florid Award goes to William: "Forgive my feeble attempt at composing this letter in an effort to reach across the distance that separates us to ask you your name."
Most Surprising Address Award goes to Roger: "I enjoy art, music, theater, opera, fine dining and dancing. I am writing you from prison."
Worst Four Words To Use In Reply Letter Award goes to Larry: "Ha! Ha! just kidding."
Worst Overall Sign-off Award goes to Donald: "Forever, Mr. Everything."
Worst Overall Tactic Award goes to Lenny: "I thought I might as well save time and just send you a Xerox of a response I sent to another ad."
Second Worst Overall Tactic goes to all the guys who mentioned What They Almost Were, such as Robert: "I just about signed with several major record labels, and, once in college, a song I wrote got into someone's hands, and they sent it to a publisher, and it became a hit under his name, but it's a long story."
Well At Least It's Not Camping Award goes to Cliff: "My interests include music, art, and whether or not there is such a thing as reality."
Most Common Line Used Award goes to all but three of the 40 letter writers: "My friends tell me I have a very good sense of humor." (If there were that many funny guys in the world, Woody Allen would be out of a job.)
Anyway, it made great reading. And then I found one last page. Lacy had put a Post-It on it that said, "I went out with a couple of them. Not terrible. Not terrific. But the best time I had was with the attached:"
The Post-It was attached to a sheet listing all the new releases at her local video store.